The world of Flyboarding is beginning to unveil many wonderful success stories and one such story has to be the rise of Cabo FlyBoard. Pro Flyboarder Jason Duff, wife Paulina and fellow pro Andrew Salvador are providing a safe and exciting experience for their customers who in turn contribute to their vibrant and growing social media communities and spread the word about their word-class Flyboard® experiences.
Recently I had a chance to chat with Jason who will be competing for Mexico in June at the Flyboard® North American Championship and learned more about how he got into the sport, his business and his thoughts on competitive Flyboarding.
H2RO MAGAZINE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – Jason Duff
H2RO: As a fellow Canadian still dealing with winter weather, I’m very interested in learning about your journey to Mexico and why you decided to bring Flyboarding to Cabo?
Winter weather is a tough thing to take, and for so long in some parts of Canada… It can feel like forever.
I made the move to Mexico because of a girl, Paulina…. We got married last March, and we run Cabo Flyboard together. We ended up in Cabo almost by accident, as we had been planning for a move to Cancun. Cabo San Lucas is an amazing place, and geographically it’s hard to beat. I fell in love right away here and soon it felt like home. I discovered the Flyboard thanks to my brother Cory. He sent me a link to the Flyboard Family Official video on YouTube. The second I watched it, I knew I had just seen something special and amazing, and I had to be a part of it. Around October of 2012 we began planning.
Cabo FlyBoard was in the works.
H2RO: What is your sports background and what is it about Flyboarding that has got you so hooked?
My sports background has a bit of everything. I was always a quick learner and excelled at golf and soccer. We played hockey in the winter of course… I have never wake boarded, something I’m dying to try. I was decent at skateboarding in my teens, something that I feel really helps the Flyboard feel and skill, much less painful though, due to the whole lack of concrete part. The Flyboard, oh my god, what a cool feeling. 260 horsepower strapped to your feet is something incredible, it takes some getting used to, but flying around like a superhero is amazing.
H2RO: You guys are doing a really great job and providing a lot of people with a fantastic experience, what are some of your favorite reactions from first time flyers and just customers in general when they’re out with you?
We had a 9 year old girl once and she wasn’t nervous at all. She was small, but brave… She got up on her second try and started moving around, forward, and turning! 9 years old and second try… Pretty awesome. She held the GoPro camera and flew around for about 10 minutes and got better every minute. She loved Flyboarding, and smiled the entire time.
We even had a gentleman who was 79 years young. He battled to try and balance. He never got discouraged or gave up, and toward the end he managed to get up and fly around a bit. Fairly inspiring! He couldn’t wait to show the videos to his grandchildren.
The most amazing first time flyer moment ever is a customer landing a back flip over water within half an hour. Some of our first timers are just talented…
We hear some amazing comments afterwards, people asking questions, every single person that has ever flown with us, says it was one of the best things they have ever done. It’s just awesome. People honestly wow me every day.
H2RO: Now a lot of people in the business enjoy showing off for the tourists but I’m curious how your approach to the sport will change now that your competing at the North American Championship level? I don’t think we’ll see the ‘show up and see what happens’ strategy very much at this year’s events.
My approach to Flyboarding is always to do more, higher up… I haven’t flown competitively before. Show up and see what happens might be the strategy, haha. I do fly for tourists quite a bit, that’s my practice. At this point, I have never flown with an EMK. To try an EMK is the goal before Toronto. Entering the North American championship will be more like an experience gaining situation. I have some tricks up my sleeve, and I really hope that among all the other amazing Flyboarders in the event, I stand out in some way or another.
H2RO: I think it would be very interesting to have you guys highlighted in an upcoming ‘Business of Flyboard’ article (If you’re interested I’ll have Shawn Galiotto contact you) but here’s one question for you now. Perhaps you would be willing to share a few of your marketing tactics that have worked well for you so other business owners can add them to their arsenals?
Our entire focus is on customer service. I would say, apart from everything else, the best marketing we have, is our website, CaboFlyBoard.com and our Trip Advisor page (BIG HUGE thanks to all our customers that have taken the time to review us!)
H2RO: Sticking with the business side of things for a moment what types of challenges did you or do you continue to face running your business in your location?
Los Cabos is pretty small and doesn’t have a lot of mechanics and suppliers. We have had issues with them and the lack thereof. It’s tough to find stuff in Cabo.
H2RO: Back to Flyboarding… are there any new tricks or combinations you’ve been working on (most people don’t want to share if it’s totally new but I thought I’d ask anyway)? What would you say your favorite trick combination is to execute?
At this point I love all the tricks, and I’ve been focused on my fear of heights to try and get them done higher so they’re more exciting.
No new combinations to discuss haha. I love to combine crazy spins and dives, but of course my favorite trick is the backflip.
H2RO: Have you flown the 2014 Flyboard and if yes what is your opinion on it?
I have had the privilege of flying the 2014 for the past month. The board is lighter, it’s better quality. The elbow is tight to the interface and the new black ring insert is more stable with less vibration.
This board is easier to do backflips on, and my favorite part is that it’s a lot more water dynamic while diving. Less resistance equals smoother dives. All in all this years model gets a solid two thumbs way up!
H2RO: With ZR’s new invention being released soon what is your initial impression of the Hoverboard?
I cannot wait to try the Hoverboard. This board looks amazing. Surfing, flying, and snowboarding brought together with horsepower… How can we go wrong here. We will see in June I hope. I’m looking very forward to ZR’s new and awesome attachments.
FM: You’re going to be competing in the Flyboard® North American Championship in Toronto, Ontario beginning June 20th, are you a flyer who choreographs his routine or a freestyler?
So far as I’m trying to smooth out my tricks I would say I’m more of a freestyler. As the next two months come and go I will try to choreograph a bit more.
H2RO: One thing that set the top Pro Flyboarders apart from the rest of the field in Qatar was their willingness to throw tricks at great heights and fly much of their routine 30+ ft in the air. Is that something you’ve thought about and what is your comfort level regarding maximum heights for various maneuvers?
My big focus is the double backflip which I have yet to land, and like I said before I’m just trying to feel more comfortable up high doing faster, bigger tricks, because that’s the fun way to do it, and I know that’s all anyone wants to see. When you’re up over 30 feet it’s a bit scary to be honest. The water pressure coming out is very intense and little movements go a long way. Lately I’ve been working on solving the fear of heights and I think as I get better on the board, I’m constantly wanting to go higher and higher.
H2RO: I don’t know how competitive a guy you are Jason but I hope that no matter the outcome, this is a judged sport remember, that the competitive experience is an awesome one. Do you think you’ll ever want to take in a young flyboarder in your area and train/mentor them up as a professional competitor?
I’m looking forward to Toronto… My first competition. Judges… I am very competitive. It’s going to be awesome! Later on, I think that mentoring or training Flyboard youngsters would be an amazing opportunity! Through Cabo FlyBoard I have flown a lot of kids, I love working with them. We have had students as young as eight years old! Their bravery is impressive!
Jason, thanks very much for this interview and to Cabo FlyBoard for co-sponsoring H2RO Magazine’s coverage of the Flyboard® North American Championship! I look forward to meeting you there and best of luck.