For Franky Zapata of Zapata Racing — the company behind sensational and insane products like the “dolphin jetpack” and the Flyboard Air — the sky isn’t only literally the limit for hoverboarding, it’s also the ultimate goal. And in his latest step toward making surfing through the skies on what is essentially the Goblin Glider a reality, Zapata broke the Guinness World Record for longest hoverboard flight, flying for a distance of 7,388 feet.
Reports of Zapata’s record-breaking flight note that the previous record for world’s longest hoverboard flight was set last year by Canadian engineer Catalin Alexandre Duru, who used a propeller-based craft to cruise for a relatively scant 905 feet. Duru also only maintained an average height of about 15 feet over the water during his flight, whereas Zapata zipped through the air at an average altitude of about 100 feet. Zapata also set the new record in Sausset-les-Pins, France, in front of a crowd of around 200 people, and a small fleet of jet skis and boats full of people chasing and cheering after him. (This man knows how to put on a show.)
Zapata was able to destroy the previous hoverboard flight record thanks to the Flyboard Air’s tech, which has been in development for over five years. It’s a serious departure from the dolphin jetpack, the board Duru used, and pretty much any other hoverboard on — hovering above? — the face of the planet. It uses four 250-horsepower turboengines (yes, that’s a combined 1,000 horsepower), which are in the sonic foreground for most of the video. As for the fuel, it’s A1 kerosene and it was stored in a pack on Zapata’s back.
The Flyboard Air was revealed earlier this year, along with a list of its insane stats, including a top speed of 93 miles per hour and a top altitude of 10,000 feet (a height that would easily allow you to skydive back down to Earth). And while this may all seem like a bit much for a hoverboard — Marty had plenty of fun just a few inches off the ground — Zapata says that his goal “is to ride the clouds. Do like snowboarding in the powder, but… in a cloud.” He says that “if people are able to fly like this, they can be some kind of superhuman,” and “they can help save people in this completely mad world.” It sounds great, as long as we don’t let Norman Osborn have one.
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Images: Amar Toor