The Dolphinator

Franky Zapata invented it. I want it. Zapata is a star in the world of French Jet Ski racing (where competitors do flips, obstacle courses and slalom, and go very, very fast). A few months ago, he came out with this thing.

The Flyboard, invented by Franky Zapata, allows propulsion underwater and in the air.
YouTube

He calls it a stand up device; his company calls it a "Flyboard," but it's not a board, exactly.

What is it? It's a Jet Ski motor connected by a long hose that attaches to a pair of jet boots and handheld stabilizers. Once you learn how to work it, you can fly out of the water 30 feet into the air, hang there or lean forward and do a power dive.

I'm looking at this thing and thinking it should be renamed "The Dolphinator," because this is about as close as a human is ever going to get to flying in and out of the air and sea as dolphins do. In fact, it beats the dolphins.

The Pacific white-sided dolphin, when properly trained, can leap up to 30 feet. In the wild, 15 or 20 feet is more normal. So Franky can out-leap them. To achieve their leaping heights, most dolphins begin deep below the surface and then rush upward in a near vertical, building speed. The lower they start, the higher they fly. Franky uses a gas engine powered through a hose. He doesn't have to go deep. I think the dolphins might object.

Still, when it comes to twisting in the air, the dolphins may still have an advantage. A typical Spinner dolphin rotates its body as it moves upward, doing two to three complete turns in a leap. But some dolphins have done five-and-a-half turns. What Franky can do, with his boots and stabilizers, I don't know. You don't want to get dizzy with all that heavy metal on you. So for twisting, I'm going to put my money on the mammals with fins.

And then I'll take my winnings and plop down the $6,441 it takes to do what Mr. Zapata does in this video. Which is to have a really good time.

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