By JEREMY TEO
Hi! It’s Jeremy here. Welcome to my brand new column.
I have been a radio announcer and TV host for quite a number of years now, but all my life, I’ve been a fan of new experiences.
And that’s how the idea for this column came about. I am going to write about the act of learning and trying out something new every month, and share every fail, fall and bump in the road right here.
I hope you enjoy the ride and maybe even feel encouraged – nay, inspired – to seek out new experiences of your own.
This month’s experience started with a video. It was titled “Coolest Water Jetpack”, or something like that.
The thumbnail showed a guy being propelled into the air by a jet stream of water coming out of his feet. I clicked and discovered a sport called flyboarding.
Invented by French watercraft rider Franky Zapata, a flyboard is essentially a water jetpack attached to a jet-ski.
The rider stands on a board connected by a hose to a jet-ski. The propulsion from the jet-ski forces water out of the nozzles that are under the board and propels the rider up to 15m in the air.
Basically, it’s Aquaman meets Iron Man meets hoverboard. Hello, instant addition to my bucket-list.
I asked around and a friend told me to check out Flyboard Malaysia, located in Marina Putrajaya.
I made my way down and was introduced to Aris, my instructor for the day. He told me that each session would last 20 minutes, which he added would be more than enough to exhaust me.
“Twenty minutes is going to feel like an hour out there. Trust me.” It sounded like something he had said many times before.
However, before I was allowed to take flight, a safety and instructional briefing had to happen. It was thorough enough, but the only thing I remember was the cardinal rule: “If you want to fall, make sure you fall forward. Not backwards. And also always keep your head above water”.
Gearing up was easy. You pretty much just put your feet into the flyboard’s boots, lower yourself into the water and you’re ready to go.
A little further out into the water, Aris told me that he was going to count to three and throttle the jet-ski. All I had to do then was to move from my prone position, or what he called the “Superman”, into a standing position, which he called the Iron Man.
The goal was to “Iron Man” my way out of the water by finding that sweet spot of perfect balance where the force from the jet-ski would propel me into the sky.
It was much easier said than done.
Shifting positions under water is simple enough when you’re swimming. When you’ve got the force of jet-ski coming out from under your feet, you can expect to fall. A lot. And repeatedly.
In many ways, it was a lot like riding a bicycle. You have to take the knocks while you figure out your balance.
But when it does click, it’s glorious. As you rise from the waters you will hear angels sing. You will look down upon the mortals beneath you and say to yourself, “This is where I belong”.
Until you fall again.
By the end of my session, I found that Aris was right. Twenty minutes of flyboarding had left me exhausted and wobbly.
But for the power of flight, it was a small price to pay.
Watch his video here!