Words by Lisa Collins-Haynes

Maybe it was a temporary case of insanity that possessed me to think Flyboarding in Emerald Beach during a recent cruise on the Norwegian Pearl to St. Thomas USVI would be a good idea. When I read the description, it didn’t sound like something I’d be capable of doing, but when I saw the promo video—I was determined to at least try it—even if I got some broken bones while doing it.

I know that sounds crazy, but for the last 30 plus years of my life I’ve been playing it safe. So safe that I came to a realization that I wasn’t living up to my potential. I decided it was time to start pushing the envelope in all sorts of directions. My first challenge was to face my deepest fear! Overcome that–and a whole new world would be introduced to me.

Marianne Williamson wrote, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…” I took a really hard look at the meaning of this quote and was inspired to overcome my life long fear of water, by learning how to swim. Taking this huge leap of faith and force change in life gave me the power to go beyond what I ever thought was possible. Which lead to me Flyboarding in St. Thomas.


When I debarked the ship, I took a short taxi ride to the peaceful and tranquil Emerald Beach and met with Rigo Vargas, a former businessman from California who recently relocated to St. Thomas to operate his new venture. Admittedly I was a bit nervous, but determination pushed me through. Rigo gave me a thorough safety briefing and walked me through what to expect. He answered all my questions, and trust me—I had a lot. After I was comfortable enough to begin, Rigo assisted me in gearing up.

The gear consisted of my helmet, lifejacket, and the flyboard, which has high-powered jets underneath. Getting into the flyboard was a bit tricky, but only took a few minutes. It’s similar to putting on snow boots with bindings for a snowboard is the best way to describe it. So as I’m in the water with all the safety gear, Rigo jumps on the nearby jet ski and powers it up. The flyboard has a long hose that’s attached to the jet ski as its power source. My instructions were to lead us out into open water, and essentially tow the jet ski behind me. With a little air forced into the hose, I have enough pressure in the flyboard jets to guide us out. This was probably my favorite part of all, as I got to lay flat on my stomach with my arms stretched out like Superman and the jets on the flyboard propelled me through the water.

Once we were in about 40 feet of open water, the real fun began. I admit it takes some getting used to, to be in water with your feet bound. But the odd sensation wears of quickly enough. The actual premise of Flyboarding is kinda hard to put into words, so here’s a video of me doing it, so you’ll get the point:

(Password: lisahaynes)

Rigo gives spot on directions while you’re in the water that help you to maneuver and successfully take flight out of the water. Now I’m a little hard-headed, so it took me a little while longer to figure it out…but generally it’s easy to master.  Without overcoming my fear of water, I never would have had the guts to try this.  It was an exhilarating rush of adrenaline and I am so happy I had the opportunity to experience this extreme adventure!  The best part of all was the water was so soft that even as I came crashing down, I didn’t break any bones and I had a blast.

If you’re in St. Thomas, USVI for a day trip on a cruise or even a longer vacation, it’s definitely worth it to stop by and see Rigo and try your hand at Flyboarding. Learn more about St. Thomas Flyboarding.