The Latest Douchey Toy to Enamor the Wealthy

Aug 08, 2013 at 1:17 PM ET

There are two up-and-coming, ridiculously overpriced water toys on the market, and both of them will propel you three stories in the air and deep into debt. Weeee!

The Jetlev and the FlyBoard are the latest and greatest in aqua technology. Even Leo DiCaprio has caught on. Those of you without DiCaprio levels of disposable income can rent these babies at popular vacation sites, like Cancun, Mexico, and Ocean City, Maryland. But, as YouTube videos and Instagram photos reveal, that’s the bougie way to aqua fly. Instead, you should be purchasing your own toy and using it when you go sailing on your yacht…or at the very least in the deep end of a VIP club pool.

Both products have been on the market since 2011 but are only just catching on. The Jetlev, which costs $68,500, is a sea-friendly jet pack attached to a tail-like tube that funnels a high-pressure stream of water up the pack, then shoots it back down at the waves below. The FlyBoard, like the more common wakeboard, requires a flier to stand in boots and balance as he or she is lifted into the air by the water pressure. It costs $6,000.

Both products fulfill flying dreams without a pilot’s license. “The idea of every child’s dream to fly can now come true,” says Nat Rosenblatt, president of Jetlev. “It’s no longer, ‘Let’s go fly on a Jet Ski.’ It’s, ‘Let’s go fly.'”

Childhood-dream fulfillment and the exclusivity factor are what make these toys so desirable. “Gravity is a real bitch—and it’s been incredibly hard and expensive to make a real jet pack,” says Mac Montandon, author of JetPack Dreams, in an email. “These water-powered packs, in some ways, are the closest we’ve come, so it’s no surprise they’ve taken off, if you’ll excuse the atrocious pun. And rich people will always want to own the newest exclusive thing—whether it’s sugar, Viking stoves, the sport of polo or jet packs.”

The jet pack’s history is extensive. “Ever since Buck Rogers—or really the first birds—humans have had an intense desire to take to the sky,” Montandon explains. “Those feelings get amped up every once in a while—by James Bond, Boba Fett (despite his sad, sudden demise on his pack) and in real life Bill Suitor, who flew the Bell Labs rocket belt in the 1960s.”

Plus, they’re fun, safe (Rosenblatt reports no serious injuries since the company’s beginnings) and make for rad Instagram photos.




But, somehow, not everyone’s thrilled about the rise of the jet pack. Fishermen and environmentalists and other proverbial drips in Hawaii are concerned about the effects of water jet packing on marine life in the region, citing that the toys “scare away fish” from their natural homes. They’re trying to restrict jet pack usage to certain beaches or parts of the ocean. Where presumably there are no fish?

To make matters worse for fish everywhere, the Jetlev team plans to launch a new, more accessible jet pack (er, $10,000), which will surely fit well under the Christmas tree. “Now even more people will be able to fly,” Rosenblatt says.