HYDROFLIGHT COMPETITION RESULTS
Battle On The Rock 2017 – 10th Place
2015 XDubai Flyboard World Cup – 15th Place
2014 XDubai Flyboard World Cup – Qualifying Round
2014 North American Flyboard Championship – 10th Place
2013 Flyboard World Cup – 14th Place
‘The Punisher’ should really take me out for not properly representing him on H2RO for so long. A top Hydroflight athlete since we saw him for the first time at the 2013 XDubai Flyboard World Cup in Qatar, Ronnie Feise has been a pioneer and innovator from the beginning. He truly pursues all things Hydroflight ripping on various boards and has some serious Jetovator skills too. He has contributed product reviews to H2RO as well as helping us tune up our Flyboard Trick Names so it’s definitely time we did a proper interview. Check out his highlights from the 2015 XDubai Flyboard World Cup and then get to know The Punisher.
H2RO MAGAZINE EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW RONNIE FEISE
H2RO) Ronnie, please share with everyone both your personal and athletic background. Where did you grow up and what sports were you into?
I grew up in a small town in Georgia and got involved in sports at a very young age. I started martial arts when I was 4 years old and was competing in tournaments almost immediately. Martial arts is something that I have been passionate about my entire life and have trained in many different styles. I also played football, baseball, skateboarded, snowboarded, and even got involved in Rugby for a bit in my latter teen years.
H2RO) How were you introduced to Hydroflight Sports and how did you athletic background help you on the board?
I think I got involved in Hydroflight Sports in a very similar way as many others that were involved early on. A good friend showed me a video on YouTube of Franky Zapata on the original Flyboard and I was immediately obsessed. I am very uncomfortable with heights and was definitely not the best swimmer when I first got involved in Hydroflight. My passion for personal flight and longing for my next athletic challenge took over and I was up and flying pretty quick. I think my athletic and competitive background helped when I started to push the limits and try things on the board that I wasn’t comfortable with.
H2RO) Right away I have to get the backstory on ‘The Punisher’ nickname. You really represent with the imagery on your board, vests, etc.
The Punisher nickname came from a very respected veteran Wing Chun master that I met through competing in martial arts tournaments. In the circuit that I competed in the adult division age ranges from 18-34. My first year in this division I won every fight I had which led to me being the overall winner in the Men’s Black Belt division for the year and coined the name.
(photos courtesy of Aquafly)
H2RO) Looking at the 2015 XDubai Flyboard World Cup what were some of your goals throughout training and going into the Championship?
My main goal in training for the 2015 XDubai Flyboard World Cup was to show up a completely different flyer than I have shown in any other competition and taking my flying to what I viewed as the next level. I really started trying to be creative and move around in ways that I have never seen or tried before. I also recognized that I really needed to work out my fear of heights and taking my normal tricks as high as possible.
H2RO) What did you see or learn in Dubai that has influenced your flying in 2016?
Dubai was very motivating for me this year. I went into the competition with way more confidence than I have had in any prior competition. This was the first year that I felt that I was personally at a level to compete with the best of the best and that has motivated me to push myself that much more. Although I was happy with how I performed, I will not be satisfied until I am standing on that podium!
H2RO) We really liked what we saw from you in Dubai. The quick alternate direction flips and unique lines you were creating were really cool. As an athlete that has flown different boards walk us through how each of the boards affects your trick creativity and execution?
No question that the Jetdeck has had the most influence on my creativity of new tricks and angles. I noticed on my first ride that the board felt like it had no limitations on direction of movement so I pushed every angle that I could think of. My goal was to try making movements possible that I had previously felt were not. Once I sorted out a new trick or direction on the Jetdeck, I would try it on the Flyboard. Sometimes that translated to a completely different movement that still looked very cool and different.
H2RO) In case you haven’t touched on this you’re getting pretty sick on the Jetovator. Please share with us the challenges that ride poses when trying to get really good on it and what cool opportunities it provides you with?
The Jetovator is a beast!!! It is a completely different ride than any other hydroflight device that I have been on. It was easy to ride but took a little bit more courage to get good on it. The first time I had a head on collision with the water learning how to flip it made me think twice for a split second. Kurt Binter got me hooked up with the guys over at H2Ocean Sports and was a huge help in teaching me the basics of how to fly the Jetovator. My competitive spirit kicked in as soon as fellow team mate Max Miller started leaving me in the dust on it. Dude was flipping and spinning the thing all over the place and I was still impressed with my single barrel roll. His advice to me “Stop being tentative.. You gotta ride it like you stole it”. Now that I am comfortable with the controls I feel like it is almost impossible to crash this thing and really look forward to showing you guys some cool stuff on it at Hydro Fest in Vegas!
H2RO) Time to plug your business and let people know how they can get out on the water with you?
Hydro Rockets is based on Lake Conroe, Texas. We ride a little bit of everything and are completely open to flying and training with anyone. We feel that if we all work together and train together without just copying what others do, we will all push one another to the next level of creating their own unique styles.
H2RO) As part of Team Powerfly you trained and competed with some great Hydrofight athletes how was that experience for you and how did you enjoy the Bbtalkin bluetooth communication?
Team Powerfly training camp was definitely a game changer for me! When you are flying around so much talent you have no option but to push the limits of what you are comfortable with. It really makes you check yourself when a chick is telling you “Hesitation is for punks”… Well those weren’t Kristen Smoyer’s exact words but I gotta keep this PG-13 rated. Mark and Sabrina Baxter made sure we had everything that we needed and did a great job of putting together a team environment that immediately felt like family. Bbtalkin is the greatest accessory to flying yet! It makes a HUGE difference when you are flying and have a team mate on land correcting what they see real time. Past that it just really gives you a calm confidence being able to communicate with someone while flying.
H2RO) Flying with Scotty Knemeyer for the Red Bull Air Race in Japan looked like an amazing gig. Share with us that experience and any other shows/demos you’ve enjoyed?
Amazing doesn’t even begin to explain my experience flying with Scotty at the Red Bull Air Race in Japan! The fun began 2 weeks before we left when Scotty arrived here in Texas so that we could train together. I learned real quick that this guy is serious about this. We created a list of new tricks that we were both determined to have nailed before we left and really held one another accountable on making it happen. Our trip to Japan was unreal. The hospitality that we were shown was like nothing that I have ever experienced and the culture was very enlightening. Being involved in Hydroflight has given me the opportunity to travel the world and I have met some awesome people along the way.
H2RO) Judging freestyle Hydroflight competitions is very challenging but I’m curious from a competitors standpoint what ideas you might have to help ensure athletes are given due credit for all elements of their runs?
I think that we have to be careful not to just get caught up on counting how many flips someone can do in a row and pay more attention to innovation and style. It can get boring pretty quick watching someone back flip over and over again. I know it is still a very young sport but I also feel that there needs to be a clear and consistent judging format. When we were training for Dubai we practiced our qualification run based on the parameters that were laid out for us online but arrived and found out almost every motion was going to be considered a trick. Things like that make it very difficult to adjust to at the last minute. We are definitely heading in the right direction but need to remember that this is a freestyle sport and base the scoring and judging with that in mind.
H2RO) Looking ahead to this year is there any news, opportunities or affiliations you’re excited about and can share?
I am definitely excited about 2016 being a huge year! I have been working closely with Nick at DEFY and am really looking forward to all of the new things that he is doing to better the sport and functionality of all hydroflight devices. I recently found out that Scotty and I will be headed back to Japan for the Red Bull Air Race again this year and really can’t wait to get back out there! Mark and Sabrina at Powerfly Products continue to show me a lot of support and I can’t wait to get together with the team again for our next training camp.
H2RO) Finally, do you have an advanced tip or technique you can share that takes advantage of the independent feet on any of the boards?
Independent feet has really opened up the sport with the ability to being able to move around faster and easier. Learning how to use just my feet to manipulate the board instead of my knees has made a pretty big difference on the tightness and speed of my spins. It took me a while to get out of the habit of using my body to turn the board just because that is the only way it worked in the past. The Jetdeck really opens up the use of that with the third axis and I have been experimenting with the flexibility of using both the independent feet along with the movement of the third axis at the same time. I don’t want to give up too much but I definitely plan on really showing how that works at Hydro Fest.
We are stoked for Hydro Fest and really looking forward to seeing you fly there. We have no doubt here at H2RO that we’ll be seeing you on a Podium in the near future. Thanks for your time and if we ever need a metal drummer or body guard we’re calling you.