A new option for thrill-seekers at Smuggler's Notch Resort in Jeffersonville, Vermont, is really making a splash. Flyboard of Vermont is a new company that offers lessons that give participants the sensation of flying as a comic book hero would; on strong jets of water.
Natalie Hostetter of Morrisville experienced flyboarding for the first time Wednesday. She put her feet into bindings attached to a board which is connected through a large hose to a jet ski. The thrust of the jet ski forces water through the hose, which then shoots out of the base of the board, propelling riders upward.
"I'm a little nervous, but also excited," Hostetter said before she entered the water. "It's so hot, it's going to be great!"
Bruce Morrissey, the co-owner of Flyboard of Vermont, introduced the activity to the state this summer. He said he learned about flyboarding as an international activity through a news broadcast.
"I knew this would be the perfect place for it," Morrissey said of a scenic pond in Jeffersonville. "It's calm, it's beautiful; this wouldn't work on a choppy lake or ocean."
Morrissey said the hot weather this week in Vermont, with days that reached into the 90s and others predicted to be in the high 80s, has spiked interest in the new activity.
"It's a cool way to cool off," Morrissey said, "The weather really brings out the flyboarders!"
Joey Hostetter, Natalie's twin brother, said he enjoyed the sensation of flying above the pond and splashing down into it.
"It's refreshing, definitely," he said. "It's unlike anything I've ever done before. This was great; a perfect day!"
Jeremiah Johnson, an instructor at Flyboard of Vermont, said flyboarding appeals to people of a wide range of skill levels and athletic ability.
"Practice makes perfect," Johnson said. "You will fall down. But the more you do it, the less you'll fall. And our gear reduces the impact of a belly or back flop."
Johnson explained staying rigid, with straight legs and a head facing toward the horizon, helps flyboarders rise out of the water. "It's actually the only sport I've ever tried where you have to stay stiff to maintain balance," Johnson added.
According to the website of Flyboard of Vermont, lessons are approximately 45 minutes, including a short period of instruction on land, and 30 minutes of fly time in and over the water. Lessons, normally $199, are now $129 per person for a limited time, the website says.