Okay, let's clear this up. Although there was a popular rumour round about the time Back to the Future II was released that real hoverboards existed, it is actually false. A fugazi. Bollocks. There were never any real, working hoverboards made, or even invented. The practical difficulties in using a thin piece of wood/plastic to lift a real live person off the ground are just too great. After all, the person's weight would vary greatly, they could be anything from a small child, to a big-assed adult. But it was such a cool story, everyone - including me at the time - really really wanted to believe it. Throw in a likely sounding sinister government keeping it away from us ("yeah, the government does cover stuff up, this is just like them") it virtually writes itself. "Hey! They've made real hoverboards! But they're not allowed to sell them, cause they're too dangerous. I want one..." Shame, really, I would have loved to have one.

If you want to hear it from the horse's mouth, check out www.bttf.com/film_faq.htm - an excellent FAQ with lots of interesting stuff if you love these movies like I do. Apparently old Bobby Zemeckis, see, he was having a bit of a giggle, right, and made a joke about hoverboards being real, and it was all just a bit fun... the cheeky scamp...

The closest thing at the moment is the Airboard, an Australian invention which is basically a mini hovercraft/skateboard. If you really want one, check out the website - www.airboard.com.au. When you see the pictures, and see how they've solved the problem of getting people off the ground, it's fairly obvious that the technology to make a proper, small Back to the Future II-style hoverboard probably won't be around for a hundred years or so.

Update: Roninspoon says The new Back to the Future boxed set perpetuates this myth in a convincing manner by showing the film clip where Zemeckis states that "they've been around for years, but parents groups thought they were too dangerous." The clip is presented without disclaimer and he says it completely straight faced. So convincing was this tidbit that my GF, a Mechanical Engineer with a Masters degree believed it.