HYDRO-FEST 2016

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Welcome to the wild world of HydroFlight. Nick and I entered this community around the time we married and it’s been quite a journey. Though small in size, it continues to grow by the month. You’ll often find them in form of “flight centers” who charge for a 30-minute ride to tourists or adrenaline junkies. The rest of them are full/part-time flyers living in remote areas around the world dedicating their time to becoming the best in a new sport. It’s amazing. They spend all day, errreday flying and perfecting the craft. Many are sponsored athletes who do demos and are featured in major theme park shows. They are pretty spectacular.

So maybe a watered-down version of our story might be helpful in explaining just how monumental this weekend was in the large scheme of things:

When I say *entered the industry, I don’t mean quietly, politely asking if we could join. Nick came in full-fledge moving and challenging the industry. It was painful and difficult from the get-go. We’re talking about an exclusive club of riders loyal to one brand and one owner only — a man in France who essentially started Flyboard (hydro-device on the feet). Nick came in with a newer, more advanced board (3 axis instead of 1-2). It wrought multiple responses. One, being ecstatic from the athletes and interest from dealers. Two, absolute outrage that someone could “taint” the name of the man who started it all. Followed by many legal invites to “leave the industry NOW!” Three, what the heck is this young kid doing? Does he know what’s going on? Multiple boards were starting to surface at this point, mostly just knock-off, cheap versions of the Flyboard; however, things were changing. Attitudes shifting.

Unlike most of the manufactures, Nick came to play nice and gave credit where it was due. After months and months of online communication and endless phone calls throughout the day and night with people eliciting opinions across the board (I swear I didn’t talk to Nick for three whole months at the beginning of this journey), we started seeing progress. Nick made the effort to reach out to Frankie (French guy), as well as all the other manufacturers to keep the lines of communication open, and to hopefully be able to work together to grow the sport. More than making money, Nick was interested in creating a community. And BOOM! A shift happened in the sport. Almost overnight. Attitudes have changed. Manufacturers are starting to play nice. An association is being created, with open channels for the business owners and dealers to communicate and talk about policies. He’s worked hard to create a competition that would include boards and riders from all different manufacturers….which brings us to this weekend. It’s hard to explain to someone just how big of a deal Nick has been to this industry. The effects are untraceable.

It’s been two years in the process to get to this point in the industry. I honestly wish I could adequately describe just how much work, time, energy, and tears went into this weekend. But I can’t. I’m just happy this weekend came and went, no serious issues or malfunctions. We were praying, hard.

What came out of this weekend was an absolute love-fest like I’ve never seen before. Riders, dealers, and sponsors who have never really communicated that well, all came together for the love of the sport and it was splendid. This is such a good, solid group of hard working, adrenaline-seeking people who are the salt of the earth. Side-stepping FB and other social platforms, it was nice to shake hands, hug, and meet the many individuals who make this sport possible. Social media allows us to get acquainted with people without actually knowing them personally. The days following the event were filled with posts tagging new-found friends and plans for future events. It was more about the relationships formed and less about the podium placers. It was a great start to a bright HydroFlight future.

After the three+ years of working in this industry, I was overwhelmed by the love and support this community has for Nick. Being away from the tropical climates (not many flyers in the seasonal mountains of Utah), I haven’t been able to meet many of the people in Nick’s world. I will say, I was very unprepared to be greeted with such love and support. Strangers from every direction approached me, thanking me for sticking it out with him. Telling me how Nick has changed their lives and transformed the industry. He is well-loved and I couldn’t be prouder.

Though he will forever claim to be in it for the fun and tinkering, he has found a world-wide family that has completely transformed our lives. Here’s to a brighter HydroFlight future.

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My cousin, Max, came along for the ride. At the end of the competition we had some daylight left to let him fly. He popped right up. It was fun to have a film buddy and friend to chat with during the lulls of the three-day competition. He’s a rockstar.

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And because Nick hasn’t had much promo footage, I figured as his wife who enjoys making videos, that should probably change. 🙂 So here’s a little intro of the DEFY riders and our overly-obsessed hobby.

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