Flyboard vs. Hoverboard: The Difference and Why It Matters

Welcome to the future! Where you can now fly over water thanks to hydroflighting devices such as the flyboard and hoverboard. You have seen videos of people floating above the water and riding around doing flips. Now you want to know what exactly distinguishes the flyboard and the hoverboard. 

So what is the difference between the flyboard and the hoverboard? The flyboard allows a more vertical movement, while the hoverboard allows the rider a more horizontal movement. The reason why this matters is due to the riders experience level. It will also depend on what type of ride the rider will like while hydroflighting.  

Of course, there are more than a handful of differences between the flyboard and the hoverboard that will be discussed.  

What Is a Flyboard And A Hoverboard?

Flyboards and hoverboards are water devices used in hydroflighting sports. Think of the flyboard as a wakeboard that can lift you up in the air and a hoverboard as a skateboard without wheels you can use to ride the water. 

What Is Hydroflighting? 

Hydroflighting consists of water jet power used to sustain a flight where lift and movement are controlled by the user riding on a propulsion water device. 

This category of water sports is fairly new. This type of sport has only been around since 2012.  

Types of Devices Used In Hydroflighting

Flyboards and hoverboards are considered jetboards you can use in hydroflighting. Hydroflighting devices vary based on the experience of the rider and what the rider would like while hydroflighting.   

There are three main types of devices used for hydroflighting:

  • Jetboards
  • Jetpacks
  • Jetbikes

What Is the Difference Between A Flyboard and A Hoverboard?

The difference between flyboards and hoverboards are:

  • Design variations
  • Different user experience
  • Variation in techniques
  • Speed
  • Altitude while using the device 
  • Length of hose 

The following chart will give specific differences between flyboards and hoverboards. 

 FLYBOARDSHOVERBOARDS
Movement Of DeviceDevice moves vertically. The rider soars above the water and can do different types of tricks. Device moves horizontally. The user will be able to soar across the water. The hoverboard allows the user to ride fast in a straight line.   
Stance Rider can face to the front, or side. This is more personal preference and level of experience of the rider.Rider needs to be standing on the side as if they were on a skateboard.
Controlling The DeviceOne person will need to control the flyboard to regulate the power and the height of the rider.There is an accessory known as the Electronic Management Kit (EMK) to allow the user to control the flyboard device.    The rider will need to use their own weight to control the movement of the board.
Equipment NeededFlotation device Helmet Hose   Boots attached to the board     Helmet HoseBoots attached to the board  
Jet Power The jet nozzles will build up with water pressure which will then go into the hose.The user can rise above the water up to a height of 70 feet.Only one jet. Water pressure shoots straight down into the water to propel rider forward into the waterPropels water from the back end of the board. Allows the user to elevate about 20 feet in the air.    

These are the key point differences between flyboards and hoverboards. Keep in mind there are different techniques while using each type of water device. 

Techniques on How To Use The Flyboard 

Flyboarding is a lot more beginner friendly into hydroflighting than hoverboarding. I have to admit I’m not good at flyboarding. I spent many years waterskiing and wakeboarding, and I cannot deprogram myself to keep my legs straight.

I have a strong tendency to bend them slightly due to this, which pitches me forward. My kids, on the other hand, were up and flying within 10 minutes.

Here are some techniques to keep in mind for when you try flyboarding.

  • Straighten Legs: You want to make sure you keep your legs fully straight underneath you when you first get on the flyboard. While you are underwater, tilt your feet forward to propel yourself.
  • Feet Movement: Make sure to move your feet a bit when the instructor begins to add more throttle in order to levitate you above the water. Remember to keep your legs and back straight to help you keep balance.  
  • Falling: If you fall make sure to dive into the water with your hands above your head. 

Make sure to check out California Flyboard’s videos if you would like more technique tips. The videos demonstrate people flyboarding during lessons and instructors giving specific tips.  

Quick Guide on Flyboarding 

Here is a step-by-step guide to help those who are interested in flyboarding. As with any type of sport you plan to participate in, make sure to take precautions and wear all equipment needed to be safe.

Moving Around

Keep in mind that the flyboard is the length of a skateboard, so you may need to practice with your balance. 

An important key point to keep in mind while flyboarding is you need to shift and move with the board. Do not stand stationary because this will not help keep balance. 

Position of Your Knees  

The position of your knees is one of the most important things to keep in mind while flyboarding. The way you move your knees and feet will help you to turn and move when you are flyboarding. 

The way you position and bend your knees is how you will control movement while flyboarding. 

  • To Turn Right: Bend your left knee
  • To Turn Left: Bend your right knee

Position of Your Toes and Feet:

The position of your toes helps with how you move while flyboarding. Pointing your toes up and down help to move backward or forward.

  • Leaning forward or backward with your feet: This will control the direction you move as well as the height.  
  • Pointing toes down: This will cause the rider to move forward but with less altitude. 
  • Pointing toes up: This will allow the rider to move backward and raise the altitude. 
  • Feet Flat: Keeping your feet flat on the board will help you make a stop while you are up in the air.  

Hand and Arm Signals to Know While Flyboarding

Here are some important hand motion terms you will need to know when you flyboard. Depending on your instructor and where you are taking lessons, these hand and arm motions may vary. 

  • Thumbs up: More altitude
  • Pumping your arms: Continue to pump your arms until reaching the height you would like to be at or if you would like less altitude.This will let your instructor know how much to throttle. 
  • Thumbs down: This will indicate to your instructor you want less altitude. You will then pump your arms to indicate when to stop.
  • Arms out with your palms down and flap your hands down: This will let your instructor know you would like to rest in water or take a break. 
  • Tap the top of your head: This will let your instructor know you are done flyboarding and ready to remove the device. 

Tricks to Try While Flyboarding 

After a few tries of flyboarding, you feel like you finally have the hang of things and want to try some new things on the device. Here is a quick list of some tricks you may want to give a shot once you feel like you have conquered flyboarding. Just remember to be safe, pay attention to any hazards, and most importantly, have fun!

Dolphin Dive

This is one of the most recognized and standard flyboarding tricks. This is the go-to move for beginners. All the rider needs to do is keep their legs straight and dive to a 45-degree angle.

To add some variation to this move, or feel like you have mastered the dolphin dive, add a quick spin while you are in the air. My then 22 yr old son was doing this very well in his second session ever flyboarding. This is not him in this video. I’ll try to get his video here soon.

Back Flip

The key to land this trick is you need a lot of air! The higher in altitude you are, the more space you have to land this move. All you need to do is while you are up in the air, lean back, and swing your legs up. 

If you like you want more of a challenge, try to to land a double back flip. The key to land this move is height and speed.

The Superman

For this trick all you need to do is launch yourself up and out while in the air. You will need to push your board behind you so you are horizontal to the water. 

Techniques on How to Use The Hoverboard

The hoverboard does take a user a bit more to get the hang of and does require the user to be more experienced in water sports. 

Here are some tips on how to master hoverboarding:

  • Place back foot over the jet
  • Grab the nose of the hoverboard and push it down to move forward
  • To elevate, place your weight on your right foot and raise your left foot up
  • To decrease elevation, place most of your weight on your left foot
  • To move back and forth you will need to set the fin, located on the back jet, to the high setting. This will help you gain more balance. 
  • Set the fin setting to low if you would like to practice with altitude 

Terms to Know When Hoverboarding 

Here are some useful terms you will need to know when using the hoverboard. 

  • Toe Side Edge: The side your toes are on the board
  • Heel Side Edge: The side your heels are on the board
  • Nose: The front of the hoverboard
  • Front Foot: Where your foot is located to the closest part of your front board 
  • Back Foot: Where your foot is located and the end of your board 
  • Leading Hand: Hand closest to the nose of the board 
  • Trailing Hand: The hand furthest from the nose of the board. This is also the hand you will be using to control the EMK (Electronic Management Kit)

Quick Guide On Hoverboarding

Here is a step-by-step guide to help those who are interested in hoverboarding. As with any type of sport you plan to participate, make sure to take precautions and wear all equipment needed to be as safe as you can be. 

How to Get Up On The Hoverboard

There are two ways you can start up on the hoverboard. 

The first way is to slide your feet into the bindings of the board. You will then grab the nose of the board with your hand closest to the nose. You want to make sure your arms are extended straight and your back foot is straight. You will need to hold this position until you start hoverboarding. 

The second way to get up on the hoverboard is to place your back foot in the binding of the board with your legs fully straight. Make sure your leading hand is at the nose of the board and that your arms are fully extended.

Stance on The Hoverboard

Your stance while riding the hoverboard is very important. Your stance will determine how you can identify your own direction and movement while riding the hoverboard. 

If your left foot is your front foot, you are considered to be in the regular stance. If you have your right foot as your front foot, you are considered to be in the goofy stance. 

Carving  

Carving is considered a type of style of riding when you are hoverboarding. It is how you turn while on the hydroflighting device. 

A regular stance rider will need to place pressure on their toes to turn to the right. If the regular stance rider adds pressure to their heels, they will turn to the left. 

A goofy stance rider will need to apply pressure on their toes to turn left. If the goofy stance rider wants to turn right while riding on the hoverboard, they will need to put pressure on their heels. 

How to Create Lift 

Although hoverboards are used more to cruise straight in the water, the user is still able to lift up in air. To create lift, the rider will need to pull their lead foot up. 

Be aware to always be cautious of your surroundings and practice lifting in increments. Do not pull up too fast or too much because you will lose control and crash. 

How to Turn In High Banks

Here are some tips on high bank turns depending on your stance.

  • Regular Stance: You will need to start off by creating lift. Once you are in a comfortable height above the water, point your front foot knee towards the direction you would like to turn. 
  • Goofy Stance: You will do the same thing as you would in a regular stance. 

Tricks to Try While Hoverboarding

Here is a quick list of some tricks you may want to give a shot once you feel like you feel comfortable hoverboarding. Just remember to pay attention to any hazards while you are in the water, wear all your safety equipment and most importantly, have fun!

Hoverboard Back Flip

The key to land this trick is you will need a lot of speed while you make a circle in the water. From here, you will start to create some lift. Now, place your leading hand in between your front foot and the nose of your board with your arm extended. Make sure to look back to make sure there are no hazards. 

Hoverboard Front Flip

The set up for this trick is similar to the black flip. The difference is you will flip forward and place your head towards your front foot in front of your knee. Just remember to keep your lead arm extended and push your board back. 

Hoverboard 360 Spin

To start this trick you will need to know and be able to fully perform a back flip or front flip. You will need to create a lift. From here you will grab the nose of your board and pull it close to your hips. Then you will need to spin in an upward motion. 

What Is the Cost Of A Flyboard And Hoverboards?

Flyboards and hoverboards are available for individual purchase, but have a pricey tag on them. 

Flyboard starting kits start at around $4,000 on Amazon through Flywerks.  Remember to factor in the cost of a jet ski. Many people are using Flyboards to create rental businesses with their jet skis. Check out our About Us page for our experience and also read 11 ways to make money with your jet ski for some tips.

Hoverboard starting kits start at around $6,000. 

If you would rather save your money, you can always take flyboarding and hoverboarding lessons. Lesson pricing ranges depending on the location and duration. For a more accurate price list make sure to check your local area. 

Who Invented the Flyboard And the Hoverboard?

The creator of the flyboard and the hoverboard is Franky Zapata. Zapata is a french inventor and founder of Zapata Racing (ZR for short). He invented the flyboard during the 2012 fall. 

Zapata also created a flyboard that is jet-powered by five cylinders. He was able to use this invention to become the first person to cross the English Channel using a jet-powered flyboard. He attempted this twice in 2019. The first time, unsuccessful. The second attempt was a success and took Zapata about 20 minutes to achieve.  

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Tim Conner, M.D.

Tim Conner, M.D. started boating in 1974. He has been involved in recreational boating continuously since then. Dr. Conner has been active in boating and watersports safety education for decades. He rode his first jet ski in 1997, and rejoined the personal watercraft arena in 2012 with a Sea-Doo GTX 155, followed by 2 supercharged SeaDoos. Scuba certification came in 1988, and he and the family have traveled the world snorkeling and scuba diving for decades. The family has recently taken up paddle boarding. Click the photo for a lot more.

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