Panama Flyboarding

De izquierda a derecha: BurbaBoys propietario de Jordan Jiménez con hoverboard y Harrison Ruffin sostiene el flyboard.

This post is also available in: Spanish

On-the-Water by Ilene Little

Panama Flyboarding.  Remember the Marty McFly hoverboard scenes in the”Back to the Future” movies? Well, now you can experience something similar – flyboarding and hoverboarding, action sports similar to snowboarding, but in the air over or under water.

On Contadora Island in Las Perlas, Harrison Ruffin and his partner Jordan Jimenez offer flyboarding and hoverboarding lessons to tourists, one of the many water activities they provide for visitors’ entertainment.

“These guys and their clients enjoy life 200%,” said Maria-Jose, owner of Perla Real, one of the most popular bed and breakfast resorts on Contadora.

Panama Flyboarding

Panama Flyboarding in Contadora island.

The flyboard or hoverboard gives the sensation of flying. It is a 20-minute adrenaline-filled ride that appeals to adventurous tourists whose idea of a good time is to discover a thrilling action sport and develop a new skill.

A flyboard is a platform that you stand on which uses a personal watercraft jet propulsion through a tube and spits it out under your feet. “It allows you to fly above and under the water,” said Jimenez. A flyboard can be used with most models of personal watercraft, including jet skis.

Flyboard equipment.

Flyboard equipment.

Flyboards are designed to send swimmers skyward propelled by a jet of water. The boards were first designed and launched as an action sport in 2011.

To generate this powerful thrust, the rider is connected to a personal watercraft with a long hose that carries a high-pressure water stream from the watercraft to the nozzles underneath the flyboard.

The pressure is adjustable. The instructor has full control over the rider’s experience and can move the board higher or lower as the rider desires. “Before a rider gets on the board, we go over safety factors and hand signals to allow for communication,” said Ruffin.

“All the thrust of the jet ski is redirected through a hose and into the rider’s boots to push the Flyboard,” said Jimenez, “The jet ski is left running, but with no momentum or power to maneuver. The person on the flyboard pulls the jet ski along.”

The flyboard will give you more of a vertical momentum. You can go forward and back, but it’s more of an up and down trajectory.

From left to right: BurbaBoys owners Jordan Jimenez with hoverboard and Harrison Ruffin holding the flyboard.

From left to right: BurbaBoys owners Jordan Jimenez with hoverboard and Harrison Ruffin holding the flyboard.

On the hoverboard, the thrust is shared between the board and the jet ski, so it can move to follow the hoverboard rider, and he can manipulate the hose to allow for more acrobatics.”

With the hoverboard, there is more opportunity for forward momentum. In order to do tricks, you have to elevate the nose of the board upward and go as close to straight up as possible to give yourself enough altitude to do corkscrews and flips on your way back down.

The system is very maneuverable, so advanced riders are able to perform acrobatic maneuvers in mid-air. “Beginners can ride at their own skill level; even sitting on the board for the ride,” said Harrison.

“The youngest kid we’ve taught on the flyboard was seven years old, and the oldest was 65 said,” said Ruffin, “This is not a hard sport to enjoy, it just allows for the athletes to really show their stuff.” Even if there’s no wind, all you need to enjoy this sport is a jet ski and the board.

Las Perlas is 35 miles out into the Bay of Panama from Panama City. Thousands of visitors each year travel to Las Perlas for the day, or longer, by charter boats, public ferries, Air Panama and private vessels and aircraft.

Flyboarding and hoverboarding are also available at the Playa Blanca all-inclusive Beach Resort located in Coclé, a central Panamanian province southwest of Panama City.

For more information on Panama Flyboarding and hoverboard in Contadora, Las Perlas, contact: BurbaBoys 507 – 639-56504 or email burbaboys@gmail.com. Facebook page: BurbaBoys Adventura and Spearfishing.

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