Put your guts and balance to the test by jet blading at Sentosa’s Ola Beach Club. By Estelle Low
Jet blading is the latest watersport to be introduced in Sentosa. Photos: Zaphs Zhang
Sentosa – which is already very much The District of Fun – just got a lot more exciting.
Adding to its array of adrenalin-pumping activities is jet blading, which uses a water-powered device (jet blades) to propel you as high as 15m above water. The more experienced can plunge through the water up to 2.5m, like diving dolphins!
Introduced at the Hawaiian-themed Ola Beach Club when it opened in November 2016, jet blading – also known as flyboarding – is getting more popular among beach lovers and thrill-seekers. You don’t need to be a swimmer, but being water confident is a must.
How jet blading works
The jet blades weigh about 10kg.
You’ll first step into jet blades, which are boots secured to a board and water jets. A jet ski pumps water into the hose to push you forward and upwards.
Beginners usually hover at 1m to 2m above water at best. The idea is to transit from swimming to standing position in the water, and eventually rise. When you do, the excitement is unbeatable. The more stable you are, the higher you can go.
Estelle gets into swimming position.
Start off in swimming position, face down with head above the water. Arms and legs are extended and activated behind you. Your upper chest needs to be lifted, as though you’re in a locust yoga pose.
The jet blades are powered by a jet ski.
Your instructor will be on a jet ski to adjust the water pressure for your jet blades, and at the same time give instructions via a walkie talkie. You’ll hear that guidance via a helmet with built-in earphones.
Instructions are communicated via a walkie talkie and a helmet with built-in earphones.
During the lesson, you’ll be up to 20m away from the jet ski, so it’s best to ask any questions you have before starting. You may use hand signals to communicate while on the jet blades.
Watch our first-time experience here.
Jet blading techniques
Falling is a big part of the learning process!
Like acrobatics, jet blading is a major test of balance as you’re thrust into the air with only water for support. I was super wobbly initially (which is to be expected) and spent the bulk of my 45-minute lesson trying to get into an upright position. That involved lots of falling into the water. The good thing was, my balance improved markedly after each fall.
Because I’m so used to doing squats, I instinctively bent my knees and sat back whenever I felt unsteady, causing me to fall backwards. Actually, it’s a better idea to fall forward. Falling backwards – and landing face up – means I’d have to flip my body (and the 10kg jet blades) to get into the starting position, which became quite tiring after the nth time.
It’s a better idea to fall forward than backwards, since you have to be in a swimming position to start.
After I managed to stand with the water at waist level, the next goal was to stay balanced and let the water pressure drive me into the air. That was when my instructor, Grace, reminded me to relax my upper body and straighten my legs. Doing so helped to align my centre of gravity.
As I rose, Grace instructed me to lift my toes (imagine standing on the ground without your toes touching), which helped me shoot even higher. I later found out that my feet were pointing downwards in the jet blades, something I did not have the luxury to see in the middle of the sea.
Most beginners will be able to balance above water after one lesson.
I guess jet blading is similar to balancing on stilts, where the tiniest shift in weight matters. As you advance, you can learn various impressive stunts such as swivels and backflips!
Jet blading body benefits
Other than the balancing acts, my first jet blading lesson felt pretty effortless. Or so I thought. The next day, my lower back, glutes, thighs and ankles ached.
What to wear for jet blading
A long-sleeved rashguard and long pants are recommended, to avoid abrasions and jellyfish stings.
Since falling into the water repeatedly is the norm, a one-piece swimsuit or rashguard (preferably long-sleeved) with board shorts and swimwear underneath is a good idea. A rashguard will prevent abrasions and protect you from stinging sea creatures like jellyfish.
Jet blading rates
First-timers can choose between a 30-minute lesson ($228) and 45-minute session ($298). Before hitting the water, you’ll be fitted with a helmet and life jacket, and briefed on the proper techniques to adopt. Return customers are charged $80 per 15 minutes.
Ola Beach Club is located at 46 Siloso Beach Walk, Sentosa.
The watersports centre at Ola Beach Club opens from 10am to 7pm daily. The last order for jet blading is at 5pm. Visit olabeachclub.com for more information.