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Flyboard Animation Approach Suggestions

I am new to rigging and animation, light experience in UE4. Looking to animate the UE4 Mannequin (for now) in Blender using MrMannequinTools 1.1

Here is an example of the activity I’m looking to animate Flyboarding. https://youtu.be/3lB-Io2M2nE?t=101 Flyboarding is free form aerial acrobatics using the thrust from a jet ski as the source of power. I am looking to build a simulator and eventual gameplay. My initial thought is to model the modular trick elements of athletes and link together along a path. There is a dynamic center of gravity, I am not sure what approximating the physics would be like. Thrust controls the altitude most of all, thrust in flips and spins is looked at as a constant.

What would be some approaches to animating (and combining) the five needed elements, and general thinking of the animation process? Just looking for approaches and suggestions to follow and research.

  1. Rider: The rider can flip forwards and backward, flips can be linked up to four times. The rider’s height decreases during a flip, they lose altitude. A flip is initiated by dropping the body below the board and allowing the board to rotate around. A straight flip would go directly into collision with the hose, so each flip can be done over the right or left shoulder. Other elements such as the spins and vertical spirals are more straightforward.
  2. Board: A board has three moving parts, two jets under the feet, and a “Y” shaped pipe between. Each foot can rotate around a single axis, toes up and down. The jets are at a fixed width, the distance between feet never changes. The feet can pivot in a gas pedal direction, toes down or slightly up. The middle “Y” pipe joining the feet can rotate by the tug of the hose.
  3. Water Jets: For all practical purposes, the flow rate and spray output are constant. Assuming a gravity-based particle system.
  4. Hose: 20 meters in length. This traces the path of the rider and falls back to earth, it also pulls the jet ski along as a tether. The image below is a most extreme example of hose configuration as it falls back to earth and the waves of motion dampen in the direction of the rider to the jetski.imageHoseArt.jpg
  5. Jet Ski: The jet ski is pulled along in the direction of the rider by the attached hose. Its pitch and roll can be affected by the transmitted forces, it stays at the level of the water. The water is always flat water or slight waves.


Red arrows show forces acting upwards from thrust, the blue arrow shows counter-movement. Toes tilted down, the character moves forward, toes lifted up, movement backward. Right toe down, yaw turn left.

I’d appreciate any suggestions on how to approach this!

Thanks,