A Hoverboard (or hover board) is a fictional hovering board used for personal transportation in the films Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III. Hoverboards resemble a skateboard without wheels or trucks. Through special effects the filmmakers depicted the boards hovering above the ground. During the 1990s there were rumors that hoverboards were not fictional and were in fact real. These rumors have been conclusively debunked . Some companies hoping to leverage the commercial success of the movies have marketed hovercraft vehicles as hoverboards, but these products have not been shown to replicate the experience depicted in the movies.

Back to the Future

In the Back to the Future series, the Hoverboard model was a hover device marketed by Mattel, invented between the years 1985 and 2015. These devices were capable of floating above almost any surface, but riders are still required to push off the ground with their feet to gain forward momentum, and therefore are often left helpless if left hovering above ice, water or other low traction surfaces. However, as shown in the film, the "Pitbull"-model Hoverboard, fitted with two rear-facing jets for propulsion, was capable of crossing water and similar surfaces.

The Hoverboard was first introduced in Back to the Future Part II when Marty McFly (under disguise as his son, Marty, Jr.) used it to get away from Griff Tannen and his gang. It helped Marty retrieve the almanac from 1955 Biff Tannen later in the movie. Later still, the Hoverboard played a role in the climactic scene of Back to the Future Part III and appeared multiple times in the animated series.

The original prop Hoverboard was on display at the Planet Hollywood in Beverly Hills until August 2000, when it was auctioned to a private party. Director Robert Zemeckis once joked that Hoverboards were real during an interview, where he claimed that the technology really existed, and parent groups simply would not allow toy manufacturers to produce and market them.

Popular culture

Video games

Hoverboards have made appearances in several video games, such as Streak: Hoverboard Racing, Hoverboard ASDF, Conker's Bad Fur Day, Kid Chameleon, Phantasy Star Universe, Jazz Jackrabbit, Jazz Jackrabbit 2, EyeToy: Antigrav, There, TrickStyle, Jak II, Jak 3, Unreal Tournament 3, Rocket Power: Beach Bandits, Ratchet and Clank, the Mega Man series and The Urbz: Sims in the City, DS and GBA version.

The Playstation 2 game Airblade was based completely around a hoverboard using next-generation anti-gravity technology.

In the video game Final Fantasy VIII, the character Zell Dincht is briefly seen riding a hoverboard-like device.

Xbox Live Arcade game Street Trace NYC is a futuristic hoverboard combat racing game.

In Unreal Tournament III's trailer a fighter is seen with a character on a hoverboard on the back firing a weapon. In fact, the player can ride a hoverboard at any time by pressing the square button when playing a warfare or vehicle capture the flag map.

In October 2007, the MMORPG Anarchy Online introduced hoverboards into the game as part of a system where subscribers can pay cash money to purchase in-game items.

The Sega video games Sonic Riders and Sonic Riders: Zero Gravity are based around hoverboards and other hovering vehicles.

In the game Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, when Darth Maul is unlocked, he rides a hoverboard.


On the television show MythBusters, Jamie Hyneman and his team built a makeshift hovercraft, dubbed the Hyneman Hoverboard, from a surfboard and leaf-blowers.

On an episode of Da Ali G Show, Ali G meets with institutional investors and suggests that they begin to market a hoverboard (which was just a skateboard with the wheels removed).

In the made-for-TV movie Futuresport, the contestants use hoverboards.


In some episodes of Zoids: Chaotic Century, Van Flyheight has a hoverboard. In the first episode, it aids him in his escape from an attacking Guysak. It is used in a few others, but after episode one, (Where he receives a Shield Liger to use, ridding him of the necessity of a hoverboard for transportation) it is rarely ever seen.

In an episode of Ben 10, Ben receives a hoverboard as a sort of gift from an alien belonging to Diamondhead's race named Tetrax. Tetrax is also known as "Hoverboard."

In the French animated series Code Lyoko, Odd's vehicle is a hoverboard called the Overboard.

In the anime Eureka Seven, Renton (and most of the other characters) ride(s) a bodyboard sized hovering surfboard that utilizes an atmospheric energy phenomenon, called trapar, as a means of lift and propulsion.

In the Hanna Barbera series The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, Jonny has a hoverboard that he uses frequently.

In the animated series Get Ed, Ed's primary mode of transportation is a transforming hoverboard.

The 1996 Flash Gordon cartoon series featured many characters using hoverboards. Most of the associated action figures featured hoverboards as accessories. In Transformers: The Movie, Daniel rides a hoverboard before hitting a rock and being caught by Hot Rod.

Near the end of the first part of the 2nd season finale of the 2003-2005 Cartoon Network series Duck Dodgers, Dodgers uses a hoverboard to quickly traverse a junk yard to get to his ship.

In the animated series ThunderCats, WilyKit and WilyKat frequently traveled by hoverboard.

In an episode of Jimmy Neutron, when the space aliens come to Retroville, Nick Dean is given a hoverboard as a present from the aliens.

In the animated children's series ReBoot, many of the show's characters fly around using devices called zip boards, which are somewhat similar to hoverboards, which consist of two circular disks (one for each foot), and a bent triangular piece of metal which connect the two discs.

In the animated seris Static Shock, Static receives a circular hovering device invented by Richie. It is powered by Static's electric powers.


In the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, hoverboards are featured prominently as a main form of transportation. In the books, hoverboards are powered by stored solar energy but rely on magnetism to work; they can travel over the magnetic grid that runs throughout the cities and over bodies of water that contain magnetic mineral deposits. Accessories used in conjunction with the hoverboards include belly sensors, navel-ring like devices that tell the board the rider's center of gravity; and crash bracelets, which stop the rider in mid-air to prevent serious injury in case of a fall. However, crash bracelets can also potentially harm the rider; if the rider falls from a great height, the sudden stop can cause arm and shoulder injuries.


Real world

Several companies have drawn on currently available hovercraft technology to create hoverboard-like products. Alternatively, the Airboard is a disc shaped hovercraft a bit over 6 ft in diameter, but does not resemble the Hoverboard depicted in Back to the Future II.

Rumors circulated in 2001 that inventor Dean Kamen's new invention, codenamed Ginger, was a transportation device resembling the Hoverboard. In reality Ginger was the Segway Human Transporter, a self-balancing two-wheeled electric transportation device.


External links

  • Space Magnetics Experiments with gravity repelling technology and magnetic shielding
  • Jason Bradbury DIY Hoverboard: Walk-through
  • Hovertech Developer of Plasmagnetic Levitation, ferrofluid levitation, and other levitation methods

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