Zapata's outrageous, US$6,600 Flyboard - Aquaman meets Iron Man


December 7, 2011

The Zapata Flyboard: Aquaman meets Iron Man

The Zapata Flyboard: Aquaman meets Iron Man

Image Gallery (34 images)

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 stabilizers. The arrangement lets you fly, Iron Man style, up to 9 meters 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.

Details are fairly scant at the moment, as I can't distil too much from the video with my high-school French, but here's what we know. The Flyboard is a bolt-on attachment that connects to a jet ski. You attach a tube to the main jet exit, which is then routed up the side of the vehicle. From this tube comes a thick, flexible 9-metre hose that connects to the jet boots - and the hand controls come out of the jet boot platform.

If you've got a friend handy, you can use the base, €4900 (US$6570) model, which gives control of the throttle to the jet ski operator. If not, you can pay an extra €900 (US$1200) to have a trigger throttle built into the hand unit - and we'd imagine that's a lot more fun. In this configuration, you can more or less forget about the jet ski, which just trails along behind you as you soar through the air on a column of water and plunge into the waves.

It's a magnificent looking device, as Zapata himself demonstrates in his promo video - and it allows the rider quite a lot of gymnastic flair. Given the absolutely ludicrous amounts of horsepower available from today's monstrous, turbocharged jet ski engines, the Flyboard looks like a truly extravagant and ridiculously fun way to hurt yourself this summer.

We'll try to get a hold of Zapata once he's back on deck to speak to us about the details - but in the meanwhile, spare a thought for his poor new bride and content yourself with these photos for the moment.

About the Author
Loz Blain Loz has been one of Gizmag's most versatile contributors since 2007. Joining the team as a motorcycle specialist, he has since covered everything from medical and military technology to aeronautics, music gear and historical artefacts. Since 2010 he's branched out into photography, video and audio production, and he remains the only Gizmag contributor willing to put his name to a sex toy review. A singer by night, he's often on the road with his a cappella band Suade. All articles by Loz Blain

this Flyboard is going to sell and sell ! Amazing idea, I am totally hooked. I am sure there will be orders flooding in.


I can\'t see myself buying one of these because you also have to own a jetski which adds to the total cost, but it would be really fun to hire while on Holidays.


This thing is unbelievable. Take a look. You\'ll want one.

Mike Hanlon

The best thing about this? Almost anyone can experience it. You won\'t need a license or permit. Can\'t wait for it to hit the shores. And see people actually hovering. Wow!!!


yrag: Absolutely, it looks very similar - perhaps even a bit more fun... But the difference is that the JetLev costs a hundred grand, while the Flyboard is nearly 20 times cheaper. Good times!


Yes is like water jetpack but the difference is that price of jetpack is over 80000 Euro and price of flyingboard is 5000 Euro.

Denis Veprev


Carri Crawford

Not original at all as this take-off of an existing machine, but relocates the jets to the hands and feet instead of two on the back.

Joseph Shimandle

@ Oztechi : Doesn\'t need a jetski. He has a system for those who have one but there is another system for those who don\'t have a jetski. Check 1:05 ~ 1:12


Germans can\'t see the video. Thank you GEMA.


WOW! This is the next BIG thing in watersports- Iron Man meets Aquaman! Connects up to your Jetski...I'll take one please!

Robert Volk

That\'s the most dangerous and ridiculous contraption I\'ve ever seen. Your core strength would have to be monumental just to control it.

I\'ll put my order in as soon as Franky returns from his honeymoon. Wonder what the max connector hose length would be...


It seems kind of pricey for what it is assuming a power source is not included.

Gavin Zubka

I guess you have to keep watching you don\'t hit your jet ski head first. WANT


What\'s the carbon footprint? Why isn\'t it called eco-flyboard? Is water sustainable? Can we get a bamboo version? Do none of you care about the planet?

Todd Dunning

If you thought that Jet ski\'s were noisy...wait until this thing makes it to your favorite mountain lake hideaway!


The appeal of this device is undeniable. My girlfriend normally displays as much excitement for what I show her on Gizmag as I do for what she shows me on lolcats. She watched the video intently and asked \"What do we have to do to get one?\"


Want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it, want it,

Michael Oberhofer

A new category, a new trend. With custom designed lighter materials this will only get better. Perfect for those who are already into water sports. Well done and good luck Zapata! Super fun.

Dawar Saify

That is AWESOME! I\'m sure even the most \"in-shape\" users will be sore afterwards, but it has an amazing cool factor.

It\'s certainly similar to the JetLev, but clearly superior. Not sure how it could possibly be so much cheaper since it\'s a better, more advanced device.

Dave Andrews

I am so glad I speak French- it was a joy to hear and understand the inventor of this AMAZING TOY/PROPULSION UNIT. I Can\'t wait to see is on our lakes and rivers. I hope his inventions are designed to be quieter than normal jet skis.

Carlos Grados

I want one now, but I am afraid JetLev is going to attempt to enforce a ban on U.S. sales of this. I hope this invention differs enough from the JetLev patent for them to be able to legally sell it in the U.S. I will order mine right now! I already made my own JetPack that works just as good as the JetLev (minus throttle control to the rider) but the jetpack gets old fast...its fun and all, but I can see how the flyboard would be badass, it looks insane and actually challenging


Really great! But true it is clone from the existing JetLev! See also this website to compare the Jetlev and Flyboard/

Remco Ros

Darwin awards fodder.

Laurence White

Imagine you and your friend have one and your flying around doing air battle shooting each other with the hand water jets. Sick or tech is double at alarming rate all around the world. Be excited

Preston Carr

FlyGuy! ... definitely gives a different meaning to the word. Mind you, i would not want to have a big fish get stuck in the pipe whilst hovering 20 plus feet in the air ...OOOUCH!!!

Harpal Sahota

Maybe the new tool to fight fires?

Chin San

Coolest new thing I've seen in water sports!

Crystal Oceans

OMGosh!!! I want one!!!

Carol Cotton

Likely to be illegal in Oregon. They'll want you to have a 3 man jet ski with a driver and a observer on board.

David Burton

Cannot WAIT! OMG...I'm like a little kid on Christmas morning. LOVE it!

Lisa Zimlin

First the 2cv now the Flyboard....Allez le Bleu

Sherri Troutman

Happy Flyboarding everyone! ;)

SouthTexas Flyboard

Thx for a cool find, Loz. It doesn't cost fortune! Pac-Rac would be a good solution to carry all the stuff on the jet ski. These guys at have a nerve to deal with that, sort of Iron Man's style.

Jet Ski Maniac

I did had a go they are fun love it would like to buy one for my Jet-Ski but not allowed in NSW waterway

Vince Deguara
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