By Jessi Loerch Herald Writer
It looks like a special effect, as if Iron Man decided to visit Lake Stevens.
Using just a small board and high-pressure streams of water, a man floats 30 feet above the lake. He circles, dips and dives, backflips and spins.
It’s called flyboarding, and the people on the board are called fliers. They are also tough, because even with wetsuits, the lake is cold in late October.
Flyboard Funatix is a business started this summer by Don Crow and Mike Mohney. On a visit to Cabo San Lucas this spring, Crow and Mohney saw people flyboarding.
“I caught what I call flyboard fever,” said Crow, a Mukilteo dentist.
Crow and Mohney are started the business. They are working to get the proper licenses to take customers out on Lake Stevens. They hope that’ll be done by spring. They’ve already been taking customers out on Lake Washington and Moses Lake.
Mohney and his wife, Sharon, of Lake Stevens. own and run the business with the help of employees Bryan Finne and Nolan Cummins, who do much of the actual work taking fliers out.
They’re already going out on Lake Stevens just for their own fun. The antics often draw a crowd. It’s impossible to resist gawking at a person floating like a superhero.
It looks difficult, but all of them insist it’s actually not. “If you can stand, you can fly,” Crow said.
“Within the first 10 minutes, they’re up and going,” Sharon Mohney said. “We’ve never had anyone who couldn’t do it.”
The fliers say it has similarities to skiing, snowboarding or skateboarding. Mike Mohney said that he had some sore muscles after the first few times. The shins can get sore, because fliers point or flex their toes so much to help control their flight.
The flyboard is powered by a personal watercraft. A 55-foot hose connects pumps the outflow from the watercraft from the craft to the flyboard. The water shoots from jets, one on each side of the board, providing propulsion.
Cummins, of Lake Stevens, said it only took him about a weekend to master backflips, which are extremely impressive 30-feet in the air with a trail of water looping behind him.
Finne, of Arlington, and Mike Mohney attended a certification program in Salt Lake City, where they learned more about flyboarding and how to teach it to other people.
Flyboard Funatix is also a distributor of Flyboards, and the certification was part of the process of becoming a distributor.
Finne, who has only been flying about six months, has gotten so good in that time that he qualified to compete in the sport’s World Cup in Doha, Qatar, on Nov. 7 to 9.
Finne says flyboarding is “Amazing. I can’t even describe it. I’ve always wanted to fly.”
Learn more about Flyboard Funatix atflyboardfx.com. If you’d like to try it out yourself, contact the company through its website. You’ll need to be older than 18 and weigh between 100 and 300 pounds. A 40 minute session, with about 10 minutes of instruction, is $110.