Meet Surfing's Little Bro - Flowboarding
Part of what we love about Extreme Sports is the way that they bring new innovations to classic sports. Think for instance of extreme pogo sticking, BASE jumping, and even BMX, which is really just an extreme way to ride a bike.
Flowboarding is exactly that, but a whole lot more, too. Flowboarding is a combination of surfing, skateboarding, windsurfing, skimboarding, snowboarding, and several others. You’re probably wondering how in the world one sport can have so many different influences, but it’s certainly possible!
In Flowboarding, or Flowriding as it is sometimes called, a rider hops onto an artificial wave called a ‘sheet wave’ that is created by an enormous pump at the base. The structure used for this sport is basically a half of a halfpipe with a ton of water shooting out of the bottom. Riders climb to the top, board in hand, and jump onto the wave whenever ready. This wave is called a sheet wave and it is a three inch thick stream of water that is shooting toward the rider at around 30 miles per hour. Because of the design of the wave, riders can accomplish insane tricks and technical feats in a very small space.
Flowboarding first came into existence in the 80s. This was an era of immense innovation in the world of extreme sports. Everyone was trying to find new ways to take on exhilarating sports. What could be more exciting than combining all of the action of surfing with the prowess of snowboarding, as well as the skills of both bodyboarding and skimboarding? Naturally, it would take a true expert of these sports to be able to tackle this new crossover. Since that time people the world over have wholeheartedly taken on that challenge and Flowboarding has skyrocketed in popularity.
There are currently two main Flowboarding competitions held in the world. One is the North American Flow Tour Prime Events and the other is the Flow Series Events.
The North American Flow Tour is a very unique event in that it allows riders to compete all across the country while earning Tour Points throughout. The Tour stops in nearly a dozen destinations where riders meet back up each time to continue the competition where it left off. The tour touches all four corners of the country, from scenic beaches in California, to the mountains in Idaho, and from the boardwalk in Jersey Shore to the sunshine state of Florida. This is the longest Flowboarding tour and one that gathers national interest each year.
The age range of a Flowboarder is from 13 to 29. What this means is that it has some of the world’s youngest extreme sport talent. Why, you might wonder, does the average age of a flowboarder skew so young?
For one thing, a Flowboard is an easy to enjoy activity. Even if you decide to bodyboard you can still enjoy the sheet wave to the fullest. As such, no matter your skill level you can still hop aboard and begin enjoying Flowboarding.
For another thing, this sport is still incredibly young. Even if someone was one of the founding members of the sport itself, they still could be in their twenties. This means that Flowboarding is full of young, adventurous, innovative athletes ready to take the world by storm with this new extreme sport.
So, this sounds like an exciting proposition and you want to hit the waves? Great! Luckily this sport requires very little previous knowledge, skill, or equipment to get started. Even if you’re not a surfer or snowboarder, the water is only three inches thick and the falls don’t hurt very bad. This is a very safe space to mess up, take risks, and fall hard. The only piece of equipment you really need to hit the waves is a flowboard itself. These are small, curved boards resembling a cross between a skimboard and a wakeboard. There are only three manufacturers for these boards, so most have a lot in common with one another.
So, what’s the next step to enjoying this sport this summer? Find a place where a sheet wave is set up for Flowboarders, throw on some sunscreen,and get out there!