In the back of a car park at Sukhumvit Soi 26’s A-Square, things are going a little Miami Beach. The sound of gushing water mingles with whoops and yelps as people try to pull a 360° or hangten. All that’s missing is the sand, Beach Boys tunes and bikini-clad babes (and who knows, such is the atmosphere of day-at-the-beach joie de vivre that you may even spot a few of them).
Flowboarding, as this pastime is officially known, is a hybrid boardsport that combines the skills from action sports such as skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding and to a lesser extent, wakeboarding and skimboarding. How does it work? To mimic surf, a three to four inch sheet of water is blasted over a vinyl surface shaped like a flawless, breaking ocean wave (according to general manger Ross Werner the incline is a little steeper than normal, making it “more of a challenge”). Add 100,000 circulating gallons of water and you have an endless wave that, in theory, you could ride forever.
Alas, while that’s a poetic image, the reality is you must share it with other patrons. Surprisingly for an activity based on hard-to-master sports, these are diverse, ranging from pint-sized kids who’ve only just discovered the bodyboard to businessmen looking to get the blood pumping before work and even the occasional pro. Instructors are on hand to teach first-timers and the surface can be split to create separate riding ‘flows’, so it truly is a come-one-come-all facility. Moreover, when you inevitably wipeout, you bounce off a trampoline-like surface – not a skin-ripping ocean bed.
While this aquatic wonder of the modern age is the centerpiece, Flow House is not just about surfing. Should you not want to pull tricks you can just watch them, either upstairs at the outdoor chill-out zone, or downstairs, beside the on-site restaurant and fully-stocked bar. Once you’ve whooped or clapped your last you can also watch live sports up in the sports bar; or buy yourself a spiffy pair of boardshorts at the RipCurl shop. Events are unfolding here too, the next being a Winter Luau and traditional Hawaiian feast in collaboration with US craft beer importers Beervana from December 14-16.
With tweaks being made all the time, the Flow House is, like the machine itself, currently in a state of flux, but as things stand the opening hours are as follows: Mon 10am- 12am, Tue-Fri 9am-12am, Sat 8am-12am and Sun 8am-10pm.
Flow House Bangkok
A-Square, Sukhumvit Soi 26 | BTS Phrom Phong | 02-108-5210 | B650 per hour including basic coaching and use of board; B100 deposit for use of locker and towel | flowhousebangkok.com, www.facebook.com/flowhousebangkok