Florida native and world number two hydro-flight athlete Ben Merrell to perform at Crab Fest

Florida native and world number two hydro-flight athlete Ben Merrell to perform at Crab Fest

THE USA’s very own ‘fly guy’ and Hydro-Fest 2016 winner Ben Merrell will be putting on the aerial athletics this Crab Fest.

The hydro-flight athlete is ranked second in the world and is visiting Mandurah as a special guest of Jet X-treme, who operate on Mandurah Foreshore.

Ben chatted to the Mandurah Coastal Times about what people can expect during one of his unique shows.

While it looks like an aerial ballet, Ben compares it to being a superhero.

“The Avengers movies are really popular at the moment and what you see when Iron Man flies through the air that’s what hydro-flight is like,” he said.

“I’ve tried heaps of adrenaline sports in the past, but the control you have is incredible.

“It’s a must try.”

Ben said an exhibition is different to competition.

“We like to go really high and as the show goes on I can get up to about 20-metres high,” he said.

“Then comes the tricks – the back flip is one of the favourites.

“People like to see how we can fly through the air and enter the water then come out.

“We call that a dolphin-dive, we break the surface and fly through the air over and over again.”

Ben was inspired to start his own hydro-flight business after seeing a YouTube video.

“The guy who made the first board was going through the water like a dolphin and doing some tricks and I thought that would be a great thing to bring to my area for a rental,” he said.

“So I brought it to the area and just started flying it, I loved it and I got obsessed with it, so I went and competed.

“From there it’s kind of history.”

Ben who is a Florida native said he feels at home in Mandurah.

“Mandurah is like back home,” he said.

“The water its beautiful here and the weather is very similar.”

This is Ben’s second trip – visitors to the Mandurah boat show in 2015 would have seen him perform.

“You see the videos and they’re good, but to see someone in the air it’s so different,” he said.

“It’s really an incredible thing, I’ve got to watch a few shows and it’s amazing.”

For those keen to have a try – Ben’s oldest client was 78 and his six-year-old son also has fun with hydro-flight.

The Mandurah Crab Fest is on March 18 to 19.