The sun is shining and my friend Jamie and I are at an ex ministry of defence aerospace testing facility just outside of Milton Ernest, Bedford to experience Britain’s one and only indoor FlowRider at Bodyflight. Make no mistake this building has been completely transformed into its current state incorporating a luxurious leisure centre and a vertical wind tunnel for sky diving. Where James Bond actor Daniel Craig was in training for Quantum of Solace. After a friendly greeting from the staff and a video safety briefing it was time to climb into a wetsuit. Once zipped in, it was time to head up to the FlowHouse to meet our instructor Jay. Hello’s done, a push of a button and a sudden torrent of water powers up the FlowRider ready to surf.
First we started with the basics on the body board, moving left to right, up and down the wave. All the time words of encouragement being called from Jay to start performing some tricks, such as “try and roll over and stay on the wave!” which ended in great success or being washed to the top by the wave. Either was met by laughter and applause from the group which was all part of the fun! More comical instructions from our resident tutor came “hold onto the board and jump”. Those brief moments of triumph were quickly interrupted by the whoosh of the wave taking me away....again. A few more attempts and I could perform a perfect barrel roll and a jump with landing worthy of a 10.0 at the Olympics. For more added comedy Jay taught us the “Superman” basically you push your board away from you and the wave will bring it back to you, provided you can catch it and not get washed away!
Once reasonably confident with the basics it was time to kneel on the board. Using our new found skills of moving on the wave Jamie and I were on at the same time displaying skills synchronised swimmers could only dream of, criss crossing one another in perfect harmony. All was going well until I accidentally bumped into Jamie wiping us out but, I’m sure I’ll be forgiven one day! Falling off thankfully (due to the construction of the FlowRider), is a surprisingly pleasant experience due to the wave floor being quite forgiving and springy. The surrounding areas are all heavily padded so your quickly back on your feet ready for your next go!
Next it was on to the surfing.
Again our helpful expert explained the how-to, and then it was time for the get-to. Onto the board, knees bent, arms out, bum out (all important apparently) I was being edged into the flow. The wave of confidence I had built up was suddenly replaced by, well, the wave of water as I was once again transported to the top! However my next go I improved and was getting the hang of it. Before I knew it I was moving around the wave looking pretty stylish (if I do say so myself). Our session came to an end and within an hour I had gone from floprider to prorider! The entire group and i had all had an awesome time.
However this was not the end of our time at Bodyflight, once dry it was time to kit up into a climbing harness and helmet for our next instalment of adrenaline. A short lift ride and we were on the roof of the wind tunnel looking out across the beautiful Bedford countryside. That blissful moment was cut short by Jamie shouting “BYE” before launching himself down a 680 foot zip wire. My turn next to go down Bodyflights aptly named ‘Swoop’. Hooked in I was given the all clear to go, as I lept from the roof I was hurtling across the road below exceeding 35mph down towards the touch down area.
Slightly wind-swept now, a brief walk back it was into the lift again heading for the roof and for Vertigo, a 125ft simulated BASE jump. Hooked in once more to a cable connected to a deceleration device behind me I took a leap of faith and stepped off the edge of the platform towards the ground below. Arms and legs spread out it was a rush as I plummeted down in free fall before landing with a gentle touch down.
Back on terra firma and out of my climbing gear I marvelled at the height of the building I’d just jumped off, would I do it again...hell yeah!!
With a brilliant atmosphere for all the family, an Animal clothing shop, a bar/café and plenty of places to view all the action so close you will feel as if your part of it. As far as adrenaline pumping amazing days go this should definitely be top of your list whether you’re a thrill seeker or not. If you want to experience a day out you will never forget then Bodyflight Bedford is for you.
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