-- Flyboarding, when a rider zips around on a hoverboard propelled by water, is the very latest in extreme sports with a twist of sci-fi.
And stuntwoman Gemma Weston, a 29-year-old from New Zealand, is the number one female professional flyer in the world.
“Being able to fly is to push the boundaries of what is possible ... you do literally feel like you are flying and you feel a little bit like a superhero,” she told “Nightline.”
The hoverboard and its rider “fly” into the air by the force of water pumped through a hose by a jet ski engine. Flyboarding was only invented in 2011 by professional French jet skier Frank Zapata, but once she saw it, Weston couldn’t resist.
Weston can perform twists, dives and backflips as she zips over the open water. She entered the 2015 World Cup in Dubai as an unknown, and she crushed it, taking first place.
“My best trick I would say is one that I am not sure many people can do,” she said. “It’s basically a kind of side flip. I kind of go down and compress my body to the side and let my knees rise up over my body and kind of rotate so it’s kind of a forward moving side flip.”
After her World Cup win, she had two goals: winning big again this year and bringing Flyboarding to the masses.
Weston and her brother Beau Weston, also a Flyboarder, train in Melbourne, Florida, with Mark Baxter’s Powerfly Team.
“Gemma, she is something,” Baxter said. “She has a very natural talent for Flyboarding. When she came, it was actually a year ago, and here she is, the world champion.”
Baxter says the equipment is evolving as quickly as the sport. Already the best Flyboarders can control both board and jet ski at the same time by remote control, and Zapata is now developing a new futuristic-looking hoverboard that could remove the hose and jet ski attachment.
The Westons are one of the only brother-sister duos competing in extreme sports today, and the two competed at the 2016 Flyboarding European Championship in France earlier this month. Beau placed sixth, but his sister Gemma again placed first.
“New Zealanders are called ‘kiwis’ because that is our national bird, but it’s a flightless bird, so they can’t fly, but we’re proving Kiwis can fly,” Gemma Weston said.