My Misadventures Flyboarding with Flyboard BAMA

“All you have to do is stand up straight.” This is what the guys from Flyboard BAMA would have me believe to assuage my nervousness. Sure…they make it look so easy.

Flyboarding with Flyboard BAMA in Orange Beach Alabama

Show offs 😉

I was on a fan-guided blogger trip to Gulf Shores and Orange Beach Alabama where the fans got to choose our activities; kind of like a choose your own adventure story where you are the main character and someone else is making the choices. But I was ready to flyboard in Orange Beach. After all, I was there to experience all that the Alabama Gulf Coast had to offer and I’m not a chicken.

Except when it comes to water sports, I really am a scaredy cat. I’ll blame my father for tossing me into the pool to learn to swim. I’ll blame my brothers for dunking me until I choked. I’ll blame Jaws for making an indelible impression on a young girl. But whomever is to blame; the truth is, I avoid going underwater like Pigpen avoids the bath. I’ve tried to overcome this fear of the water. I’ve snorkeled with sharks in Bora Bora, I tried scuba in Mexico, I’ve swam with stingrays in Grand Cayman, I’ve parasailed in the Florida Keys and gone white water rafting in Oregon. I keep trying new things and sometimes I’m fine and sometimes I meet my limits. But I was willing to follow the fan’s recommendations and try flyboarding in Orange Beach, Alabama.

Of course our guide made it look so easy with his quick demonstration. I mean, who wouldn’t want to float through the air like Iron Man with a jetpack? I wasn’t ready to go first so I happily let Shannon, from 100 Routes Across America, take the first turn. After watching her go through her lesson, I started to get the idea that this whole bit about just standing up wasn’t quite as easy as they let on. Or maybe she just wanted to dive into the water over and over? Hmm, my nervousness was starting to grow.

After about 10-15 minutes, things seemed to click for Shannon and she was suddenly rising up to hover a few feet above the water for quite a few seconds at a time before plunging back in. Soon she was zooming back to the dock, jetting through the water like the prow of a ship. When she arrived back, all smiles, she happily declared flyboarding the most amazing thing she’s ever done. Now I have been following Shannon’s adventures for a while and I know she is a proficient skier and adventure seeker so that statement is really saying something. Yet despite her obvious skill in areas that I’m lacking, I thought to myself that if she can do it, I could do it too.

Flyboard Orange Beach with Flyboard BAMA -- Fly or fail? Find out what it is like to go flyboarding and see if you'd be brave enough to give it a try.

Shannon flyboarding

As I strapped on my life vest, helmet and the flyboard, which attaches like ski boots attached to a hoverboard and a big hose, I mentioned to the guide that I don’t like going underwater. He was quick to inform me in no uncertain terms that I WILL be going underwater. Gulp. Ok.

Flyboarding with Flyboard BAMA in Orange Beach Alabama

Feeling nervous

Soon I was peering out from under my helmet as I was propelled through the water by the jets under my feet out to the flyboarding area. Once we reached a safe distance from the dock, it was time to try to get my feet under me. Now imagine this, you are bobbing in the water with your feet strapped into some bulky, heavy boots, which are connected to the jet ski by a large flexible hose. Just getting your feet straight out below you is a challenge but once you are positioned, the guide on the jet ski gives you just enough pressure through that hose to slowly push you up.

How did I do? Well I tried to just stand up but when you have this pressure from below pushing you vertically into the air with nothing to hold onto and your feet are unsteady below you, your first instinct is to try to gain your balance. That is what I did and instead I plummeted over headfirst into the water. As I came up gasping for air and choking out the water I’d just inhaled, my friend on the jet ski gave me the sage advice to hold my breath when I go over. Sure. Never thought of that. See the problem is that it happens way to fast for me to hold my nose or take a breath. One second you are struggling the stand, the next you are underwater.

Flyboarding with Flyboard BAMA in Orange Beach Alabama

This is what I did, over and over.

And getting yourself back into position is no easy task. In fact, the whole experience is a bit of a workout. Thanks to your life jacket, you surface on your back with your feet toes up out in front of you. You need to twist yourself around and get back into position with your legs below you for another try. And try again, and again, and again until you finally get it.

Flyboarding with Flyboard BAMA in Orange Beach Alabama

Finally starting to get upright

For me, I got lucky. I finally managed to rise a couple of feet out of the water by focusing my gaze on the horizon and trying really hard not to think about what was happening with my legs below. It lasted just a few seconds but it was enough for me to say I did it. But I’m a good person to take to Vegas because I believe in quitting while you are ahead. I called it a day, I had had enough. For many this would be the turning point between learning and having fun. They would continue through the rest of their allotted time soaring higher and longer each time. But not me. I checked it off the list but was happy to return to land.

I’d love to show you all the great footage of my adventure but in my anxiety over the experience, I accidentally turned the GoPro on when I thought I was turning it off, and vice versa, which resulted in a lot of underwater footage that would leave you anticipating a shark attack at any moment (or maybe that is just my Jaws paranoia again.) But here is a little taste of what it is like to flyboard with Flyboard BAMA.

Get a second opinion and see what Shannon thought of her flyboarding adventure.

Would you like to try flyboarding?

Flyboard BAMA is located at 26189 Canal Road in Orange Beach, AL behind the Cayman Grill. They offer 20, 30, and 60 minute sessions starting at $79 (check the website for current pricing.) My experience was hosted by Flyboard BAMA and Gulf Shores Orange Beach Tourism for purposes of this review. All opinions are my own.

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Flyboard Orange Beach with Flyboard BAMA -- Fly or fail? Find out what it is like to go flyboarding and see if you'd be brave enough to give it a try.

5 Comments on “My Misadventures Flyboarding with Flyboard BAMA

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  1. Tamara, I applaud you for willing to try out these adventures (and this time you cannot even “blame” your daughter:)

    Oh wow! Those fly boards look absolutely awesome! Are they gas powered? That seems like such a wild ride haha. One more to add to my bucket list! Thanks 🙂

      There is a tube connected to the jet ski and they are water propelled but yes I’m sure it is a gas motor.

    Great that you tried our sport and yes for many it does click after about 5 – 10 minutes of practice. The Pros have taken our sport to incredible heights in only a few short years so if anyone is interested in following Pro Flyboarding and other Hydroflight Sports please visit the official magazine http://h2romagazine.com/
    Cheers,
    Blaine

      It is amazing to watch those that do it well!

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