Interview with Kajetan Sikorski, from FLY-BOARD.pl hydro-jet centre.
I put on my hydro jet boots like Iron Man puts on his armour.”
Tubes International: Flyboard is a new sport. How did your Flyboard adventure start?
Kajetan Sikorski: My friend Jędrzej turned me on to Flyboarding. We’re sitting in one of our favourite whisky bars in Poznań, when Jędrzej showed me the video. That’s when I found out about flying boots. Since that day I kept pushing the manufacturer to sell me a pair of such magic boots. On 3 March 2012 we finally signed the order for items from the very first production run. I still have one pair.
TI: How was your first attempt at flyboarding?
KS: It definitely was below average. The dealer could neither fly nor instruct. No wonder, as we were the first to get the flyboards. Actually, we were the guinea pigs. Of course, I have a reminder of that first attempt. I was overcome by extreme emotions, shifting from excitement to fear. Basically, we didn’t know a thing about this toy, how it worked and if it was as safe as the manufacturer assured us. Note that 2012 model included Arm jets i.e. manual water jets, which were designed to improve balance. However, in practice they caused unnecessary discomfort and restriction to body movements.
TI: What appeals to you the most in this sport?
KS: On Flyboard I feel as if my childhood dreams were coming true. I put on my hydro jet boots like Iron Man puts on his armour. In my boots I can levitate as high as 5 floors and whoosh as fast as 30 km/h.
TI: What’s the difference between flying a flyboard, hoverboard and jetpack? Can you do different tricks on each one?
KS: They basically work in similar way. They are powered by the pump of a jet ski. On the Flyboard (boots) you can fly underwater and even up to 15 meters in the air making tricks at the same time. By comparison, it’s the easiest equipment to master. Gives you immediate satisfaction as early as at the first flight. Even at the first attempt I encourage to do some dolphin jumps or flips. Here, every trick is allowed. A backflip is the essence of this sport.
Hoverboard (board) is the fastest toy. It goes as fast as 30 km/h, allowing flying at the same time. It’s an alternative to a surfboard. It’s distinguished by one wider hydrojet fitted at the end of the board. You hoverborad sideways like you do on snowboard or kitesurfing.
Jetpack (backpack) is the latest novelty. You put the whole stuff on your back and fly as high as on the Flyboard. Unlike the previous two devices, the key to the success is not good balance. Here, you control your movements with two handles – the way you do with a steering wheel. Quick response and composure are really helpful. It’s an alternative for those people, who for health reasons or because of previous injuries cannot overstrain their legs.
TI: You can check your adrenaline level while flying. How does the flight affect your pulse?
KS: That’s true. In fact, Garmin Virb technology allows monitoring many parameters during the flight. We’ve learnt watching our customers, that the pulse dynamically rises in the first minutes of the flight reaching the maximum rate of oxygen uptake. Obviously, it is caused by adrenaline and unusual body movements. While flying, we activate a range of muscles responsible for maintaining balance. In everyday life, we rarely have an opportunity to use our so-called deep muscles. Therefore, to be well prepared for flying, it’s good to do some simple exercises which involve challenging your balance system. Trickboard, bosu balls or peanut balls are useful. They are available in most gyms.
TI: Recently there has been another competition – FLYCUP 2017 in Szczecin . How do you recall it?
KS: Priceless experience. And we have reasons to be proud! It’s already been the third edition of the Championship and it’s been hosted by Szczecin for the second time. Each year Europe’s pro riders turn up in here. This time competitors from the Czech Republic and Malta showed up and of course, many from Poland. Hydro Sport Poznań team and Mazury team stood on the podium in both women category and men category. Despite cloudy weather many thousands of people came to watch the show. It may be interesting for those in the business that we used wider elbows and hoses from a new board manufacturer, Schreiter Waterflights. With a larger diameter of 150 mm, we fly higher and further away from the jet ski.
TI: What do you remember most about other championships you took part in?
KS: I took part in World Cup 2013 in Qatar. There, I could watch closely how the biggest star of flyboarding was born – Suksan Tonghtai. Back then, that underage Thai, won for the first time. In my opinion, he is still the unmatched champion.
TI: And now something totally different. How many cubic metres of water does the board throw per minute?
KS: We had a chance to check it. We had dreamt about an ecological engine. The capacity of the jet ski reaches 700 m3/h at maximum load. When compared, an equally powerful electrical pump would have the size of 12 ft container.
TI: How much is the gas tank of the jet ski?
KS: Up to 4 hours of continuous flying with amateurs. Usually, the jet ski has such fuel consumption when used in our base location. However during Flycup competitions in Szczecin, the consumption reached 60l per hour and we didn’t manage to fly for one hour without refuelling.
TI: How do you mount the hose on your equipment?
KS: A big U-shaped elbow is connected to the jet ski. Then the hose, at least 18 meters long, is mounted to this elbow. The flyboard, jetpack or hoverboard is then attached to a bearing on the other end of the hose. The greater the power of the jet ski, the longer the hose. To protect the hose against sliding off, there are 4 stainless steel clamps tightened to 28 Nm.
TI: Do HILCOFLEX hoses do the job?
KS: They are absolutely perfect for hydrosports. Because of their robust construction service life doubled. Despite relatively low pressure, not exceeding 4 bar, regular firefighting hoses fail really quick. HILCOFLEX lasts several times longer, is much more resistant to twisting and easily handles unusual operation during the flight. One hose can be used for more than 100 hours. It stands for both reliability and safety. Apart from that, it doesn’t absorb water, doesn’t smell and water doesn’t weep from this hose. I strongly recommend it!
TI: It was really nice talking to you. Thank you.
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