Rob Lowe is about to experience a ‘Jetsons’ moment. Standing on the shore of Newport Beach, California, the actor is being strapped into a Jetlev R200 – a water-powered jetpack – by a pair of young women in wetsuits and bikini tops, preparing to send him high into the air or to splash back into the drink. Just like ‘Iron Man’ or ‘Star Wars’ bounty hunter Boba Fett.
“I’m appropriately, respectfully frightened,” Lowe says with a smile. “But not enough to keep me from doing it. I love adrenaline sports, something where I can get outside my comfort zone. I like to push myself like a 49-year-old breadwinner.”
Lowe is here as an advisor and human test dummy in service of InsideHook, a lifestyle tip-sheet for busy, affluent men of action in their 30s to mid-50s. The actor is a partner and celebrity concierge for the new Los Angeles branch of the service, which began last year in New York, with plans for more cities in 2013. Aside from the jetpack ride, Lowe’s e-mailed tips from his hometown (he grew up in Malibu) will include a stop at the Apple Pan, a classic only-in-L.A. restaurant known for achingly traditional burgers and pies, and other favorite spots for action and leisure. As a new addition to InsideHook’s team of advisors, editors, and other celebrity contributors (including actor Ed Burns), Lowe plans to continue feeding the tip-sheet on places to eat and drink, gadgets, gear, music and movies, style and vacation spots, as well periodically make a point of sharing bits of obscure Los Angeles history, as only a native can.
His instructor in aviator shades is Dean O’Malley, who set a jetpack record with a 26-mile flight from the SoCal shore to Catalina Island. It took five hours. Lowe will not be in the air nearly so long. His first moments attached to the 25-pound Jetlev (anchored to a 33-foot hose) send him teetering face-first into the water, ankles in the air. “It’s just like snowboarding,” says Jetlev Southwest cofounder Katie Morris. “The first time you’re going to suck.”
Lowe dangles in the air, drops and soars, and soon he’s cruising over the surface, beaming and waving to the cameras like he’s at the Hollywood Christmas Parade. “Once you get the hang of it, it’s going to be natural,” Lowe says a half-hour later, toweling off. “It’s the right mixture of not thinking but still concentrating.” In other words: Use the Force, Luke.
Watching it all happen is InsideHook cofounder Jonathan Keidan, who also took a turn in the water and sky. He and partner Andy Russell first met with Lowe in fall 2012 and found a kindred adventurer. “It’s about getting guys outdoors, trying new adventures, just getting a thrill out of life,” says Keidan. “He’s a family guy, he’s got a very successful career, he’s incredibly curious and adventurous. And he actually pursues that stuff. He doesn’t just talk about it. He does it.”
More information: Sign up for the free daily e-mail at insidehook.com for local guides for L.A. and New York, plus a national guide for places and adventures worth traveling for.