Abyss Board: carve it up beneath the waves
By Loz Blain
December 11, 2011
The watersports world has been a little spoiled in the last week with news of the Zapata Flyboard breaking - but even though that one's going to be very tough to top, we thought the Abyss Board was pretty unique and fun in its own right. Towed quite slowly behind a boat, this simple device lets you steer yourself around under the water. With separate control of right and left side wings, you can dive, rise, bank, carve and barrel roll your way through the water. As you're underwater the whole time, you don't need to be going fast to get quite a motion thrill - so in a way the Abyss Board is a reasonably eco-friendly rush. I tell you what though, I wouldn't want either of my brothers at the boat throttle while I was playing with this thing - and they wouldn't want me driving either!
So here's how it works: you hold onto the Abyss board at two handles on the left and right, each of which you can rotate with your wrists to tilt the left and right wings of the device.
You tow it behind a boat at a maximum of 10 mph (16 km/h) - so no faster than a jog, really, and the rider uses the considerable drag of the water at that speed to steer around beneath the waves.
You can use it with a snorkel, or just keep popping up to the surface to get a breath. It's relatively safe, in that you can just let go if you like, or if your psychotic brothers are hitting the gas too hard for you to hang on.
The feeling is described be the manufacturer as something like personal flight - and I can believe that, in a mild sort of way.
The attached video is unlikely to do the company too many favors with adrenaline junkies, but for people with kids this could be a pretty nifty experience without too much risk. At US$395, the Abyss board isn't super cheap for what it is, but then it comes in roughly between a kneeboard and a wakeboard in price, and it offers a fairly unique ride.
Personally, I require all my leisure activities to come with a distinct chance of hospitalization, so I'll stick to drooling over the Flyboard for the moment.
While watching the video below it's worth keeping in mind that, due to the slow motion effect of being underwater, this is probably one of those things that is a whole lot more fun than it looks.