JEDDAH: You’ve heard of flips, twists, and turns underwater, but a new extreme water sport is allowing sports enthusiasts to do the same above the surface. It’s called flyboarding and it will take you to new heights.
Saudis are flocking to the newest and coolest new water sports activities. Invented in 2012 by French watercraft rider Franky Zapata, the flyboard is a hydroflight device that uses propulsion to drive a board into the air to perform tricks and skills. With the right balance and push, the board allows users to climb out of the water and fly, and one Saudi flyboard instructor can show you how it is done.
Mussab Felemban, a certified flyboard instructor, has been performing the art of water hoverboarding wherever he can find a body of water deep enough to hold the board and big enough to fly over.
“Flyboarding is a new sport in the Kingdom; it’s very popular among people whether they want to try it or just want to watch the performance,” Felemban told Arab News.
“Anyone can practice the sport with the presence of an instructor and of course safety equipment such as a helmet and a life jacket. It is one of the funnest and toughest water activities,” he added.
Felemban found his passion for watersports in 2009 through riding jet skis. He later discovered flyboarding in 2017, fell in love with it, and took courses in Hurghada and Dubai, to become an official flyboard instructor certified in the US.
“I was discovered 2 months ago by Jeddah’s waterfront operator as I posted my flyboard performances on social media, the operator contacted me and offered me the opportunity to be a part of their activities and I’ve been performing since,” he said.
“I started flyboarding on the Jeddah waterfront two months ago, and thank God it was a great turnout. More than 300 people tried it, including women and children who wanted to try it out.”
Felemban is active on social media, especially TikTok, where he has gathered over 300,000 followers in just four months. “This is the biggest evidence of the strong demand for watersports,” he said.
Felemban stressed that flyboarding does require some agility, strength, and patience as it can take a while to find the balance while hovering over the water, but it is suitable for anyone.
The price for half an hour of flyboarding is SR250 ($67).
“Flyboarding is considered a fun activity and you can do it for less than half an hour. No one can do flyboarding for longer than that because of the pressure on the knees. Yes, it burns calories and tightens the body, however, it does not replace the regular sport activities like going to the gym.”
Felemban has participated in events like Saudi National Day celebrations at the Jeddah waterfront and Sharqiyah, the opening of the Asir waterfront, and many more exciting occasions.
“Flyboarding is an entertainment sport activity, and the Ministry of Sports is focusing on Saudi youth to be prepared to participate in Olympics and international sports events.”
“You want to fly? We will make that happen,” he added.