Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - A new way to get high at Otres

A new way to get high at Otres

An expert shows what the flyboard is truly capable of. FULLGAZ
An expert shows what the flyboard is truly capable of. FULLGAZ

A new way to get high at Otres

Flyboarding – the futuristic new watersport that’s just arrived to Cambodia’s beaches – is probably the closest you’ll ever get to flying a real jetpack.

Utilising high-pressure jets of water, the sport sees participants propelled through the brine and high into the air with almost complete freedom of movement. If – like me – you’ve always dreamed of soaring like Astroboy, Ironman or the Rocketeer – this is the way to do it.

The technology – developed in 2011 by French jet ski champion Franky Zapata – is simple enough. Two U-shaped water jets – fed through an 18-metre hose by a nearby jet ski – provide thrust while optional smaller nozzles held in each hand provide balance.

French-Cambodian brothers Florian and Jonathan Tea, operating under the moniker Flyboard Cambodia, began offering sessions with their imported flyboard setup on Sihanoukville’s Otres Beach at the start of November. They even film them with a GoPro camera.

However, it’s not cheap at $50 for 15 minutes, with discounts for longer sessions, and Florian says most of his customers are older Europeans rather than Cambodians or young backpackers.

“Every day we get between one and four clients,” Florian said. “Sometimes clients come back. Another time we had another Russian guy who came twice. He came right back the day after. People enjoy it.”

Florian Tea demonstrates the flyboard at Otres Beach. PHOTO SUPPLIED
Florian Tea demonstrates the flyboard at Otres Beach. PHOTO SUPPLIED

So far, Florian and Jonathan’s marketing has mostly consisted of putting on demonstration sessions – flying and diving a few dozen metres off the chronically relaxed Otres – that leave onlookers both bemused and curious.

But keen to get some more widespread exposure, he offered to give me a free go.

Despite a warning earlier on from Florian that it could take a little while before I actually made it out of the water, I managed to breach the surface on my first attempt. I was airborne . . . for approximately two seconds until I lost my balance.

My subsequent lift-offs were the same. I spent about five minutes hesitatingly emerging from the water – graceful as a newborn buffalo – before falling back into the drink.

Eventually I remembered the advice Florian had given back on the beach, that I should keep my eyes on the horizon, and soon I was hovering relatively stably about three or four metres in the air. Giving gravity the big middle finger. It was pretty great.

The physical sensation is difficult to describe. It’s almost like standing on a flexible but solid column of water.

After 10 minutes or so I also had a go at diving through the water, cresting the surface and diving back in again over and over.

But that was the extent of the tricks I was able to perform before my time was up and we had to head back into the beach .

For a video of my lacklustre attempts to master flyboarding head to The Phnom Penh Post website.

A short clip on Flyboard Cambodia’s website shows the flyboard’s true potential. In it, the device’s inventor Zapata hovers, tumbles and dives dolphin-like through the water, spinning as he goes, like an airborne acrobat freed from the tyranny of gravity. Truly jaw dropping.

In practice, the more outrageous looking manoeuvres are too difficult for first-timers to pull off. However, it’s easy enough and a lot of fun to hover a few metres in the air and do a reasonable Flipper impression.

Is it worth paying $50 for 15 minutes? That’s not a question I can answer for you. But if you’ve got the money to spare, it’s definitely an experience unlike any other.

Details: flyboardcambodia.com

Video available at phnompenhpost.com/7days


  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • General’s gun smuggling ring busted

    The Military Police sent six military officers to court on November 22 to face prosecution for possession of 105 illegal rifles and arms smuggling, while investigators say they are still hunting down additional accomplices. Sao Sokha, deputy commander of the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces and commander of

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Hun Sen: Manet to be candidate for prime minister

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has reaffirmed that his oldest son Hun Manet will be his successor as Prime Minister if he is elected. Speaking during the inauguration of a new sewage treatment facility in Preah Sihanouk province on December 2, Hun Sen said Manet will be