The Pretty Darn Comprehensive Fat Boys Blob Setup Guide

Disclaimer:   The Fat Boys Blob is a launch pad and like all launch pads, there is an inherent risk to using it.  Even if used properly, these safety tips are not a guarantee that you will be free from injury on the Fat Boy.  Jump and launch at your own discretion.  Fat Boys is not liable for any injury that may arise from the use of the Fat Boy.  These safety precautions are guidelines that may reduce the risk of injury.

The following safety tips are centered on jumping and launching from the Fat Boy. The Production Blueprints page provides instructions on setting up a professional Fat Boys Blob launch site.

Production Setup

Fat Boys has worked on a lot of professional sets for movies and TV shows.  We’ve seen some pretty incredible setups over the years and I plan on sharing all the tips  and secrets that the big boys use to make their client experience as safe and enjoyable as possible.

The same disclaimer applies to this page as to all others:  you understand and assume the risk of injury associated with using a Fat Boy and these suggestions are merely guidelines that may or may not reduce the risk of injury.

Platform Specs:

Height: 15 – 20ft

Platform heights typically range from 15ft to 20ft.  We’ve also seen double decker platforms that have a lower level and a higher level.  The lower level is for beginner jumpers to get their bearings and practice jumping onto the Fat Boys Blob before trying the higher level.  It’s also a convenient way for the blobber to  get to the end of the Fat Boy.   

Pro Tip:  We get asked a lot regarding platform height.  Does a higher platform guarantee a higher launch?  The answer is surprisingly no!  However, a higher platform does increase the risk of injury for the jumpers.   Think about the physics here:  Force = Mass x Acceleration.  A greater force hitting the launch pad creates a greater energy transfer to the blobber getting launched.   If you double the weight of the jumpers you can double the force hitting the Fat Boy.  If you increase the height by 5 feet, it’s true that you’ve increased the potential to kinetic energy transfer, however only marginally.  Height does not place nearly as big of a factor into launch height as mass hitting the launch pad does. This is why we recommend a platform of 15ft to 20ft.  To further drive this point home, I’ve seen a grown man get launched 35ft from a 3ft drop from the cliff to the Fat Boy…  They had 5 people drop onto the launch pad and the guy was shot to the moon (please do not try that!).

Stairs:

Make sure your stairs have guardrails on all sides.  Use an anti-slip material on the steps to prevent slippage when wet.

Platform:

The jumping platform should be wide enough for 4-8 people and a guardrail should surround the platform. The platform should ideally have a plank that is approximately 2 feet out over the Fat Boy.  This plank minimizes the risk of someone falling between the platform and the Fat Boy.  Place a non-slip material on the floor.  We recommend a waterproof gymnastic mat.  They are cushy and feel nice to walk on.  Little additions like the floor matt help your clients feel safer while on the platform.

Foam Padding:

Foam padding is a great safety precaution for your platform.  The best setups place this on every pole that juts out and on any dangerous edge.  On the platform, if you have multiple levels, place padding on any pole or on the ceiling close to the launch area.  In the water, cover all ropes with foam padding to reduce the risk that a person falls onto a rope and injures themselves.   You should also pad the bottom of the platform underneath the launch platform.

Platform Walls:

We recommend placing a mesh net around the platform itself (see picture). The platform becomes less intimidating when it looks like a solid structure and it adds a small, extra layer of protection.  Additionally, now you have a perfect spot to add your logo or a marketing banner across the front.  A Fat Boy will become the most photographed structure at your facility.  Your platform is prime marketing real estate!

Platform Width:

The platform should be wide enough for at least 3 people to be on the edge comfortably.  The most ideal setup is to have a safety officer at the top of the platform next to the jumper.

Fat Boys Setup:

Setup Time:  60 minutes (fastest setup on the market!)

Necessary Equipment:

  • Fat Boys Body
  • Fat Boys Buoys
  • Rope
  • Leaf Blower
  • Air Mattress Blower
  • Anchors (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Unravel the body and buoys
  2. Blow up the body using a leaf blower  (20 mins)
  3. Blow up the buoys using the air mattress blower  (20 mins)
  4. Cable fasten the buoys to the Fat Boy
  5. Place securely in the water and fasten to the shore with ropes or to the lake bottom with anchors.

Inflation Tip:

Blow the Fat Boy up to about 60% inflation.  There is no pressure gauge on the Fat Boy because the psi is too low to get a good reading.  The best way to know if the Fat Boy is at the right inflation level is to test it by placing a blobber into the pod.

The Fat Boy is most effective when the blobber sits deep into the red pod. To illustrate this principle, think about the Fat Boy like a medieval catapult.  To get full range of motion out of the ‘catapult’, the blobber needs to sit deep into the pod.  An over inflated Fat Boy is like a catapult that only has a 10 degree range of motion.  

Bonus Tip: the pod is one of the features that makes the Fat Boy so much more effective than all other launch pads.  If you look at most launch pads, the blobber sits 1 -2 feet into them, but a blobber on the Fat Boy is engulfed into the pod, allowing full range of motion!

Fat Boy Stability

One unique feature of the Fat Boys Blob is how stable it is on the water.  Fat Boys is the only launch pad on the market that does not roll when placed onto the water without ropes.  You can literally jump from anywhere, even a boat in the middle of the ocean (making the Fat Boy the only launch pad for houseboats and yachts).  Additionally, the Fat Boy increases safety because you do not need to place ropes in precarious places where jumpers or blobbers may land on them and get hurt.

Fastening the Fat Boys Blob® Securely

Every setup is different so I am going to give general safety tips.  When securing the Fat Boy, make sure your ropes are out of the way of jumpers.  If you must rope the Fat Boy to shore, do it in a place where it would be very difficult for jumpers or blobbers to fall onto the rope.  The ends of the Buoys have D-Rings and since this is out of the jumping area and the flight path of the blobber, this tends to be the most popular place to fasten the Fat Boy.   Ideal would be to anchor from the D-Ring to the lake floor directly under the Fat Boy, but this is not always possible.

At the back of the Fat Boy, ensuring that the rope connection arches outward from the Fat Boy reduces the risk of a jumper falling between the platform and the water launch pad.

Equipment

Equipment:

6+ US Coast Guard approved life jackets

6+ Helmets ***

1-2 Boats for pickup and rescue

Supplemental Equipment Notes:

PA System:

Lots of people will want to hang out and watch the launches.  A music system is a great tool to keep people happy during the show.

Helmet Types:

Most summer camps use hard hat water helmets (such as the kind used for white water rafting).

The professional film sets I’ve worked on all use scrum caps (rugby helmets).  Scrum caps are soft shelled, wrap around your head, and cost only $15-$20 on amazon.  Now they will not protect from injury if you hit your head on something hard like a rock or pole, but they have two unique advantages over traditional hard hats:  1)  scrum caps are soft shelled and if two jumpers drop onto the Fat Boy the scrum cap greatly reduces impact of the helmet against an arm or any other body part and 2) scrum caps cover more of the head than a traditional water helmet.  They are also more comfortable than helmets but that is less important.  Are they safer?  You have to decide this for your Fat Boys setup, but I really like them!

Boat Types:

You don’t want too many boats in the water near the landing zone because you don’t want blobbers hitting a boat on the launch.  The ideal boat is fast and rescue a jumper or blobber quickly if there is danger.  Jet Skis are great for this.

Another type of boat that we like is the Fat Boys Stand Up Paddle Board.  They’re relatively inexpensive, inflatable, extremely maneuverable, and make for great fun on the lake!

Waiver:

Everyone who touches foot on the premise should sign a waiver.  When you buy a Fat Boy, we will create a personalized electronic waiver that is hosted on the Fat Boys site with a dedicated URL that you can give your guests to sign.  They can pull the waiver up on their phone and sign it quickly.  All waiver signatures are emailed to you and are stored in your dedicated, private Google drive folder

Aeration System:

Aerating the water makes a huge difference for those dropping into the water.  Stunt teams on movie sets almost always use an aeration system because the bubbles disrupt the surface of the water and make it less ‘hard’ when hitting the water.

An aeration system isn’t too difficult to create.  Go to Home Depot and buy tubing, an air generator, and a box or piping with tiny holes in it for the air to come out.  Fix the hose to the pipes and generator and place it deep into the water to create bubbles in the landing zone (note, if you decide to create this, please contact us as we want to place a picture on our site).

Be sure to keep the hose and system out of the way of the landing zone so as not to come in contact with the launcher.  Ideally you will anchor this to the lake bottom  Also, remember that you are less buoyant in this aeration area so make sure that all blobbers are wearing life jackets and test the strength of the aeration system to make sure it’s not blowing air too forcefully.  

Personnel:                                                    

At a minimum you want at least a Lifeguard and a Platform Safety Officer on duty at all times.

Lifeguard:

Place the lifeguard on the rescue boat in the water.  He will make sure the jumper and the blobber had a safe experience and will guide them to the shore safely after the launch.

Platform Safety Officer (PSO):

The PSO’s jobs include:

  1. Ensuring that the landing zone and Fat Boy are clear from debris and people before new jumpers and blobbers setup.
  2. Instruct the blobber on how to safely embark onto the Fat Boy (either from jumping from the platform or climbing up from the buoy and onto the front)
  3. Instruct the jumpers how to safely jump onto the Fat Boy (see Safety Brief)
  4. Count down slowly and loudly for the jumper: ‘3  2   1 See Ya!’   Counting slowly makes the jumper less nervous and a loud count allows for others to join in.  The count also alerts and prepares the blobber for the launch.  Instruct the jumper to yell something like “Fat Boys” or “See Ya” on launch.  This relaxes the jumper by taking his mind off of the jump, further reducing the risk of injury.
  5. Ensure overall safety of the site and platform.  Do not let too many people up to the top of the platform at once.

Conclusion:

That’s everything you need to know to get started!  If you have any further questions, call or email us and we’ll be happy to help you.  We take safety very seriously at Fat Boys and will spend as much time as you need consulting you on how to make your operation as safe as possible.

Fat Boys Safety Guidelines:

Legal Disclaimer:  Every Fat Boy setup is different and Fat Boys is not liable for any injury caused by improper setup of your platform or use of the Fat Boys Blob.  The instructions below are guidelines to abide by for proper safety and do not guarantee or prevent injury.  You should have every user sign a waiver.  When you purchase a Fat Boy, your company also signs a waiver from us releasing liability.  This product is inherently dangerous. Your mothers might cringe watching blobbing footage.  The following guidelines help to reduce the risk of injury but do not guarantee that it will prevent injury.  Read carefully.

KEY:
Jumper:  
The person jumping from the platform onto the Fat Boys Blob®

Blobber:  The person getting launched.

Padding & Ropes:

  1. When securing the Fat Boy, do not put ropes directly under the platform between the blob and the platform.  There is a small risk of a jumper hitting the ropes when jumping onto the Fat Boy.  In general, you want to think about rope placement so that they do not pose a risk to the blobbers or the jumpers.
  2. The Buoys have D-Rings on the end closest to the blobber.  These rings present less risk of injury to the blobbers and jumpers than the rings closest to the jumpers.  
  3. When possible, anchor the ropes down into the water instead of to the shore to reduce the risk of the ropes snagging a jumper or blobber.
  4. All exposed ropes should have padding around them.  

Water Depth and Water Safety:

  1. A blobber has a launch radius of around  40 ft from the tip of the Fat Boy.  Ensure that this area is clear from danger, including swimmers and debris.
  2. A minimum water depth of 10ft around the Fat Boy and the launch area  is recommended.  This water depth includes where people jump onto the Fat Boy.
  3. Before launching one should carefully survey the water to ensure no debris or objects are in the landing zone.  This is especially important on rivers and after rain storms.

Jumper Safety:

  1. Jumpers should have a safety brief before jumping onto the Fat Boy.  
  2. All jumpers should wear a US Coast Guard approved flotation device and helmet.  
  3. Cross your arms when you jump.  Some jumpers also cross their legs, however, a more stable approach is to kick your legs out so that they do not hit the Fat Boy first.  The jumper’s  butt or lower back should hit first.  A wider base is also better for distributing the weight evenly on landing and thus we do not recommend crossing your legs but keeping them slightly open.  
  4. Aim to have your butt land first on the black dot.  Feet up and lean back.
  5. It is never recommended to jump more than one person onto the Fat Boy at a time.  Unfortunately, a lot of Fat Boys owners are crazy and want to see their blobbers go to the moon and back by dropping multiple people onto the Fat Boy so I will provide additional safety instructions on this process anyway (it’s like mothers teaching their daughters birth control - you never want them to use the information but it’s better than your daughter having a teenage baby):
    1.  The inherent danger in dropping 2 or more people onto the Fat Boy is two fold: the jumpers may collide causing injury on impact and the jumpers may land at different times, creating a harder impact for the late arriving jumper onto the Fat Boy.  Unsynchronized jumper landings may also mess up the blobber’s launch some, as the forward momentum now has a wave effect from two jumpers landing at different times onto the Fat Boy, causing an erratic launch of the blobber.  
    2. Time the launch by counting down “3  2   1  See ya”  and ensure that one does not jump higher than the other.  
    3. Pick a side of the black dot to aim for.
    4. Ideal is two jumpers of the same weight and size. For example, the risk of injury increases if 300lb Bubba jumps with 100lb Johnny because Bubba may land on top of Johnny and crush him.  
  6. Generally it is a good practice to have your jumpers jump onto the Fat Boys Blob® with no blobber on the end first so that they get accustomed to falling properly onto the water launch pad. In this case, the launch pad is generally soft and breaks impact really well.   
    1. If you decide to jump two onto the Fat Boy, and again this is highly advised against, then the opposite is true: do not jump without a blobber on the end because the risk of the blob entirely deflating on a late jumper is greater.   

Blobber Safety:

  1. How to Sit:  there are various styles to sitting on the Fat Boy and testing is important.  
    1. From a physics standpoint, the most optimum launch occurs when you are the smallest surface area (e.g. a cannon ball), creating a bigger impulse on launch.  Think about a needle poking your skin versus a finger - the same amount of pressure from a smaller surface area hurts more.  The smaller your surface area, the greater the launch impulse.
    2. The above point is true, but not practical.  You have absolutely no launch control if you sit in a cannonball shape.  Ideal is to center your weight on your butt and lower back and have your arms and legs out to stabilize you when getting launched.  No weight is placed on the legs and arms but they are there to keep you from flailing mercilessly like a chicken with his head cut off.
    3. There are white tick marks on the end of the Fat Boy.  Use them to find the optimal position to sit in.  The optimal position will change based on the weight of the jumpers and the internal pressure of the Fat Boy.  I like to do a slow motion video of a launch and if the blobber is coming out of the Fat Boy at the pod’s inflation apex, then the blobber is in the right position (meaning during launch, the blobber is maximizing time connected to the Fat Boy)
  2. Controlling your launch:  this one you just need to feel out.  When you go high, a small turn of the head can change your momentum a

Controlling Launch Height:

  1. Controlling Launch Height: While results will vary, we’ve tested a few    scenarios and have come up with some ‘anticipated’ results based on jumping from a 20ft platform onto the large Fat Boy:
    1. Weight Ratio (jumper to blobber):  1:1.    Height: 60-75% Platform Height
    2. Weight Ratio 1.5:1. Height:  90-100% Platform Height
    3. Weight Ratio:  2.5:1.  Height: 110-140% Platform Height
    4. Weight Ratio :  5:1.  Height:  You will need a parachute to safely land this one. Do not attempt!