2015 XDubai Flyboard World Cup Athletes
Flyboard® is a trademark of Zapata Racing
And so it has arrived. The day when the Flyboard World Cup athletes exceed the hype and stand poised for mainstream attention. Last week in Dubai H2RO witnessed the culmination of four years of hard work. It was a World Cup moment where product innovation fused with a global passion for flight producing polished and professional hydroflight entertainment. It was a moment that each and every Flyboard World Cup competitor from 2012 through to 2015 will share in. From Stephane Prayas ripping with the arms in Qatar, to Oceane Corbet battling the guys in 2013, to Suksan Tongthai inspiring everyone with his innovation, to Hunter Verlander throwing down his historic quadruple backflip. Each inspired by what came before, each building on the foundation from the previous year.
The birth of hydroflight is a crazy tale and one that H2RO has yet to properly tell but there is no arguing the fact that we have this sport because of the vision, sacrifice and drive of Franky Zapata and Zapata Racing. In four short years an entirely new category of sport has emerged, expanded across the globe and inspired an entire generation to look at a personal watercraft very, very differently than ever before. The future of hydroflight sports is bright so long as product innovation and passionate athletes continue to intersect out on the water.
The Flyboard World Cup athletes that took to the sky in Dubai last week made their own mark on history. It is incredible when you look at the commitment and sacrifices made behind-the-scenes in order to be a top level athlete at this stage in the game. It takes huge financial investment, time away from family and friends, injury/rehab/re-injury, equipment nightmares, the list is long but the reward is a chance to say I pioneered a sport. When we sit in the Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena in X number of years and the video montage rolls these pioneers will watch with great pride. There’s Franky dolphin diving in one of the very first viral videos, there’s Damone Rippy as James Bond on America’s Got Talent. Lifetime achievement awards will be handed out and people will hug knowing this sport played a hugely important role in their lives.
This video below shows off just a few moments from each 2015 Pro Flyboard competitor who stood on the podium in their respective divisions. It’s almost unimaginable to think they only had access to this Pro Series Flyboard for a few months before competing. Watch it and I think you will agree that this kind of action when edited alongside any of the mainstream extreme sports we have today would more than hold its own.
H2RO is pro Hydroflight. This means that we believe the future of our sport will continue to expand and include other companies and their products. Some of these companies are very active right now and many have not yet been created. The belief that this growth will somehow diminish the ongoing contributions of Zapata Racing and flyboarders from around the world is misguided. As much as there is tension within our industry it pales in comparison to the hope that exists. Hope that the battle for control won’t choke out everything we love but instead transform into a common desire to move from niche to mainstream. There are many powerful entities in the world with their eyes on our sport right now and they are likely not sure what to make of it. The most attractive package has yet to be presented to them and instead only fragments are being discovered at any one time. 2016 will be a very important year for the sport and the industry. Will we ride this inspiring wave generated by all of these incredible Flyboard World Cup athletes or will we bail back to the shore and watch something else take our place?
P.S. awesome job to everyone who attended the 2015 XDubai Flyboard World Cup and who have been putting up amazing photos and videos on their social channels and local press. This is what we need to grow! We’ve featured on this page some amazing pics taken by Elsa of Flyboard Finland and look forward to seeing much more great content from each of you.