As if seeing someone shot several feet into the air with jets of water wasn’t enough, the person in question was none other than Rick Mercer, who was in Sylvan Lake Monday at the marina filming the Rick Mercer Report for CBC TV.
Mercer tried Flyboarding, a new water sport which propels its users up to nine metres (30 feet) in the air with water jets on their hands and feet. The Flyboard is used in conjunction with a Sea-Doo.
“I’m moderately terrified, on my terrified scale,” said Mercer before taking to the water. “It’s a jet pack that’s propelled by water.”
Mercer became interested in Flyboarding after seeing an internet video of the sport.
“Someone said look at this, it’s absolutely crazy,” said Mercer.
A Rick Mercer Report representative contacted cousins Brody and Stephanie Wells. They run NBD Watersports, the first Flyboard dealer in Alberta and one of the first in Canada. Like Mercer, they first became aware of the sport through an internet video. After talking, they decided to go to Florida, the centre of North American Flyboard distribution, to become certified instructors.
“These people are the pioneers in Canada,” said Mercer. “We did our due diligence, this was the place to do it. This was our absolute first choice.”
Mercer’s Flyboarding experience will be broadcasted during the coming tenth season of the Rick Mercer Report.
“I think I’ll be introducing a lot of people to the sport, and if it’s in a beautiful location then it’s my idea of a perfect shoot. I think we have three for three here,” said Mercer.
Stephanie said Mercer took to the sport well, and kept everyone laughing.
“It was awesome. I couldn’t stop laughing all day. He’s so funny,” she said.
Brody and Stephanie have been demonstrating Flyboarding all summer on lakes around Alberta and British Columbia.
“Everybody’s always so amazed,” said Stephanie, adding that traffic on a bridge over Lake Chestermere stopped as people came to watch the demonstration. “Everybody just thinks it’s really neat and wants to try it.”
Stephanie said balance is important for Flyboarding, along with some strength and stamina. She added that while many people think the sport is dangerous, it’s no more dangerous than other water sports.
Stephanie said Flyboarding feels “surreal”, and that it “feels like you’re floating”.
The Flyboard website describes the sport as a combination of jet skiing, snowboarding, and acrobatic diving.
“It’s unlike any other water sport,” said Brody.