They say that traveling changes your life, and I’d definitely have to agree, because even when I’m home in LA, I find myself on a constant search for adventures and new things to try. Recently, one of those things was jetpacking, because, well, who doesn’t want to fly?!
I scheduled a flight with Jetpack Americaon a sunny Wednesday afternoon, and headed down to Newport Beach to see what I was getting myself into. After a brief video tutorial, I suited up with a wetsuit, and headed off to the barge to get strapped into my jetpack. I’ve been a Ghostbuster for Halloween twice, but never felt more like one than when I was wearing my giant jetpack!
Totally looks like Ghostbuster gear.
After getting all geared up, the rad jetpacking staff had me do a swimming test, so instructed me to jump (plop) into the water then “bicycle kick” underwater to get myself upright. The other option is to roll onto your back and float, but you’ll want to start sitting up when they turn on the jets.
Swim test: Check
How it Works
Getting the hang of it looks a little awkward but I promise it’s fun!
When I first saw jetpacking videos, the first things I thought was that I was going to fly backwards, fly head first into the water, get caught on the hose, or crash into something. BUT, the way it works makes it pretty much impossible to do any of that. That’s because there’s a person on the jet ski that the jetpack hose is attached to, who controls the water power that shoots out from the pack.
That means if you go too high, too backwards, or turn too aggressively, they can just cut the water and you’ll plop down safely (and hilariously) into the water. I got plopped about four times…
You’ll also be wearing a helmet with a one way radio in it that the person controlling the water will talk to you through the whole time to guide you. This is how you’ll know if your steering is off, when to turn, or what tricks you can do when they adjust the water flow.
The instructor will tell you how to steer forward, turn, dunk underwater, etc.
They’ll show you how to use the two handles on the jetpack to go up and down, and also to steer. The trick is to remember to keep your arms/handles even (which apparently I was awful at), and to use your body to turn left or right, although you can use the handles to turn too.
The more important trick is to remember to not make any rash or aggressive movements with the handles. It only takes like a centimeter to turn or go up or down, but whenever I felt like I was losing control and about to get plopped, I would accidentally over-maneuver and end up looking like an awkward baby deer in the air.
This is the “walking on water” trick…kind of…
If you’re able to get the hang of the basics of jetpacking during your session, the Jetpack America team will instruct you how to do some cool tricks! As it turns out, I’m a natural pro jetpacker, so I got to attempt a few, and make up some of my own like the “Buzzlight Year” and the “Air Ballet”.
But the real tricks are a lot cooler looking if you get it on camera. First I did “Walk on Water” which is when they lower you to just above the surface then instruct you to steer forward as you walk on the surface. Next I did “Stairway to Heaven” which is the same thing except you’re accelerating upwards so it looks like you’re climbing invisible stairs!
I also got to do the “Submarine” which was AWESOME because they let me dive under water (on purpose) as the jetpack shot me forward, then resurface and shoot straight into the air!
This is the “submarine”, get it? I’m under water!
I look really awkward the majority of the time, so don’t laugh!!! Just kidding, you can laugh, I’m laughing right now just thinking about it!
It was definitely a fun day and experience, and of course has me wanting to go back and perfect my jetpacking skills! I ended my day with a nice big glass of Chardonnay and some Asian shrimp from a restaurant next door on the water – the perfect end to a perfect day!
Alyssa is a self-made, full time travel blogger who loves adventure and typically travels the world solo. She's been to 53 countries and 6 continents so far, and believes she has mastered the art of chasing waterfalls, traveling solo, wine drinking, and making budget-traveling look good. Curious to know how she started this career? Check out the About section above!