Special Events

Extreme Sports in Houston

Hovering about 18 feet over Galveston Bay, the aspiring pro athlete holds himself steady as a stream of water propels him into the air. His feet, encased in what appears to be a water-powered rocket, maneuver in line with his body expertly as he flips backwards and then dolphin-dives into the water.

He's certainly a sight to see, this water-powered daredevil, and he's being hurled into the air by a little thing known as a Flyboard, a water-powered gadget fueled by a whopping 1,000 gallons of water per minute at more than 60 psi, with almost 400 pounds of lift.

The result of that water jet pack? Pure and unadulterated adrenaline, folks.

But while this Flyboard expert's tricks will take some time to master, you can still get your adrenaline fix even if you've never set foot on a jet, waterpowered or otherwise.

Yes, that means what you think it does. First-timers are welcome to try their hand at the Flyboard. So if you've ever had a hankering to take a rocket-fueled flight, the Flyboard is an option. An awesome — and wet — option.

But while the Flyboard is novice-friendly, you'll hardly be ready to pull off those dolphin moves your first time flying.

"It takes awhile to get that high," laughs Rodney Nelson, owner of Extreme Watersports Galveston, the only place in the Houston area where one can "take flight" quite like this.

"Our goal for first-time flyers is to get them out of the water safely — which is usually about five to eight feet up," he says.

But that doesn't mean you're limited to those mini-flights forever. Like the semi-pro flyer hovering in front of us, with a bit of time and a bit of athletic prowess, the Flyboard can be mastered, at least well enough for some serious dolphin dives.

"Like any sport, the more time you put in and the more used to the flight you get, the easier it is," says Nelson. And he should know — he's been a Flyboard fanatic since the handy adrenaline gadget emerged a couple of years ago.

"I knew this board would make its way to Houston either way," he says. "So I made it my goal to be the one to bring it back to Houston."

And bring it he did. He's become the go-to for Flyboard flights, but Extreme Watersports is hardly offering the Flyboard as your only take-flight option. Take the board's little brother — the Hoverboard, Flyboard's most recent offshoot — as an example.

Powered by the same mechanisms as the Flyboard, the Hoverboard is best described as an amped-up mashup of a surfboard and a snowboard but on water, and propels the rider to a speed above the surface of the water of up to 23 mph as he or she cuts, jumps, flies, soars, spins and flips while propelled by the force of water.

Pretty rad, eh? And while Extreme Watersports is one of the forces making this summer perfect for you adrenaline junkies, it's hardly the only one selling the flying dream.

Gather around, kids, as we tell you the tale of iFLY, Houston's indoor skydiving haven. Ever wanted to jump from a plane with no parachute? Well, you're nuts, but you can now that iFLY is around to make it happen.

The folks at iFLY have figured out how to re-create true free-fall conditions, so when you "jump," it feels just like skydiving, sans airplane. A vertical wind tunnel powered by four massive fans generates 1,600 horsepower, safely floating the flyer in midair. You're higher than high, all while safely hovering a few feet above the earth.

Oh, and unlike with the Flyboard, which is safe only for flyers 14 years of age and older, anyone can fly at iFLY. That's right — while it's sure to get the old blood pumping, it's still safe for the mini-flyers in your life, should they also have inherited your daredevil traits.

Or perhaps flying isn't quite your adrenaline-boosting thing. Well, Houston is still filled with numerous options for getting that ticker racing a mile a minute. Like the option to be shot at by people in an abandoned city or the junkyard.

With paintballs, of course. Little, colorful, bruise-inducing paintballs.

That's precisely what 5J Extreme Sports lives for — getting you, and your thrill-seeking soul, shot at. It's a smart man's paintball maze — or mazes, more accurately — with fields aplenty, each offering a different experience and different challenges for the paintball fanatic.

Ever dodged neon paint bullets behind massive wooden spools? Nah, probably not. But now you can, or you can work out tactical maneuvers behind "fuel barrels" or collaborate with your sniper teammates behind the crumbling walls of an abandoned city. Just do so quickly, or you'll risk facing war injuries from opposing teams.

So, adrenaline fanatics, what will it be? With so much daredevil entertainment available at your fingertips, this is bound to be the most extreme summer ever.

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Angelica Leicht
Contact: Angelica Leicht