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Is Flowriding like Surfing?

20 Nov

I have spent the afternoon partaking in the latest leisure activity in the Newquay area, flowriding.

For those of you not familiar with the concept of flowriding,  water is pumped at high pressure over an angled trampoline like membrane which creates a stationary ‘wave’.  Then using a board not dissimilar to a large skateboard without wheels, you ride the thin sheet of water that shoots up the surface of the membrane.

Our instructor informed us that he had never tried any other board sports until he tried flowridng.  As he carved his way round the Flowrider, throwing spray over us as he turned, it was hard to believe.

My experience of board sports up until this point has been surfing, (and a few half-hearted attempts on an SUP or stand up paddle board), so I can only judge its likeness to surfing.

Apart from the fact that you are using a board to ride on water, this is where the similarity to surfing ends.  Unlike surfing, flowriding has a rapid learning curve which will see you on your feet on the first session, and moving around on the surface of the wave by the second.

This does not mean that it is easy.  The key to your ride being longer than one second is to master the subtle heel to toe transition, whilst standing on a moving surface.  However, a big part of the enjoyment of this afternoon’s session is seeing one’s friends being fired at speed to the top of the Flowrider when they lose their balance.  The wipeouts, which look more severe than they actually are, can be equally hilarious. The special membrane of the Flowrider absorbs the majority of the impact of the fall.

Like surfing, this is one of those activities that can be extremely rewarding when you feel like you are improving and equally, incredibly frustrating when you fall on your arse time and time again.  This does add to its compulsion, as you are constantly determined to do better on your next attempt.

After my second session of wobbling around, and learning to fall in a spectacular fashion, I am already looking forward to my next session.

So even if you have never tried surfing, or in fact any other kind of board sport, get yourself to your nearest Flowrider.

There are around 4 in the UK with many more in Europe and around the world.  For those based in the South West I have added a link to the Retallack Resort and Spa, the home of the Loop Flowrider.