Finally, after squeaky protests by angry pre-teens about not being able to properly shred the FlowRider machine aboard the Freedom, Oasis, and new Quantum ships of Royal Caribbean cruise lines, passengers will now have more leeway in the radical stunts they are allowed to attempt.
In an article published by USA Today, it was revealed that Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein had a change of heart regarding the company’s strict FlowRider safety rules after hearing from a young passenger who learned how to surf aboard one of his cruise ships and went on to become the youngest female World Pro Flowboarding Champion. Her name is Xana-Kai Nash. On his blog, Goldstein outlines the edgy maneuvers that will now be allowed on Royal Caribbean FlowRider machines, including “various types of fun tricks such as sitting, 180 degree turn, facing opposite direction, lazy boy, drop knee, drop knee 360, layback, boogie shuvit, baseball catcher, 360, skiing, show pony, rail slide, basic ollie, pop shuvit, heel side stall and the toe slide stall.” Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.
After reading this article, I couldn’t help but think, “How is this news?” I mean, FlowRider machines themselves are really nothing new. Admittedly, my personal experience with a FlowRider machine only goes as far as me watching tattooed meathead tourists fall on their faces while trying to show off at the Wavehouse in San Diego. The thing I never really understood is that the ocean is literally 50 feet from the FlowRider machine at the Wavehouse. If you wanted to learn how to surf, why not give ol’ Mother Nature a shot? I guess the audience is much smaller, which could be a turn-off for some. In addition to the FlowRider, the Wavehouse also has the FlowBarrel, which they describe on their website as being “the closest thing man has come to recreating the power, challenge, and beauty of Banzai Pipeline, Hawaii’s surf reef break.” Really, the challenge of Pipeline? I guess I should book my ticket to Oahu now to beat the crowd.
I don’t want to come across as raining on anyone’s stoke parade, but honestly, these cut-rate comparisons with actual surfing in a real ocean are starting to get ridiculous. First it was the buzz behind various artificial wave projects, which recently culminated with Surf Park Summit, and now kids get to face the opposite direction on the FlowRider during the next family vacation. As someone who derives an unusual amount of joy from surfing saltwater waves in a real-life ocean, I guess should be happy that the people riding artificial waves aren’t crowding many of the already-packed spots. I just don’t get it, but whatever floats your boat – or cruise ship.