The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Levitation jet-pak means hovering over the water no longer just for the birds at the Shore

  • Print

BERKELEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. - Jenna Lee didn't get as high as she wanted, and it wasn't for lack of trying.

In fact, the 23-year-old Brick Township woman was perfectly sober as she tried to soar over the surface of Barnegat Bay.

She was using a JetLev, a mechanical contraption seemingly right out of "The Jetsons" that lets users hover above and fly over the surface of the water. It's become one of this summer's must-do attractions at the Jersey shore for anyone with $130 and a half-hour to kill.

"It was awesome!" she exclaimed after climbing back aboard the pontoon boat that carried her to the flight site over the bay near the Route 37 bridge in Ocean County.

The contraption gained some notoriety a few weeks ago when cast members of MTV's "Jersey Shore," who were filming in neighbouring Seaside Heights, tried them out. A photo of Jenny "JWoww" Farley hovering above the bay appeared in the New York City tabloids.

Started in 2004 by Raymond Li, a Chinese-born Canadian, the JetLev went through years of testing and revision and hit the market a few months ago. Anthony Manasia, an employee of Jersey Shore Watercraft Rentals, which owns two of the devices, said they cost $100,000 apiece.

JetLev, based in Dania Beach, Fla., says it has about 100 units in use at 20 centres around the country.

The Berkeley, N.J., rental facility charges $130 for a half-hour flight, or $75 for 15 minutes.

The device resembles a backpack with handles and two powerful jet nozzles, connected by a long black hose to a 10-foot boat that trails behind the user in the water and forces water through the hose and out the nozzles, creating the lift that propels the wearer into the air. A supervisor on a nearby vessel controls the speed of the jets, and thus the height of the flier.

As most users do, Lee started out slowly. It's a matter of getting a feel for the unit's handling: how gently to lift one's arms, or how steeply to lean to the right or left in order to make a turn. Once, she powered up at too steep an angle and was about to flip over backward, so Manasia, who was working the controls, cut the power, bringing her splashing down into the bay — which in itself was enjoyable, she said.

Manasia spoke instructions from a wireless microphone into a speaker in her helmet: "Lift your hands 6 to 8 inches above the surface of the water. Lean to the right. Stop kicking your feet."

Gradually, she became more comfortable with it, and was able to propel herself above the water, making long sweeping circles as friends cheered her on.

"As long as he's talking to you through the helmet, you'll get the feel of it," Lee said. "You definitely need to spend the first few minutes learning. It's not something you just hop on and go. I lifted my arms too much and it sent it over backward, and I was like: 'OK, don't do that!' "

She's already making plans to fly again.

"I want to go up alongside the bridge, and do a lot of messed-up stuff," she said.

___

Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Kevin Cheveldayoff announces Maurice contract extension

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local- A large osprey lands in it's nest in a hydro pole on Hyw 59  near the Hillside Beach turnoff turn off. Osprey a large narrow winged hawk which can have a wingspan of over 54 inches are making a incredible recovery since pesticide use of the 1950's and  1960's- For the last two decades these fish hawks have been reappearing in the Lake Winnipeg area- Aug 03, 2005
  • A young gosling flaps his wings after taking a bath in the duck pond at St Vital Park Tuesday morning- - Day 21– June 12, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What are you most looking forward to this Easter weekend?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google