Will Oklahomans get on board with new water toy?

BY CARMEN FORMAN cforman@opubco.com Published: June 19, 2013

Bobby Ecker said he felt like Iron Man as he soared through the air 20 feet above Lake Overholser on Tuesday.

The salesman at David's Sport Center tested a sky-soaring Flyboard to determine whether the store would begin carrying the new water toy.

Management at David's Sport Center, 6301 NW 10, are still debating if they will sell the boards because each one comes with a nearly $6,000 price tag. They also are wary of stocking the boards because the technology is relatively new. If the store does decide to carry the boards, it would be the first Flyboard retailer in the state.

The plaything was developed in 2011 by French personal watercraft rider Franky Zapata and was brought to America in 2012.

Water that propels the board upward comes through a hose attached to the waterspout of a jet propulsion boat or personal watercraft. The faster the watercraft goes, the higher the rider goes on the board, Ecker said.

“It's like standing on the edge of a building,” Ecker said. “It was kind of overwhelming how high you can feel.”

While the hose allows the board to safely go up to 35 feet in the air, Ecker only went up about 20 feet and even that seemed unbelievably high, he said. He said he felt most comfortable being only a few feet in the air.

As the watercraft controls the power of the board, the rider controls the steering and direction using their feet and knees. Riders' feet are strapped to the board in bindings, much like on a wakeboard or snowboard.

Ecker had seen videos of people flying above the waves on YouTube, but he didn't think about stocking the boards until Gulf States Flyboard distributor Jeff Luft contacted him.



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