Is dronesurfing the next wave in watersports?

3 pictures

Freefly Systems has previewed a potential new sport: dronesurfing

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Drones have brought exciting new camera angles to sports coverage and even led to the development of the new sport of drone racing. Now, as a farewell to the summer, Seattle-based Freefly Systems has enlisted one of its drones for dronesurfing, a new take on kitesurfing where the kite pulling the rider across the water is replaced by a drone.

Even with a running start, pulling someone on a board across the surface of the water – even if that water is still and calm – requires more horsepower than the average consumer drone can put out. That's why Freefly used its Alta 8 octocopter, which is built to carry professional camera equipment weighing up to 12 kg (26.4 lb).

The svelte rider in the video manages to maintain a decent speed when being pulled by the drone and it definitely looks like a lot of fun if you've got the lightweight build for it, but anyone carrying a few extra kilos isn't likely to set any speed records – or possibly move at all.

So until drones get a bit more powerful – and maybe someone builds some simple drone control mechanism into the tow handle so the rider isn't at the navigational whims of a second person – you're unlikely to see hordes of dronesurfers at your favorite waterway for a while. But if you are keen to give it a shot, the Alta 8 retails for US$17,495.

You can check out the dronesurfing action in the video below.

View gallery - 3 images

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