Ever since Back to the Future 2 arrived in theaters, fans have been fixated on one thing: the hoverboard. If we consider the film's October 2015 setting as a deadline, we've grinded at the bit for the last 25 years. In that time, we've seen hoverboard-inspired electric vehicles, virtual reality rigs, and even outright hoaxes try to match the emotional power of what we first saw in 1989. What we haven't seen is a real-life skateboard hovercraft — at least we hadn't until recently.
Dubbed the HoverSkater, this is a real hoverboard. What it isn't, is what we were hoping for. Outfitted with both wheels and a hovercraft-style air cushion, the HoverSkater is immediately at odds with itself. The wheels look like the sort you had on your first bike when you were seven. The air cushion whirs loudly, making you feel like you're riding a vacuum cleaner — and that's not even the worst of it. Lifting the skateboard off the ground, the air cushion shows off a serious problem that modern hoverboards will need to overcome: loss of traction.
While the HoverSkater, air cushion does allow it to fly over terrain too loose for wheels, it's not just water that foils this flying skateboard. Without pushing off against the ground, even the HoverSkater's most talented rider would grind to a halt almost immediately. It's near sacrilege, but if hoverboards are to take after today's hovercraft, it looks like the only way they'll work at all is if they sport engines like Griff Tannen's Pit Bull. The HoverSkater is currently funding over on Kickstarter, where you can pick up one of these odd ducks for $1,400. We're gonna hold out for the jet-powered version.