WAVERLY, MN Minnesota’s waters are home to a new hobby; flyboarding, and one Waverly business is riding that wave..
The spectacle of watching someone soar through the air like a superhero can cause boats to drop anchor to stop and watch, cars pull over for a better view, and people flock to the ends of their docks to enjoy the show.
“Some people have said it almost looks futuristic”, said Joe Briant, owner of Just Add Water Flyboard in Waverly.
“When I put someone up in the air, and they get it, the expression on their face is just . . . Oh my gosh, I’m flying, I’m flying!” he said.
Briant has always been captivated by watersports, and with years of experience in barefoot water skiing, windsurfing, and wakesurfing, he decided to dive even deeper into the world of extreme watersports last fall.
What started as a simple birthday gift from his wife, Julie, has turned into a brand new business for the west metro area.
Briant was hooked after his first Flyboard session, so he moved quickly to purchase the necessary equipment to bring his own business to life.
“There are very few operators in the state”, said Briant.
“Last year there were about three or four, and this year more like seven or eight that I know of. So, that’s what we decided to do. We decided to jump in quickly before the business really gets going.”
Despite how complicated it looks, the technology behind the Flyboard is relatively simple.
Briant starts by connecting a custom metal plate to the back of the jet ski, which redirects the propulsion of water through a hose to the Flyboard, creating lift.
He is able to control the amount of propulsion by utilizing the throttle on the Jet Ski.
“It’s just plumbing, that’s all it is,” explained Briant.
The hose that attaches the board to the Jet Ski is roughly 65 feet long, providing the rider with freedom of movement and the ability to rise nearly 30 feet into the air.
There are two types of boards available, both created by Zapata Racing of France.
The Flyboard is a personal jet pack mounted to the user’s feet, while the Hoverboard functions more like a surfboard, allowing users to surf on the water and in the air.
Briant’s setup is mobile, too, allowing him to pack up his equipment and move to a new location with ease.
He traveled to Lake Havasu in Arizona earlier this year to capitalize on the huge crowds for spring break, and he currently has several events scheduled throughout the west metro area.
It is at their lakeside home in Waverly that Joe and his wife Julie can provide their customers with more than just a thrill on the water.
“It’s fun to get to know the people”, said Julie. “We just sit and talk, find out more about them.”
Julie has been known to offer a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies to visitors, and Joe is more than willing to build a campfire on the shore.
“It’s just fun to see the emotion and enjoyment that they are experiencing,” said Joe. “It’s a blast. We’re having a good time with it.”
For more information about Just Add Water Flyboard, click the link at www.herald-journal.com.