Kitesurfer Jeremie Tronet defies jet suit pilot Richard Browning

November 11, 2022 | Kiteboarding
Jeremie Tronet and Richard Browning: the kitesurfer versus the Iron Man | Photo: Insta360

From jet-pack flying to walking on water, Richard Browning, also known as the "real-life Iron Man," and pro kitesurfer, Jeremie Tronet, are no strangers to pushing the limits of what's possible.

Now, the two have taken their exploits to St Vincent & the Grenadines to shoot a breathtaking showdown on the high seas: "Pilots of the Caribbean: Man vs. Tech."

As one of the biggest productions portable camera company Insta360 has ever undertaken, months of careful planning and preparation preceded the shoot, plus a whole lot of Zoom calls.

Combining the talents of two distinct athletes was the biggest challenge of the shoot.

For Tronet and Browning, it was a case of understanding how their opposite number moves in flight and what the potential dangers are.

"The last thing I wanted was to tangle him in my kite line and be responsible for sending him in the water," the French kiteboarder explains.

Machine vs. Man: jet suit pilot Richard Browning chases Jeremie Tronet in St Vincent & the Grenadines | Photo: Insta360

Keeping it Safe

Browning, meanwhile, had to learn where Tronet's lines would be and fly as close as possible but maintain enough distance so as not to burn him with his jet pack.

Both Tronet and Browning also have their own limitations in flight that made shooting together extra difficult.

For Tronet, wind and weather conditions have to be just right, while Browning's flights are time-sensitive based on fuel.

"We often had only one attempt to get the trick done while he was flying, so I had to make sure not to be the one to miss the trick and ruin the shot," Tronet recalls:

On top of that, the shooting schedule was also very demanding.

"It was often hot, sandy, tough terrain and moving from small boats to remote beaches," added the founder of Gravity Industries.

"So I can honestly say four days in it was a significant physical and mental workout shooting over a dozen flights a day."

Think Bold

The two athletes helped push each other's limits with ideas for never-before-tried sequences.

Famous for his insane island-hopping jumps, one such stunt saw Tronet jump right over Browning while he was hovering mid-flight!

And "thinking bold" means trying things that don't always work out. One idea was for Browning to tow Tronet along the water using the jet pack.

Possibly doable, possibly dangerous.

As Browning started pulling, the drag brought him closer and closer to the water before he could get enough speed to pull Tronet.

The attempt had to be abandoned, but both are confident they could find a way to make it work in the future.

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