Water jetpacks – which come in many different versions and are often referred to as ‘flyboards’ – is a new water sport craze that hit Bali following their creation by French waterman and inventor, Franky Zapata, in 2012. Much of the jet propulsion mechanism is akin to what you would find in a jet ski, but the jet nozzles are instead strapped to a pair of special boots, allowing riders to manoeuvre in an upright standing position, as if levitating. You can ride or ‘fly’ 10 to 15m high above the water’s surface with the help of these jetpacks, and skilled riders can perform insane manoeuvres that include diving and breaching. Most operators of flyboards and water jetpacks in Bali are found along Bali’s so-called ‘water sports playground’ of Tanjung Benoa, and they are an additional feature to regular marine activities available there.
Water Jetpack Types and How They Work There are three types of craft currently on offer by operators in Tanjung Benoa. The common boots-type flyboard is tethered to an 1800cc Yamaha Jet Ski engine, which then pumps in propulsion to the pair of nozzles under the boots through a high-grade flexible tube. After putting on a helmet, life vest and strapping the boots on, the fun starts as you steadily levitate higher. First attempts can be challenging as good balance is key! Other versions include the straddled ‘jet bike’, which adds controllability through a set of handlebars and a seat. The strap-on backpack type, also with handlebars, is the style most commonly known as a jetpack. Rides usually go on for a duration of 15 minutes around the coastline. You must be at least 120cm tall and have a maximum weight of 125kg. Adding a bit of a techy edge to it, some operators have waterproof radios inside your helmet that let you listen to tips and guidance from the instructor on shore.
Benoa Flyboard From its headquarters at the Whacko Beach Club in Tanjung Benoa, Benoa Flyboard offers a range of water sports activities, with emphasis on flyboarding. After a short brief on the safety and control aspects and donning the jet boots, you’re brought to the waves where you’ll steadily surf the sky or even dive when you’ve built confidence and got a good dose of the thrills. For safety reasons, you’ll need to check the weather conditions as they may need to reschedule your ride for a better time.
Bali Wake Park broke grounds with a splashing wakeboarding festival in mid April 2015, as Bali’s one and only water sports arena of its kind. The park is hard to miss, located near the entry into the Bali Mandara toll road and Benoa Marina in Pesanggaran, and features five hectares of artificial lakes and verges sculpted and landscaped out of a marshy plot. The guys at Maxout Hydrosports, a Singapore-based water sports company, went on a mission of hyping up wakeboarding on the island and eventually brought the arena to life. Now Bali residents and adrenaline junkies can enjoy the excitement of wakeboarding that these guys first started in Raffles Marina, Singapore.
Bali Wake Park is a whole lot more convenient compared to the conventional boat-pulled action. Well-thought out and carefully designed, the park even features manned golf buggies around the lagoon perimeter, readily picking up fallen riders, and piggy-backing them back to the starting point for another go. The cable system also enables you to not only wakeboard – you can try out all the other ‘towed’ water sports known to man, such as wake surfing, water-skiing and knee-boarding. Budding riders aged 6 to 14 can join the exciting kids club program.
Ayung River rafting in Bali offers an exciting day out at the location where the island’s white water rafting adventure scene was first introduced. As Bali’s longest and largest river, Ayung River and its rafting offer a thrilling pastime that also offers sightseeing opportunities of Central Bali’s upland, where you get to cool off under a waterfall, wade through or jump into crystal-clear freshwater pools, and catch the occasional sight of exotic birds and wildlife. The Ayung River rafting valley location lies northwest of the Ubud main hub, and the river runs down an approximate 75km, where different white water rafting operators take their various starting and finish points. Some take off at the Petang village, roughly an hour’s drive from Denpasar and others further up north in Campuhan, passing by unique bat caves in the valley. Overall, the white water rafting adventure lets you enjoy Bali’s real natural beauty while sharing the fun and thrills with friends.
Kitesurfing in Bali might not be as popular as regular surfing, but it certainly brings your wave riding thrills to the next level. Categorised as an extreme water sport, it combines surfing as we know it with some elements of wakeboarding (using a similar shaped board) and bits of kite-flying to the overall drill. With some practice, Kitesurfing – also referred to as ‘kiteboarding’ – lets you speed over waves instead of paddling out and waiting for the perfect swell. Moreover, whenever waves are rather blown out and unfit for surfing, you’d might as well get your kite and gear for a great day out nonetheless. Kitesurfing provides the answer to those sloppy to windy days out on the beach. Bali has a good handful of spots for kitesurfing, as well as notable surf schools that offer courses for bored surfers or those simply interested in picking up this fun sport. Read on to find out all you need to know about kitesurfing in Bali.
Best Kitesurfing Spots in Bali The best coasts for kitesurfing in Bali includes some of the regular surfing beaches. This takes into account the waves between Sanur’s southeast facing Mertasari Beach and all the way down to Tanjung Benoa and Nusa Dua. On the island’s west are the beaches of Seminyak and Canggu.
Best Kite Surfing on Bali East coast Sanur (Mertasari Beach) Provides almost constant flows of onshore winds and flat water near the shoreline. Best for beginners.
Tanjung Benoa and Nusa Dua Considered Bali’s primary marine water sports playground, with waves and winds similar to Mertasari. However, can get crowded due to the variety of recreational activities here.
Bali Seawalker is an underwater activity that offers everyone an opportunity to enjoy an underwater experience with the minimum of equipment. The ‘walks’ utilize a specially-designed helmet that is connected to oxygen tanks aboard a boat, providing participants with a constant flow of air to breathe underwater. Participants with prescription lenses need not take their glasses off to enjoy the activity due to the convenient helmets, and will remain dry from the chin up throughout the tour. Depths are approximately seven metres, where you will soon be able to observe colourful schools of fish, coral reefs and marine life. Bali Seawalker operates at two main sites; off Sanur and Tanjung Benoa.
Highlights and Features of Bali Seawalker The underwater tours take approximately 30 minutes, and the standard package usually includes hotel transfers for a minimum of two persons, refreshments and soft drinks, Seawalker gear, Japanese standard safety equipment, certified and experienced guides and insurance coverage. The Seawalker tours can be enjoyed by all ages from 10 years up. No diving experience or swimming skills are necessary. The tour is an eye-opener for those with no prior underwater experience, and it also provides participants the opportunity to interact with marine life. It is an extraordinary approach that makes it easy to discover the underwater realm without having to deal with bulky diving gear. Guides provide full instructions before setting out to sea and taking the plunge. Upon arriving at the sea walking spot, participants lower themselves down a side ladder and guides help put on the special shoulder padding and helmets. Soon after reaching the bottom, beautiful reef formations and varieties of tropical fish become visible. On certain occasions, large swarms of fish gather and even obstruct views due to their large numbers.
Bali Scuba Diving – submerge yourself in a thriving and vibrant underwater world. Explore excellent dive sites and a collection of underwater gardens. For many years, Bali has been extremely popular with divers. This is due to the warm waters around the island. They’re abundant with extensive coral reefs and magnificent marine life. It’s common to see sharks, turtles, manta rays and a kaleidoscopic range of tropical fish. Spectacular dives include drop-off walls, shipwreck diving and drift diving. Dive centres in Bali operate from all the main resort areas. They offer both fun dives and PADI-certified Open Water diving courses and adventures. During the rainy season, diving may not be at its best as storms reduce visibility. But there are certain dive spots where you can expect calm waters and clear visibility at almost any time of year. These include Menjangan Island and Pemuteran on the North Bali coast.
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