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The Hoverboard Hoax

March 14, 2014

We recently told you about Nike’s plans to release footwear inspired by the electronic sneakers that Marty McFly wore in Back to the Future Part II. But there’s another product from that movie fans want to be a reality: hoverboards.

hovercraft hoaxIf you grew up in the ’80s and ’90s, there’s a good chance that you asked for one of these flying skateboards for a birthday at some point. Engineers and toymakers have been actively trying to build a prototype since BTTF2 came out in 1989. Until recently, it seemed like it would be at least another decade or two.

Or maybe not. In early March, millions came across two videos put together by HUVr, a company claiming to have created a hoverboard just like the one that Marty uses in the film. The videos feature famous folks like Moby, Tony Hawk, Terrell Owens, and indie rocker Bethany Consantino taking the board for a spin in a parking lot. Christopher Lloyd, who played inventor Dr. Emmett Brown in Back to the Future even filmed an introduction.

The video is pretty convincing, as are HUVr’s website and its Facebook page, so if you thought the hoverboards were the real deal, well, you’re not alone—HUVr’s videos have reached 12 million views. Unfortunately, the whole thing was an elaborate prank. The “engineer” in the video is actually an actor named Nelson Cheng. If you look closely, you can also see the shadows of the cranes used to hold up the celebrities as they buzz around on the fake hoverboard.

What wasn’t immediately apparent, however, was who organized the prank. Some people theorized that it was part of a crazy scheme to promote a Tony Hawk-themed video game. Others figured that Nike’s advertising department must have been behind it.

Those responsible for the prank came clean a few days later. It was the comedy website Funny or Die. To apologize, they decided to give away one of the boards used in the video and it’s been autographed by all the celebs involved.

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