French jet ski champion smashes world hoverboard record [Video]

Franky Zapata just blew past this coveted world record on his state-of-the-art hoverboard – watch it here.

The technology to make a small craft hover has been around for a while, but nobody has really taken the idea of making a functional hoverboard seriously until very recently. And as the technology advances, so do the skills of the people who use it.

According to a report from Engadget, French jet ski champion Franky Zapata has shocked the world by putting one of the most advanced hoverboards available to the test. The French athlete set a new Guinness World Record for the farthest hoverboard flight ever recorded.

The landmark flight took place off the coast of Sausset-les-Pins in southern France. Zapata cruised on his hoverboard for 2,252 meters, or roughly 7,388 feet – well over a mile. The previous record was set by Canadian inventor Catalin Alexandru Duru last year, who flew just 275.9 meters, or 905 feet, 2 inches, on his hoverboard.

At the heart of the amazing feat is Zapata’s self-invented hoverboard. A video surfaced online of Zapata riding the board last month, and many viewers couldn’t believe their eyes. The “Flyboard Air” improves on previous designs that used high-powered water jets to propel a rider above the surface of the water. The new version ditches the cumbersome hose and pump system and can supposedly reach heights of 10,000 feet and travel as fast as 93 miles per hour.

It took Zapata nearly four years to finish designing and developing the Flyboard Air. It runs on four 250-horsepower jet engines, and is powered by Jet A1 kerosene that is kept in a backpack. The pilot steers the vehicle by leaning in and out of turns and controls the engine with a hand-held remote.

Zapata says that there are currently numerous challenges to commercializing the Flyboard Air. “If everybody wants a Flyboard Air,” he says,” We have to work with the government, we have to work with liability, we have to work on a thousand things. But why not?”

You can watch the Flyboard Air in action here.

A press release from Guinness World Records describing the amazing feat can be found here.

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