The reality of living the dream and cruising the streets on a hoverboard like some futuristic duke of dude and cowboy of cool has just inched ever closer for Back to the Future fans everywhere, thanks to the tenacity and ambition of Texas man Ryan Craven.
Since Marty McFly jumped off the sidewalk and surfed (well almost) to the stars on a hoverboard in Back to the Future II, anyone who's ever stepped on a board of any kind has had a strange kind of yearning to ride a magic board that hovers, flies, and carves through space like a hot knife through butter.
Just recently, Back to the Future fans were intrigued to learn of a magnetically-powered hoverboard prototype that was being developed by California start-up Hendo. The Hendo hoverboard is loud, clumsy, and kind of ugly looking, but the important thing is it works.
The legendary virtuoso of vert and the skater who put the bones into the Bones Brigade, Mr. Tony Hawk, got to try out a Hendo Hover, and it's not hard to see that even beneath the feet of a man who is universally considered as the chairman of the "board," the Hendo Hover needs a little tweaking to give it that all important Back to the Future factor and transform your average boarder into a silver surfer and king of the cosmos.
Hendo, which used a Kickstarter campaign to produce its hoverboards, has a limited supply of fund for development and production. As such, the 10 Hendo Hovers produced to date have had a $10,000 price tag, which is a little too steep for a board that doesn't really work the way Back to the Future II promised us hover boards would work come 2015.
Then straight out of Texas comes a 27-year-old man called Ryan Craven, who claims to have built a fully functioning hoverboard using using four leaf blowers, a 4-foot-by-4-foot (1.2 by 1.2 metre) piece of plywood, a skateboard deck, shower liner, coffee can lids, and gaffer tape.
What's more he said he created it for just $250, and according to the Daily Mail, claims that anyone can build their own in eight steps using simple tools that include a tape measure, sand paper, staple gun and a hole saw.
"I'm a huge 'Back to the Future' fan and always wanted to build one,' he said. 'I saw the Kickstarter campaign with Tony Hawk and thought it was the perfect time to try building one. It can move quite a bit once it's going, and despite the steering issue, which really isn't quite there, you can go quite far and move a little bit."
The waiter from Texas added that his design is basically a miniature version of a hovercraft and has released instructions for anyone wishing to try their hand at making one themselves.
"The 'Back to the Future' hoverboard has always been the impossible dream, but I wanted to make a real hoverboard that was accessible and workable and fun to use, and not too expensive. There are so many variations of skateboard and this one could easily end up being just another variation. But I would love for people to take my idea and develop it to the point where it becomes universal."
Mr. Craven is not a designer or inventor, and confesses his first prototypes are far from perfect, but believes his design has big potential.
"I'm not an engineer. I work in a restaurant, so it's pretty naive of me to buy four leaf blowers. The process is very chaotic and it's so much easier to fail than to succeed. I'm pretty much broke all the time usually and if people want to donate then that would be wonderful."
Hoverboards are a long way off the sort of futuristic, gravity-defying decks capable of carving the sort of lines that would turn Shakespeare green with envy, but hope hovers eternal.
[Picture via Ryan Craven and the Daily Mail]