X-JET NOW OFFERS A WARRANTY
THE ONLY WARRANTY AVAILABLE WITHIN THE SPORT OF HYDRO BOARDING
Once again we saw the commitment and dedication of hydroflight athletes involved in the recent Hydro Fest competition in Nevada. People traveled from across the US (and beyond) to compete and show their stuff. We know we are lucky to be able to create hydrosport gear and be able to participate in such an exciting, fun growing sport. However, we seem to be using use the word “serious” a lot these days when we talk about the way we do the business. Hydro sport is maturing, opening up and we are finally getting the chance to openly compare different products, company approaches and gear. We treat our product development seriously and know that all of the people that purchase and ride hydroflight sport gear feel the same. We value your choosing X-Jets and want to support you in your pursuits and businesses.
With respect, that we feel is equal to what all our customers put into our hydroflight gear, X is to raising its commitment bar with our new X+ lifetime warranty on Y tubes and Nozzles of Jetblades and X-Jetpacks, two of the key structural elements that keep your gear flying. By lifetime, we mean the lifetime of the product, which we consider to be 8 years for personal use, four years for rental use. For the lifetime of the Jetblade or Jetpack, we will repair or replace any Y-tube or nozzle that fails to perform due to materials, workmanship or regular wear and tear. This includes rental and professional use, including riders like Ben and Hunter and working pros like Jake (yes, we know there are not many riders like Ben and Hunter and Jake… )
(Jetpack nozzle assemblies consist of the nozzle, arm flex link and upper arm telescoping tube. The nozzle section with the bearing, sealing and torsion bar containment tube is covered by the X+ warranty.)
We have designed our hydroflight water jetpacks and jetboards to be used by beginners in rental operations and by pros in world class competitions. Hard anodized powder coated marine grade aluminum has proven itself to be durable and stand what the rental beaches of Thailand and the top pros can throw with it.
Trust the gear that the manufacturer stands behind. Serious metal gear, depend on X-Jets.
So, how do you like us now?
[ *It is disappointing when a competitor hydrosport company develops substandard products, and then tries to weasel out of repairing or replacing things when they break. When a company labels its product “Pro” or even “Sport” then tells you that it is designed for leisure use only and any actual “professional use” or sport use voids the warranty, it rightly questions the basic integrity. What does that mean in practice? Use of a board by a professional is “extreme”, they are tough on equipment right? Seems fair, you might think, to make them or their companies pay for spare parts when stuff breaks. Before you answer, what if the manufacturer draws the warranty voiding line at a single backflip, or flying two meters high? That’s right, six feet above the water, fly to seven feet and your warranty is done, attempt a backflip and you are on your own for anything that happens to your equipment afterwards. Meet the makers of a new “industry standard” for the breathless little startups to imitate. When the industry leader decides to lower the bar literally, claiming a two meter height limit on warranty, renaming his sport product “leisure” equipment to get around hard use, we had to get serious. We have never been one to follow a flawed industry standard in this young, dynamic and growing sport, we are not about to start now. ]
Side-By-Side Comparison of Both Hydro Boards
Sometimes looks can be a bit deceiving and what you see on the surface may not always tell the whole story about what’s inside. With that in mind, we decided to look ‘under the hood’ to see for ourselves the true differences between the two most popular Hydroflight Devices; the Jetblade from X-Jets and the Flyboard from Zapata Racing.
At first glance, they look similar. Both connect to a main supply hose which is connected to a Personal Watercraft and they are both designed to propel you high (up to about 50’ depending on your particular set-up) above the surface of the water. But strangely enough, that’s where the similarities come to an end.
We completely dismantled both products and evaluated the construction, fit, finish, materials used and then reassembled them. We took note of the difficulty involved, number of parts in each and what tools were required to accomplish the task.
DISASSEMBLING THE BOARDS
Starting with the Jetblade, we were able to have it completely disassembled in less than 8 minutes. It was remarkably easy to work with and it only took 2 tools for the entire process. We noted that all hardware used in the jetblade was A4 Marine Grade Stainless Steel, the forged connection clamp was also 316 Stainless. The Grab Bars are made of a solid hydrophilic (having an affinity for water) Nylon and were attached below the Footplates with four 6mm X 35mm A4 Stainless Cap Head Screws each. Serious metal indeed. The Nozzles are held in place by two rows of Delrin Balls with 33 in each row for a total of 66 per side and 132 overall. The bearings are accessed by simply removing the Footplates which are secured to the top of the nozzle by four 6mm X 30mm A4 Stainless Cap Head Screws. Once we removed both rows of the Delrin Balls, the Nozzles came right off of the Y Tube. Then we removed the Rotomolded Floats from the Nozzles which are held in place by six 6mm X 20mm A4 Stainless Cap Head Screws. Lastly we removed both sides of the clamp system that is used to attach the Jetblade to the end of the hose. They were held in place with two 6mm X 40mm A4 Stainless Cap Screws and two 6mm A4 Stainless Nuts with nylon lock inserts. We chose not to remove the plunger pin assembly from the clamp since the ring securing it is crimped so that it cannot accidentally (or easily) open up. We also did not take the orange plates out of the Baseplates because we really saw no reason to do so.
On to the Flyboard. Disassembly here was not quite as easy as we found numerous screws that were partially covered by other parts and/or were a little challenging to get to. There is no doubt numerous ways to take this board apart, but we chose to start at the top and work our way down. Each top plate is held in place with four 6mm A2 Stainless Screws secured on the bottom by 6mm A2 Stainless Crown Nuts. Crown nuts are generally used in aviation or other industries as a security nut with a cotter pin installed through the bolt/screw then run through the opening in the nuts so that even if the nut comes loose, it cannot come off. These were not used that way. They were instead inverted so that the ‘crown tips’ could be pulled up against and perhaps slightly into the plastic base to help secure them and keep them from coming loose. Next we removed the eight 4mm A2 Stainless screws that held each nozzle in place. We noted a little difficulty getting to and removing some of the screws, particularly the ones on top deck of the Flyboard. In order to take the deck apart, we had to remove the plastic parts below the deck that hold the springs in place. These are basically a plastic upper held around a stainless steel bar by a plastic cover. Each plastic cover has two course threaded screws securing them. Once removed, we were then able to remove the deck, nozzles and the plastic legs. We found that when the legs were removed all 122 plastic balls fell out. Of note here, if you attempt taking the board apart, we recommend doing so on a cloth or carpet as the balls will go everywhere if you’re not careful.
MATERIALS AND HARDWARE USED
For us this was a real eye opener. The Jetblade was held together with A4 (316 Marine Grade) Stainless Steel fasteners while the Flyboard uses A2 (Kitchen Grade) Stainless Steel Fasteners. Although both are Stainless, it makes sense to us to use Marine Grade, not Kitchen Grade. Both units use a floatation system to keep the boards afloat in the water. The Flyboard uses a molded piece of foam about 1” thick under each footplate while the Jetblade has a large foam filled HDPE Rotomolded floatation cell that is attached under each nozzle. Both devices feature dual rows of ball bearing on each side to secure the nozzles in place. The nozzles on the Jetblade are solid cast aluminum silicon alloy with a fixed 54mm discharge opening. The Flyboard features smoke tinted polycarbonate (plastic) Nozzles with an aluminum nozzle insert that is available in either standard 61mm or upgraded 57mm designed for increased performance. The Jetblade uses a solid cast aluminum silicon alloy Y Tube with four CNC Machined bearing channels to support the nozzles and a Marine Grade Stainless Steel Clamp System to attach the unit to the hose. The clamp system uses a large spring loaded pin to secure the Jetblade to the hose end swivel. There is a nylon safety release strap that is designed to completely release the Jetblade from the hose in the event of an emergency. The Flyboard uses a molded fiber reinforced polycarbonate Y Pipe with multiple ‘teeth’ that adapt it to the hose end swivel. It is secured by a small spring loaded plunger type pin. And lastly for the Baseplates. The Jetblade Baseplate is an extruded, CNC machined, hard anodized 6061 T6 Aluminum frame with CNC machined 316 Stainless Steel T-Nuts for mounting the bindings. It allows for an adjustable width stance from 38 to 42 centimeters. The Flyboard deck is a molded plastic and uses a series of six 6mm A2 Stainless Nuts pressed into a plastic hex channel on the bottom of each side of the board to secure the Bindings to the deck.
Below is a diagram showing each board fully disassembled along with our Side-By-Side Comparison of the number of parts in each and pictures of each unit disassembled. By the numbers, the Flyboard consists of 186 components plus 122 plastic ball bearings for a total of 308 parts. It requires 11 different tools and a jar of Vaseline to disassemble and reassemble. The Jetblade on the other hand consists of only 75 components and 132 Ball Bearings for a total of 207. It takes 2 tools and no Vaseline.
In a nutshell, it took us over 45 minutes, 11 different tools, Vaseline, 2 people and a few choice words to reassemble the Flyboard. The Jetblade was reassembled in less than 15 minutes with one person and 2 tools. It was simple, straightforward and easily accomplished.
Today we distribute, promote and ride X-Jets Products so we may be a bit partial in the way we present the two in this article. We have been extensively involved with all facets of the Hydroflight Industry since the Flyboard first made its way to the US in 2012. First as a Flight Center, then Flyboard Distribution and later adding a Competition Team. We were one of the first in the US to distribute, promote and ride the Flyboard so making the decision to move to another brand came with much discussion and thought before consciously making the move. We made that switch for a number of reasons, one of which I have explained in this article. The intention here is certainly not to degrade or discredit the Flyboard or its Manufacturer. In reality our goal is to present these two products in a straight-forward, factual way that gives users the ability to see first-hand some of the major differences between these two Hydro Boards as well as to provide some useful information for making an informed buying decision.
I hope you found this article informative and useful. As always, your feedback is invited and welcomed. I try to personally answer all emails and am happy to share our findings and experiences with anyone who asks.