Fun-loving, activity fans will love this new addition to our coast.
Seeing someone on a flyboard for the first time is quite a spectacular and mesmerising sight to behold. Out of nowhere, a big stream of water propels someone, usually vertically, from the sea, where they float mid-air and perform stunts. The seed is planted, and you’ll probably begin to wonder what it would feel like to shoot through the water, jump into the sky and dive through the waves.
Local businessman and radical sports lover Beat Gobet fell in love with flyboarding the first time he tried it in 2015. There was a real shortage of places to flyboard in the Algarve at the time, so he bought his own equipment in 2016 and spent every available moment diving through the waves and perfecting his technique. The Swiss-born Carvoeiro restaurateur is never too far from the sea — whether he is in his restaurant Dom Carvoeiro that looks directly over Carvoeiro Bay or at his custom-made Flyboard Park in-between Praia Grande and Portimão Marina.
His love for the sport has seen him travel internationally and he even took part in the Flyboard World Championship in 2017, in France. As a novice, he loved the experience and was determined to return and make his mark the following year. At the 2018 championship, he made the qualifying and took 12th place overall, which was quite a feat. Being the only person from Portugal in the tournament, he was delighted with his result.
Participants can either meet one of the team at their sales cabin on the Portimão Marina or even get picked up from the beach at Praia Grande if you prefer. Beat will welcome you on-board and go through a brief safety and technique chat before hooking you up to the equipment. With the flyboard securely attached to your ankles, you slide from the boat into the sea and head for the Flyboard Park, a restricted designated area reserved just for them.
With gently controlled bursts of power coming from the attached Jet Ski, one of the trained crewmembers will begin to send the stream of water through the connecting pipe into the platform attached to your boots. Once they are happy that you can stay upright, they will then start to pump up the power. Although experienced users can jump up to 15 meters out of the water, this won’t happen on your first visit as the crew need to be assured that users safety is well taken care of.
The sensation of floating above the sea and jumping through the waves is really something that you need to experience for yourself. Once people have grasped the basics, you can often see them skimming along the surface and swimming like a dolphin, it’s a magical feeling. It’s not so difficult to do, but people with a strong core generally take to it faster than others. Adrenaline junkies, skiers, surfers and overall sporty people are usually up and in the air within a minute, performing stunts and dives that look impossible to spectators.
With prices ranging from €60 to around €200, depending on time, group size and frequency, many people get hooked and visit on multiple occasions during their holiday, so discounted rates can be applied for situations such as this. Groups of three, for example, would pay €150 for a full hour and take a couple of spectators along for the boat ride. Or for the more diehard amongst us, there’s a full day including transportation, food, drinks, flyboarding, jet-skiing, and aquatic fun at the Montargil Dam, in the Alentejo, where you have full access to all the toys.
Flyboard Algarve operates all year round but is generally at the dam between November and March due to the winds.