Local flyboarders Brody Wells and Chad Bell are two of 80 competitors from around the world who will vie for international glory when they head to the world flyboarding championships in Dubai this December.
Wells, a professional flyboarder with Team Canfly and owner of Alberta Flyboard, said flyboarding in Dubai is “absolutely amazing.” Paired with skydiving to create the X Dubai competition, it’s an event he feels is truly one of a kind.
And he can’t wait to be part of it.
“They have the skydiving competition going on, there are helicopters landing in the background and there are aircraft taking off,” Wells said. “Then there are flyboarders out there who are giving it their all.”
Each year the competition keeps growing, giving flyboarders the challenge of coming up with new tricks and creating their own individual twists and maneuvers to incorporate into their routines, Wells said.
That, he feels, helps feed the highly-competitive atmosphere.
“It is absolutely breathtaking to see, especially after you go through 80 guys that are in the Pro Division, and then you break it down into the top four,” he said. “The skill, blood, sweat and tears — they are out there giving it their all. The show that they put on is quite amazing.”
To prepare for the competition, Wells said he’ll practice flyboarding in Sylvan Lake in September, and then most likely travel to Mexico to train and practice in October and November before flying to Dubai.
But flyboarding in Canadian water is much different than flyboarding in the water in Dubai, where it’s full of salt and very dense, Wells said.
The dense salt water pumps differently through his jet pump, and gives him a near 50 per cent increase in power.
“As it’s passing through the jet pump, it acts and reacts going through your hose, and interacting with the blades of the jet pump it’s completely different,” he said. “The jet pumps are very crisp and clean in the brand new machines we were using, and the heavier, denser water is being pushed through that hose at a faster rate.”
That increase in power in turn increases the strain on the legs of the rider, Wells added. When conditioning and training for competitions, he uses his own machine, but tries to mimic using the same kind that he’ll use at the world championships.
That means having to adapt to the new equipment and sharpening his reaction times, he said.
“We’re going to flip faster — it becomes a game of muscle memory when you’re dealing with a change like that, and then you almost have to re-learn the machine very quickly in order to stay on top of the game.”
During competitions, flyboarders are judged on how fast they execute their tricks and combinations, with a lot of focus placed on esthetics as well, Wells said.
“You’re trying to make your tricks look clean and as good looking as possible, but also making sure you get them down fast enough, and maximizing the height too.
“If someone’s doing a million back flips, but they look ugly, they aren’t going to be graded as well as someone who is doing them higher, cleaner and faster.
“You have to be careful and smart about your riding.”