While cruising with Royal Caribbean, travelers looking for thrills can catch waves without ever having to leave the ship! Beginners and experienced surfers are able to hang ten by boogie boarding or standup surfing on any one of 19 FlowRider surf simulators in the cruise line’s fleet. Pair that with great views and the ocean breeze, the surf is always up on Royal Caribbean ships.
Check out Carlos PenaVega as hangs ten, onboard the world’s largest ship, Symphony of the Seas.
If you want to learn how to surf from the best, the first ever "Flow with a Pro" cruise will take place on Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas in December this year
This special cruise is sailing from Fremantle to Sydney, complete with tuition, expert advice and demonstrations from Adam Wildman, European flowboarding champion in 2013, 2014 & 2016 and Royal Caribbean’s home-grown FlowRider Ambassador.
Guests can ‘Flow with a Pro’ on Ovation of the Seas from Fremantle to Sydney, departing December 6, 2016 for a nine-night cruise. During this cruise, guests will receive access to complimentary group lessons from Adam Wildman, plus he will showcase some of his spectacular tricks with free guest demonstrations along the way.
Adam Wildman first discovered his talent for flowboarding on Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas on a family holiday in 2009, and has now turned his passion into a profession. Hailing from the Gold Coast, his sport takes him all over the world. Having successfully defended his title as European Champion earlier this year, Wildman takes on the best of the best at the World Flowboarding Championships in Singapore.
"If you’ve ever thought about giving flowboarding a go, Ovation is the perfect place to test your talents. The most important thing to remember is that falling is half the fun! No matter your age or skill, you’re guaranteed to have a great time," said Adam Wildman, Royal Caribbean’s FlowRider Ambassador.
The signature FlowRider - which can only be found at sea on Royal Caribbean - mimics ocean surf conditions by pumping water at speed over the soft, padded riding area, which riders can ‘drop in’ on from the top of the FlowRider. Surfers will find it’s a slightly different experience to an ocean wave, since the water flows in the opposite direction, making it all the more fun to master. Guests can choose two different riding styles, stand-up traditional surfing and boogie boarding or knee boarding.
Perhaps no onboard activity is as synonymous with Royal Caribbean as the surf simulator known as the FlowRider.
When Royal Caribbean started adding FlowRiders to its cruise ships, it generated a lot of buzz and ever since then, the company has been working to add FlowRiders to more and more ships in its fleet.
If you want to give surfing a shot on your next cruise, here is what you need to know about this popular surf simulator.
What is the FlowRider?
Photo by Lawrence Smith
The FlowRider is a simulator that sends water a very high speed across a small area that mimics what it is like to surf on the ocean.
FlowRiders were first created as a business on land and have partnered with Royal Caribbean to offer guests cruising the chance to try it out there.
The FlowRider supports two surfing styles: stand up traditional surfing and boogie boarding.
Which Royal Caribbean ships have a FlowRider?
Royal Caribbean has added FlowRiders to more of its ships recently and here is the list of ships that offer a FlowRider
- Freedom of the Seas
- Liberty of the Seas
- Independence of the Seas
- Oasis of the Seas (two FlowRiders)
- Allure of the Seas (two FlowRiders)
- Harmony of the Seas (two FlowRiders)
- Symphony of the Seas (two FlowRiders)
- Quantum of the Seas
- Anthem of the Seas
- Ovation of the Seas
- Navigator of the Seas
- Voyager of the Seas
- Explorer of the Seas
- Adventure of the Seas
- Mariner of the Seas
- Odyssey of the Seas
- Wonder of the Seas
How much does the FlowRider experience cost?
Photo by Royal Caribbean
A ride on the FlowRider is included in your Royal Caribbean cruise fare.
Guests can ride the FlowRider as many times as they like for free. They will simply need to wait in line for a turn.
There is the opportunity to book private lessons for an additional cost. At last check, private lessons cost $60 per person and lasts about an hour. Each lesson will have six to eight guests.
Private lessons can be booked onboard the ship and is sometimes available via the Royal Caribbean Cruise Planner.
What are the restrictions for using the FlowRider?
Guests participating in the FlowRider, for example, must be at least 52"/132 cm tall to use the bodyboard and 58"/147 cm tall to use the flowboard.
Absolutely no footwear allowed, no goggles and no go-pro cams are allowed.
Important FlowRider tips
- As the cruise goes on, the lines for the FlowRider can get quite long. For shorter lines, embarkation day is always simple. Port days and morning sessions tend to be less crowded.
- Be sure to wear clothing that will not easily come off. The force of the water has been known to cause "wardrobe malfunctions". Women, especially, should consider wearing one piece bathing suits and/or t-shirts and shorts.
- Guests can surf until they fall off the board, but the staff is pretty good at challenging the talented guests in an effort to improve their skills and increase the likelihood of falling off.
- Check your Cruise Compass for session times. Often Royal Caribbean will offer special times for teens or adults.
- The sports staff is there for your safety and your assistance. Ask them for advice, especially if you are new.
- Tips for successfully surfing:
- If you are stand up surfing, shift your weight to the back foot and never lift either foot off the board.
- If you are boogie boarding, keep your elbows in and keep most, if not all of your legs in the water.
Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas just got a new FlowRider surf simulator added to her as part of an $80 million refurbishment and it's now passed its first test.
Pro surfer Paige Hareb boarded Voyager of the Seas to try out the new FlowRider while the ship was in Auckland, New Zealand.
Hareb gave it a try and commented on her experience, "I didn't know what to expect. I had heard a lot about it being completely different from other sports and from surfing and so I was a little nervous."
After getting the hang of the FlowRider, Paige showed off her surfing skills to others in attendance.
"I have been doing surfing for such a long time, so I guess it comes easy to me now."
Royal Caribbean's FlowRider is a very popular (and free) activity aboard select cruise ships but if you're anything like me, you aren't a natural born surfer.
So we reached out to a couple of professional FlowRider veterans for tips on how to master the art of riding the artificial wave.
Our panel of FlowRider experts include
- Nick, from All Things Flow13oarding, has been riding the FlowRider for 14 years and is a 7 time bodyboard world champion.
- Brandon, from Heinen Motorsports, is a pro FlowRider and wakesurfer and uses the FlowRider to tran in the off season.
If you were to give someone brand new to the FlowRider one tip to, what would it be?
Nick: On the bodyboard: Hold the board on the side middle rails, keep your elbows on the board and use your legs in the water for speed and to keep the board straight. And most importantly have fun!
On the Standup Flowboard: Keep at least a steady 80% pressure/balance on the back foot and lean on your back hip while trying to keep your shoulders balanced and pointing towards the front, Try not to twist and turn your shoulders and try to keep the board straight with your feet and hip. When you go on stay low on your back leg and try to go in a straight line with steady pressure and balance on your feet. About 80% on the back and 20% on the front. If the board starts to turn try to put more pressure on the back so that it straightens out. If you start falling get down lower and try to sit so that you fall safely.
Brandon: I would say to new flow riders. Jst because you skateboard or snowboard or even wakeboard forget what you know and start from scratch. The flowrider is a beast of its own and there is no other sport that water is rushing at you up to 40 Mph.
What do you think the biggest mistake people new to the FlowRider make in terms of being able to stand up on the board?
Nick: Leaning forwards and jerking the board sideways and twisting your shoulders and hip. You want to try to go in a straight line and keep the pressure down on the board a steady pressure on the back.
Brandon: The trick to flowrider is keeping most of your weight on your back foot. I would say 85% of your weight. Stand up straight and don't hunch over. This keeps your weight more centered. When the board wants to turn just roll with it don't fight it. After a few falls you will be floweriding.
Honestly, how much does it hurt to wipe out on the FlowRider?
Nick: It doesn't really hurt at all! It's much like falling on a trampoline with water as padding. Bodyboarding is a much softer fall so that helps you learn how to fall a little safer.
Brandon: The first few falls might hurt a bit and the next day your neck will be sore. But its all in good fun!
Once you get the whole "standing up on the board" thing, what should people try if they want to learn a trick?
Nick: Stay low so you don't fall as hard and try to go slow; Some of the first tricks you can try are: Carving, 360, Ollie, Shuvit (Board Spin)
Staying low helps you keep your balance and more center of gravity. Recording yourself on video helps a lot and can help show you what you might be doing wrong. Watching videos on youtube helsp a lot as well!
Any recommendations on best type of clothing to wear or not wear on the FlowRider?
Nick: The best things to wear are tight board shorts, one pieces, shirts/rash guards.
You're not allowed to wear accessories so be sure to take off your rings, ear rings etc! You might loose them as well as your bathing suit so be sure to have them on tight!
The video features a closer look at the FlowRider surfing simulator, which happens to be one of Royal Caribbean's most popular activities among all ages.
Royal Caribbean has signed a contract with Mobimar to add the FlowRider surf simulator to Voyager of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas.
Mobimar, a construction firm in Finland, also was contracted to add the FlowRider to Navigator of the Seas, which it already completed.
The FlowRiders will be installed on Voyager of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas later this year, with no specific date. Voyager of the Seas is scheduled for a refurbishment in May 2014 and Explorer of the Seas will have her refurbishment in February 2015.
Each Flowrider module contains the surrounding stands, canopies, lights, water treatment system, Hi-Fog system, piping and cabling connections to the ship. The installation of each module requires approximately 30 days with minor advance preparation prior to entry into drydock.
Mobimar has been Royal Caribbean's partner for installing FlowRiders on its cruise ships since 2004 when it added them to Freedom of the Seas. Mobimar is also working currently to add a FlowRider to Quantum of the Seas.
Tip of the hat to CruiseCurrents for the news.
Royal Caribbean CEO Adam Goldstein announced the cruise line will now allow its guests to perform tricks on the FlowRider surf simulator after passenger complaints the rules were too restrictive.
The rules were tightened back in 2012 and as of this summer, guests are able to try 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 side stall".
The FlowRider surf simulator is available on Freedom, Oasis and Quantum class cruise ships. Use of the FlowRider is complimentary.
Word of the cruise line's relaxing of the rules means guests who are good at surfing can try out more advanced tricks, which makes the FlowRider experience more intriguing to advanced surfers.
We've all seen the commercials for Royal Caribbean's newest fleet of ships that feature, among other amazing new onboard amenities, the FlowRider. The FlowRider is a surfing simulator that uses powerful jets of water to create an artificial wave for guests to (try to) surf on.
Inevitably, guests fall and the rush of water pushes the person to the back where the participant strikes a padded wall. After a good laugh, they give it another try or let someone else go. FlowRiders have been part of Royal Caribbean ships for years now but a recent court case may raise a question about their safety.
The case of Charlene Johnson vs. Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., tells the story of Charlene Johnson took a private lesson on the FlowRider but when she fell, she claims she was violently thrown against the wall and injured herself. Her lawyer presented evidence that Royal Caribbean had negligently operated the FlowRider such as shortening the distance of the area from where a person falls to the back wall beyond the manufacturers' specifications.
The Federal Judge in the case ruled that despite what Royal Caribbean did, the waiver of liability Ms. Johnson signed before riding cleared Royal Caribbean of any wrong doing and dismissed the case against Royal Caribbean.
So is the FlowRider dangerous? Judge Moreno, the Chief Judge in the Southern District of Florida, called the FlowRider “inherently dangerous” but the waiver guests sign is enough to proect Royal Caribbean.
What do you think? Do you think the FlowRider is dangerous? Will you ride it?