Rocket Man

Hydroflying comes to Logan Martin

Story by Carol Pappas
Photos by Susan Wall

Jeremy Deason soars a good 40 feet in the air above Logan Martin Lake, and passersby can’t help but take notice. After all, his hydroflight is something to behold.

He is perfecting his hobby of hydroflying on a FlyBoard, which involves a personal watercraft he controls remotely with an 80-foot hose attached to it, propelling pressurized water through it to a pair of boots equipped with jet nozzles.

The nozzle provides the thrust. And Jeremy’s strong pair of ankles does the rest. “Holding yourself up is all in the ankles,” he explained. “It’s all within a couple of inches,” he said.  “You can either do it or you can’t. It’s not a middle kind of thing.”

Jeremy can definitely do it. He moves through the water at first, with only head and shoulders showing as the jetted water propels him. “It pushes you through the water like a boat in front of the SeaDoo.” Then, it’s up, up and away, with the pressurized water streaking beneath him like an aircraft or rocket’s contrail.

Constantly in motion, he goes straight up, darts to the left and circles to the right while the unmanned personal watercraft weaves in the water below him.

The pressure is enough to propel him 40 feet in the air. It’s also enough to provide the “dolphin dive,” where Deason dives headlong through the water as much as eight feet, emerging seconds later with head up and then submerging once again. The series of moves looks exactly like the movement of … well, a dolphin.

“If there’s anything out there, he’s going to try it,” said his grandmother, Margaret Weatherby of Leeds.

It used to be motocross. But as his buddies and he grew older, got married and “life got in the way,” he traded his dozen or so motorcycles in and “searched for something to do on my own.”

As she watched Jeremy perform his moves, his Mrs. Weatherby remarked, “He’s always been adventurous. That’s my boy,” she said, a hint of pride unmistakable in her voice.

And 30-year-old Jeremy, who owns and rents property as a career, doesn’t disappoint. He soars, he dives, he does a back flip. He even heads straight up like a rocket, thrusting both fists in the air as if he is on top of the world. From his vantage point, he probably is.

“When you’re up there, and you watch the sunset, that’s cool,” he said. It’s quite an experience to watch the fish from high above, too. Hydroflying “draws all the fish up, and you can see a bunch of fish on top of the water.”

But sunsets and fish aren’t the only things being watched. The sight of him jetting upward naturally draws onlookers from boats passing by. They tend to get a little too close, he warns, noting that the personal watercraft is unmanned, so there is no control except for his own going up and down and his speed. He doesn’t mind the attention, but for safety’s sake, he urges boaters to keep their distance.

Jeremy has no plans to try the sport competitively. It’s world cup caliber in Dubai and a huge sensation overseas.

But here at home, he is content to use it simply as a stress reliever. “I work a lot,” he explained. “I have to have something to play, relax and have a good time. This is my something.”

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