SONNIE BEAN – PRO FLYBOARDER
HYDROFLIGHT COMPETITION RESULTS
2016 Flyboard European Championship – 1st Place
2015 Xdubai Flyboard World Cup – 16th Place
2014 XDubai Flyboard World Cup – Qualifier
Photos courtesy of Chelsea Homer
The world of Hydroflight Sports is full of characters and current H2RO World Ranked #16th Sonnie Bean is definitely one of them. It’s not surprising when you’re the only person in your country doing something as unique as Pro Flyboarding. Bean has been growing the sport in the United Kingdom ever since his first appearance at the 2014 Flyboard World Cup. You’re going to be seeing and hearing a lot from this guy in 2016 (UPDATE June 2016: Sonnie just won the 2016 Flyboard European Championship) so H2RO recently sat down for a very entertaining interview.
H2RO MAGAZINE INTERVIEW WITH SONNIE BEAN
H2RO) Sonnie please share with us your background growing up and what sports have played a role in your life?
Well I used to live in London till the age of 12, then moved to Scotland where my parents bought a hotel. I’ve been on the water nearly all of my life and I love it. I started water skiing at the age of 6/7 and progressed from there. I started Jetskiing from the age of 13 and still to this day I am Jetski crazy. I can do 99% of water sports and would love to be able to do them for the rest of my life. Living on a lake is anyone’s dream and I started living on a lake from 12 but always had a lake life as we traveled up to Scotland twice a year to go skiing.
H2RO) When and how did you get introduced to Hydroflight Sports? What was your first flying experience like?
I got introduced to Hydroflight Sports back in 2012 when Mike Dear brought the first Flyboard to the UK. He brought it to our lake as we are the only people in south west Scotland to allow this device. My first flight was April 2014 after I finally found some balls to have a go. After that it took me three months to go on it again. I loved it and wanted to keep flying. So after three flights on the Flyboard Mike thought I was a natural so in Aug 2014 Mike asked me to join him at a boat show. I said yes. So with a little more practice I got to where I needed to be, good enough to go fly at a boat show. So along came the boat show and that was where I pulled my first ever back flip. After three attempts of trying at the boat show I finally landed it above the water and Mike and the crowed went crazy….as you can imagine.
H2RO) Take us through your training and stages of progression from first flight to 16th at the 2015 XDubai Flyboard World Cup?
What a question! Erm well…from the first boat show, Mike asked me if I wanted to attend the 2014 Flyboard World Cup, so again I said yes and started training on my moves. I got through the video qualification part but never made the qualification at the event. But hey I only had 6 weeks training. I was happy with where I was and to be at such an amazing event was good enough for me. 2015 came and my game head was on. I’ve done four major boat shows, three televised shows BBC/ITV and STV, And also got myself in 24 newspapers. So after a year of hard training developing new moves and techniques it was time to put together my 2015 World Cup video. In my favor I smashed it. What a video 😀
It was once again World Cup time and I was happy as ever and in a good frame of mind. After making it past the Qualification Round my head was everywhere. I knew I would make it but just didn’t believe it at the time. Then I made the next round….I was on top of the world. I felt amazing. The whole time I was there the atmosphere was incredible and honestly I would stay there if I could. It’s such a nice place to be. So then came the 3rd round, I really just wanted to play it safe and not go overboard that is why I took it easy and did not throw everything I had into it. I didn’t make the next round but I’m happy with the result. No one expected for me to come 16th on a 2013 board. I had hoped I would come somewhere around there and I did.
H2RO) It needs to be stated again that you competed in Dubai on a 2013 Flyboard Legend. A fixed board while every other competitor had booted up on the new 2015 Flyboard Pro Series. For a number of reasons that would seem to people to put you at a disadvantage so talk about why you’re so comfortable on the legend and why you were still able to achieve such an amazing result?
I’m comfortable with that board because I know I can throw it into any move and be able to come out alive. I have never had any issues with that board and I am going to keep on using it. If I could attend the 2016 World Cup on that board I will…and I will be in the top 6. I can pull moves on that board that people can’t even do on the Pro Series board. I will pull three new tricks this year on this board and also get this board into the record books!
H2RO) You have been receiving some good support in your country and beyond, share with us some of the press you’ve done and unique Flyboard experiences you’ve had?
Yes I have, they love me here! So along with all the press and tv shows and the papers I have also been in some magazines and will be going in a few more this year. This year I will be hot on the press and also in more papers. It’s good to know people want to keep in touch and see how I am getting on only because they have never had anything like this before so they are catching it where they can and I am the only person in the UK that does this. I also have got a few fans and had people running up to me for autographs in tesco 😛 classy! I have sent a few signed photos out too.
H2RO) Loch Ness Monster… real?
It is now that I’m about haha. Well, I don’t think it is but everyone has their own opinion!
H2RO) You’re starting to find sponsorship support in 2016 so please take a minute to shout them out and share what their support is going to mean for you as an athlete and what you hope to accomplish this year?
Big Shout out to Aquax cross for the major sponsorship and events for 2016 😀
Also a big shout out to Zapata Racing. p.s I have just signed the contract 😛
Just waiting for a few more to come forward with their answers, if they say yes them I am going to be in Flyboard heaven. Watch this space!!!! If all goes well then I hope I will be able to quit my job and fly full time and do my UK tour.
H2RO) I know we can’t talk about your insane plans to put yourself in the record books but when do you think ‘The Secret’ will go down?
Hopefully July 2016. I’m just waiting for a few people to get back to me regarding safety etc. Damn this shit is scary. When you hear the life/death risk is 50/50 it gets your heart pumping. Let’s just put it this way I would not recommend anyone doing it……It’s got more of a death risk than jumping off a 200ft cliff into water. Anyway I really really really can’t wait to get the show on the road and smash it!!!!
H2RO) Sonnie who are some of your favorite Hydroflight athletes and what is it about their flying style that makes them special?
I love everyone, there all great but I will say this… I have one big big go out and get her for Gemma Weston. That girl on that board is like… only one can’t say.(Sorry Gemma not bad intentions here). Anyway just the way she rides and the way she uses her body to get into some of the most amazing looking tricks. Hopefully I can get out and fly with her and get her to show me how to move the booty!
H2RO) As you continuously work to expand your trick repertoire what are some of the things you’re working on and how do you feel the independent feet will continue to change the game going forward (at least for your competition)?
I’m not going to tell you what I am working on but I will tell all the other riders to put there heart into this year because Backflip Bean is coming for 3rd place!
Indy feet isn’t really a massive gain for me to be honest. Yeah I might be able to spin faster or do spirals in my moves but people want a show and I think they will get board of spinning all the time. I think it’s all about the connection with the board and how you use it. Your frame of mind also plays a part in all this. Anything is achievable if you put your mind to it. If I can go all the way on the 2013 Flyboard I will prove that independent feet is not always better.
H2RO) I’m curious if you have any equipment innovation requests you’d like to put out there to the world to see if anyone can come through for you?
Yeah…..make them super light…..awesomeness right there! P.S and also not so wide. I feel like I’m doing the splits.
H2RO) Finally, what is one tip or technique that has helped you most that you can share with our readers?
Relax…always relax. If you’re tense you will do damage and just forget about everything that is going on around you and enjoy the ride.
Thanks Sonnie, sounds like 2016 is definitely going to be a crazy year for you. We’ll be keeping a close eye on that record attempt this summer and thanks for helping promote H2RO in your country and around the world.