French jet-ski racer Franky Zapata has invented a water-jet propulsion device that enables pilots to zoom through the water in a manner similar, in appearance, to the way dolphins swim and leap. Zapata says the “Flyboards” are easy to use, but it looks as though the learning curve might be painful. (They’re definitely cool to watch with an expert at the helm: see the ITN News video report below.)
Zapata, who has been referred to as “Dolphinman,” “Aquaman” and “Jetman,” recently posted on the Zapata Racing website a French-language promotional video of the Flyboards, which sell for about $6,500. They are connected via a long hose to a personal watercraft with an engine of 100 horsepower or greater, and controlled with hand-held throttles.
Meanwhile, video footage has been very popular on the Internet and bloggers have been having fun with the story. Reads the caption beneath an image of an airborne Zapata, on a CNET report: “Bonus points if you can catch a fish with your mouth.”
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