‘Drone surfing’ is exactly what you think it is

Trevor Mogg
‘Drone surfing’ is exactly what you think it is
Drone surfing is now a thing, apparently. Keen to show off the power of one of its flying machines, Washington-based firm Freefly swapped a kite for its ALTA 8 octocopter and sent a guy out on the water to see what happened. And yes, he did come back.

Drone surfing is now a thing.

You might not think a remotely controlled copter would be strong enough to pull you along on a skim board, but at full power and with calm weather conditions, Freefly’s professional ALTA 8 flying machine will happily replace your kite and tow you rapidly out into the open sea. And hopefully back again.

Washington-based Freefly recently shot a “drone surfing” video to demonstrate the power of its heavy-duty ALTA 8 octocopter, which the company has designed to carry “the largest cinema payloads on the market,” or pretty much any object weighing up to 20 pounds.

The water-based fun doesn’t come cheap with this particular kit, however, as Freefly’s machine will set you back a hefty $17,500. Yes, a kite is certainly cheaper – but a lot less fun.

The drone surfer in the video takes a sprint to get started, but once he’s on the water the octocopter takes him along at a decent clip.

Despite a few posters on Freefly’s Facebook page doubting the video’s authenticity, the company’s creative director, Hugh Bell, insisted to Mashable that “the video and clips are indeed 100 percent real,” adding, “The ALTA is the only thing pulling the boarder.”

Related: Game of drones – the best aerial companions money can buy

This isn’t, however, the first time we’ve seen a drone pulling someone along on a board. Back in February, snowboarding enthusiast Kaspars Balamovskis gave the huskies a rest and used a super-sized Aerones flying machine to tow him along instead.

And just to prove that drones don’t have to be expensive and massive to help out with board-based sports, YouTuber Valplushka earlier this year posted a video of a smaller 4-pound quadcopter pulling along a kid in the snow, albeit at a speed likely to send most adrenalin junkies to sleep.