Recently Mike Dear of Wetjets (Authorized Dealer for Scotland) connected with H2RO Magazine and shared his experiences regarding ‘Where to Flyboard’. Some great info here for new dealers just starting out…. have a read.
With regards to ‘where to Flyboard’, we’ve operated across a wide range of areas. Although a fairly small island, the UK offers pretty much everything – except sun and warm water! I think in our 14 months operating we’ve seen pretty much everything. Here’s a quick run through of the sometimes obvious and sometimes not so obvious things to look out for. I hope this helps some of the newcomers to the sport that may have less experience out on the water.
We see some great pictures of sheltered coves and crystal blue seas from the Flyboard community, but over here in the UK it’s pretty rare to find that. The wind whips up waves, tides can be furious and sandbanks provide an extra surprise when attempting a dive. That said you can still have a great time so long as you don’t go Flyboarding over unsuspecting swimmers, it should be a good day out.
Things to look out for:
- Falling tides mean the water you thought was good can be 6 feet shallower in just a couple of hours.
- Waves and swells can give you problems – sounds obvious but remember the trough can be a good few feet lower than the crest – and the water there is shallow if you fall or dive in!
- As always when Flyboarding, know your area and check your water. Always have a rescue boat available and carry a radio …. Ever tried swimming with a Flyboard without the jets?!
- And don’t forget if you’ve got a group of people hanging around waiting to fly, you’ve got a group of people getting wet and cold – look after them – warm, happy people equals Facebook likes – always a good currency.
When I started looking at lakes I was surprised how many wide expanses of water were in fact only a few feet deep. Even where it’s a couple of meters, be prepared for weeds as the summer progresses. This clogs up your ski and gets caught in the feet of your flyboarders. Wait till you see the green monster rise out of the water and be ready to give more gas – we’ve had people carrying 20kg of wet weed when they surface! And any lake that is small and enclosed is going to stagnate. Add to this, your flyboard constantly churning up the base and you’ve got a recipe for bacteria growth. If you’re using a small lake often, check the water quality regularly and respond instantly to any cases of stomach bugs. Conversely in Scotland we have some of the best deep water lochs – some deep enough to hide a prehistoric monster in apparently. But god they are cold – no matter how much the sun is out you’re not going to see more than 10 degrees. If you’ve ever seen photos of the Loch Ness Monster she’s always wearing a hat – this is why!
Always the best place to get an audience as they usually go through the towns and have cafés (or Flyboard Cheering Centres as I prefer to call them) along the side. Traffic is your main thing here – get to know and follow the rules. We’re out to make friends and smiles so it helps to get along with the neighbours. Again the obvious – rivers flow! OK you need to check how fast and which way to avoid disappearing out of sight, but also never trust the water to be clear. On one demonstration hovering 20 feet above the surface I happened to catch sight of a log – 6 inches thick, 4 feet long and floating vertically just a few inches under the surface. Not even your Protec is gonna save your head if you fancy a high dive in its direction! Other things we’ve come across – shopping carts, a false leg, and a dead sheep.
(FM: The old 360 spin into false leg face plant trick…been there, done that)
Oh this is a good one – the yacht boys are legendary ski haters so when you turn up and pitch your 255hp tug down the slipway there will be some vicious tutting going on behind closed decks. The harbourmaster or ports authority will be on your case and you’ll need to complete a health and safety form as long as your Flyboard hose before they let you in. Funny though – as soon as you get airborne, the crowds flock around and the yacht boys suddenly appear on deck with their iPhone cameras shouting at you to fly higher! The biggest challenge here is the traffic – but again the Flyboard is not the problem – it’s all the other boats coming in to take photos! Despite it being one of the most difficult places to get an agreement to Flyboard, it’s actually the easiest place once you’re in. Keep your distance from the anchor lines and the hard stuff like walls and boats, and you’re rewarded with constant deep water and all the facilities on hand, not to mention a new fan club every time you go out!
The main takeaway here people is know your water!
Check for depth everywhere. Check for floating and sunken stuff. Check it regularly. Then get wet and fly high!
Thanks for your valuable insights Mike! It looks like if you’re in Scotland and you go out flying with WetJets you’ll be in very good hands.