Hoverboards look one step close to becoming a commercial reality after Frenchman Franky Zapata set a new world record on one this weekend.
Zapata piloted his Flyboard Air - a jet-powered device that looks like the one flown by the Green Goblin in Spiderman - for 2.2km over the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Sausset-les-Pins in France at a height of 50 metres above the water.
"The jet-powered device looks like the one flown by the Green Goblin in Spiderman"
The Guinness Book of Records were on hand to ensure that the feat met all the criteria to break the record set last year by Canadian inventor Caitlan Alexandru Duru. Zapata flew eight times the distance achieved by Duru, who only managed 275 metres.
The Flyboard Air which set the record is a development of the Flyboard, a water-powered hoverboard invented by Zapata in 2011, which has since become popular around the world (Mpora tried Flyboarding in the UK for ourselves in 2014).
Developed by Franky's company Zapata Racing, the machine is apparently capable of up to 10 minutes of continuous flight at a maximum height of 10,000 feet and has a seriously impressive top speed of 150 km/h! Unlike the Flyboard, which must be attached to a jetski, the Flyboard Air has its own internal "independent propulsion unit" and can fly hose free.
"This has really been a life's work," Zapata said following the feat, according to the Guinness Book of Records.
As well as inventing, the crazy Frenchman has previous with breaking records, having set the (admittedly obscure) world record for "most backflips with a water jet pack in one minute" back in 2014. But if that record didn't exactly set the world alight, this latest one is genuinely impressive. And the machine has made a huge splash.
This video of an early Flyboard Air test flight from earlier this year went viral, attracting more than four million views.
Zapata admitted before this record that "It's a pure prototype, I have a thousand reasons that something could fail." But given its success surely it won't be long before Zapata racing put the Flyboard Air into production? And how cool would that be?
It would certainly cut the owners of these ridiculous non-hovering "hoverboards" down to size anyway, which could only be a good thing...