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!
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.
We don't think Franky Zapata knows what's about to hit him. The French jet ski champion has just put together an absolutely insane leisure product, released a short video about it - and then took off on honeymoon, where presumably he's having about the least romantic getaway of his life as his phone and email inbox go absolutely bananas. And here it is: the Zapata Flyboard. This ingenious and deceptively simple device bolts on to the powerful motor of a jet ski, then routes the resulting water jet through a long hose that connects to a pair of jet boots and hand-held stabilisers. The arrangement lets you fly, Iron Man style, up to 9 metres in the air - or leap headfirst through the waves like a human dolphin. The best part? You can buy it for under 5000 Euro (US$6700). That is, once Franky digs his way out from under the avalanche of orders he's going to come home to.