Watch this Hoverboard go the Distance in 360°

Jet ski champion and Frenchmen Franky Zapata set a new record for the longest hoverboard flight on 30th April. The Flyboard Air – which could hail a new era in personal mobility – flew for 2,252 metres at a maximum height of 50 metres, surpassing the previous record by leaps and bounds. Previous record holder, Catalin Alexandru Duru, flew a hoverboard of his own design for a distance of 275.9 metres and at a height of 5 metres.

Zapata Racing, the pilot’s eponymous company which produced the hoverboard, has just released a 360° footage of the record-breaking flight that took place off the coast of Sausset-les-Pins, France. It is, as a Guinness World Records adjudicator who was there said, “a phenomenal sight to see”.

Here’s another video that was released earlier if the 360° feature just annoys you and you like to keep life simple:

Since Marty McFly fled from bullies on a hoverboard in the 1989 classic, Back to the Future II, there has been number of prototypes that have tried to make movie magic into reality – there was the incredibly suave but decidedly impractical one by Lexus and the more realistic one by Hendo, though still limited in where it can go.

The Flyboard Air outperforms rivals in distance and height, though not in ride-time. Zapata Racing claims that the device can climb up to over 3,000 metres and has a top speed of 93mph. However, it has only 10 minutes of autonomous flight, and we wouldn’t want to be that high up in the air when the “Independent Propulsion Unit” shuts down. The prototype is kept low and only flown over lakes for testing; that’s wise, we think, unless the test pilot is also an expert parachuter.

The Flyboard Air will still be in the prototyping phase for awhile, but Zapata Racing already has a range of water-propelled devices on the market; those are tethered to a watercraft by a long hose, but they look like a real good time, nonetheless. Have US$5,500 to spare?

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