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This article was developed within the program Venture an Idea funded by the USAID.

 

Walking by the rivers in Belgrade you can see people on the boats, canoes, and rafts. But recently you could also see people elegantly flying just by the water surface. It seems very intriguing and exciting, and the good thing is that it is actually available for all of you who are into adventures and fresh experiences. At the very river delta of Sava and Danube close to the Nebojša Tower, you can attend the unique FLY SCHOOL run by a snowboarder, kite surfer, and foil rider Darko Kastratovic who now brings this incredible activity to the heart of the city. 

We spent an afternoon with Darko at the river and we bring you his story. 

How did you come to the idea of opening an E-FOIL school in Belgrade?

I have been teaching snowboarding and kite-surfing for a very long time. In between seasons, I would spend time in Belgrade working on a clothing brand that I created with a friend of mine called SHINOBI, preparing things for the upcoming season but there was always something missing in my day-to-day life. I needed to stay active, and it needed to be outdoors, and I did it all, cycling, skateboarding, and rock climbing, but still missed that thrill that I strive for throughout the year. We spent a lot of time at the rivers, and that is when FLY was born. Since Belgrade is situated on two great rivers, it actually can offer us so much more than we were able to imagine. And it's always been there, right under your nose.

What are FOIL, and E-FOIL?

While surfing requires the power of a wave to get going, and wakeboarding relies on a boat to tow the rider, hydrofoiling uses a winglike structure under the surface of the water to create a lift.

With E-FOIL the rider uses a waterproof handheld bluetooth controller that connects to an electric motor and underwater propeller, and with the normal foil, the momentum is created manually by pumping your legs up and down. The E-FOIL uses an advanced lithium-ion battery to power a silent electric motor that’s mounted on an all-carbon-fiber hydrofoil. It allows you to ride for up to 100 minutes on a two-hour charge.

What kind of activities can one find at FLY SCHOOL?

For all the beginners and newcomers we offer lessons. You can take as many lessons as you want, but within just a few you will be able to fully experience the “flying over water” feeling. Lessons are divided into 3 stages, laying down, kneeling, and standing up. We also offer group lessons, and people really enjoy that, it's way more fun when you ride together. For people that learned to ride, we offer group tours in the city but also on other rivers and lakes, day-trips. We also offer team buildings, and rentals and have demo trials as well.

EFOIL school in Belgrade

Learn to fly over water

Who can take FLY lessons?

It is for anyone who wants to get away from the city noise and busy life, who wants to be active in nature but doesn't have time to travel, for those who like to start their morning fresh and energized, or those that wish to finish their day off enjoying beautiful sunsets overlooking the Kalemegdan fortress.

We recommend for persons 16 and older, younger children can still ride but with the instructor on the board (the board is big enough to welcome 2 people)

People who have any experience surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, and/or foiling will quickly be able to master the E-FOIL. For those with no experience, don't worry. It's very easy to learn. It is a bit of a workout, it does engage your core, at the end of the day the entire ride is based on your balance, but it doesn't require you to be extremely fit or strong. If you come, just have fun!

When you drop into that perfect turn, hovering above the water on the foil, completely one with the board, experiencing flight… You’ll remember that moment for the rest of your life.

EFOIL lessons in Belgrade

And how safe is it?

The E-FOIL automatically shuts off when the hand controller touches the water, or when the trigger on the hand controller is released. The most important safety feature to note is the use of protective equipment and caution while using the product to avoid injury while riding. We provide all the necessary information before each lesson, tour, or rental. When doing lessons or tours, we are riding by your side, and if renting you are allowed to ride in the area where we can see you. As long as you follow these, it is really safe, and no reason to be worried.

This sport really offers an incredible experience and allows people to step into new adventures. The experience of being able to fly over any body of water is truly incredible and we would really like to make it available to many users around our region.

EFOIL lessons on the water

For additional relevant information, visit our Belgrade Insights page.

 

This article was made possible by the support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents of this article are the responsibility of Nova Iskra and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.

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