Jet-Powered Hoverboard Rider Plans Channel Crossing/Death Attempt

By Gary Cutlack on at

A French inventor, best known for creating the water-jet hoverboard that thrills tourists at posh holiday destinations, is about to attempt a modern assault on the Channel-crossing record; becoming the first person to do it on a jet-powered hoverboard.

Franky Zapata plans to whizz from Sangatte on the French side to St Margaret's Bay over here on Thursday, and could do so in as few as 20 minutes, as long as his mid-Channel refuelling stop goes as planned and he doesn't clang off the side of too many container ships.

He's already proven the tech in style with his strafing of the Bastille Day celebrations, although this is a vastly harder challenge that he expects to... fail. Zapaty told the Parisien that: "I used 3 per cent  of the machine's capabilities [on Bastille Day] and I'll need 99 per cent for the Channel. It won't be easy at all and I reckon I've a 30 per cent chance of succeeding."

We're not sure if that means there's a 70 per cent chance of him smashing into the sea at 80mph and separating himself into component pieces like a Lego minifig, or that there's merely a 70 per cent chance of getting his hair wet and being fished out of the sea by support vessels and having to do lots of sheepish Gallic shrugging to the media. Either way it should generate some decent headcam footage. [Guardian]