New thought propagates at the speed of light in the digital age, and there was no greater testimony to this than the World Flyboard Cup held in Dubai last weekend. Frankie Zapata conceived the Flyboard in Spring 2011, rapidly prototyped and developed the sub-$10,000 PWC attachment inside a few weeks and last week saw the third
running of the world championship. The 86 competitors were selected via video from 29 countries and our photo essay leaves little doubt as to the expertise that has been achieved in this brand new extreme sport over just three years. Bravo!
Though it fails to fit into any traditional man-made watercraft category, the Seabreacher X is remarkably comfortable in the water, turning quicker than anything made by man and happily skipping across the tops of the waves at 50 mph. This is not surprising given that it's based on a shape refined over 420 million years at the top of the ocean food chain – the shark. Give it more horsepower than Valentino Rossi's MotoGP bike, make it so light that it has the power-to-weight ratio of a Bugatti Veyron and you get the Seabreacher X. Its semi-pressurized hull enables it to tickle your adrenalin glands both above and below the waves, and it rates as the most outrageous boy's toy I have ever sampled.
The propagation of new thought in any global arena doesn't take long these days and with rapid development teams capable of building and testing prototypes in just a few months, entire markets can seemingly spring from nowhere. In 2009, JetLev showed its US$100,000 Jetlev (top left). Within months of production starting, French PWC legend Franky Zapata recognized that most of the hardware required for such a device was already contained in a PWC and created the Flyboard (top right) - a US$7500 accessory that attaches to any existing PWC with 150 plus horsepower. Now the people who brought you the Sea Breacher (bottom left) have completed a long-standing project to build the Jetovator (bottom right), a jet bike with a motorcycle seating position and controls. Three competitors makes a market - and all inside three short years.