‘Drone surfing’ is exactly what you think it is

Drone surfing is now a thing.

You might not think a remotely controlled copter would be strong enough to pull you along on a skim board, but at full power and with calm weather conditions, Freefly’s professional ALTA 8 flying machine will happily replace your kite and tow you rapidly out into the open sea. And hopefully back again.

Washington-based Freefly recently shot a “drone surfing” video to demonstrate the power of its heavy-duty ALTA 8 octocopter, which the company has designed to carry “the largest cinema payloads on the market,” or pretty much any object weighing up to 20 pounds.

The water-based fun doesn’t come cheap with this particular kit, however, as Freefly’s machine will set you back a hefty $17,500. Yes, a kite is certainly cheaper – but a lot less fun.

The drone surfer in the video takes a sprint to get started, but once he’s on the water the octocopter takes him along at a decent clip.

Despite a few posters on Freefly’s Facebook page doubting the video’s authenticity, the company’s creative director, Hugh Bell, insisted to Mashable that “the video and clips are indeed 100 percent real,” adding, “The ALTA is the only thing pulling the boarder.”

This isn’t, however, the first time we’ve seen a drone pulling someone along on a board. Back in February, snowboarding enthusiast Kaspars Balamovskis gave the huskies a rest and used a super-sized Aerones flying machine to tow him along instead.

And just to prove that drones don’t have to be expensive and massive to help out with board-based sports, YouTuber Valplushka earlier this year posted a video of a smaller 4-pound quadcopter pulling along a kid in the snow, albeit at a speed likely to send most adrenalin junkies to sleep.

Product Review

Fitbit’s Inspire HR fitness tracker nails the basics and keeps the price low

Fitbit targets the new user with the Inspire HR, a low-cost, lightweight fitness tracker that covers all the basics. I put the device through its paces. It not only lived up to our expectations for an entry-level tracker, but sometimes…
Gaming

From fatalities to new characters, here's what we know about Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat 11 releases April 23 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Here is everything we know about NetherRealm's latest fighting game, including its characters.
Gaming

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Product Review

What do you do with 187 megapixels? The Lumix S1R is glorious overkill

The Lumix S1R is one of the most capable cameras ever made, from its robust build to extensive feature set. But its key feature, a 187MP high resolution mode, is something few customers will have use for.
Emerging Tech

Unexpected particle plumes discovered jetting out of asteroid Bennu

The OSIRIS-REx craft traveled to asteroid Bennu last year and won't return until 2023. But the mission is already throwing up unexpected findings, like plumes of particles which are being ejected from the surface of the asteroid.
Emerging Tech

Trip to Neptune’s moon, Triton, could inform search for extraterrestrial life

NASA has proposed sending a craft to Neptune to study its largest moon, Triton. Studying Triton could offer clues to how liquid water is maintained on planets, which may indicate what to look for when searching for life beyond our planet.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover passes its tests with flying colors

The Mars 2020 rover team has been undertaking a series of tests to see if the craft will be able to launch, navigate, and land on the Red Planet. Called Systems Test 1, or ST1, these tests represent the first test drive of the new rover.
Outdoors

Light up the night! Here are the five best headlamps money can buy

Headlamps make all the difference when camping or walking the dog at night, especially when you're in need of both hands. From Petzl to Tikkid, here are some of the best headlamps on the market.
Emerging Tech

A hive of activity: Using honeybees to measure urban pollution

According to a new study from Vancouver, bees could help us understand urban pollution. Scientists have found an innovative way to measure the level of source of pollution in urban environments: by analyzing honey.
Emerging Tech

Spacewalk a success as astronauts upgrade batteries on the ISS

The International Space Station was treated to some new batteries on Friday, thanks to two NASA astronauts who took a spacewalk for nearly seven hours in order to complete the upgrades.
Emerging Tech

Asteroid Ryugu is porous, shaped like a spinning top, and is formed of rubble

The Japanese Space Agency has been exploring a distant asteroid named Ryugu with its probe, Hayabusa 2. Now the first results from study of the asteroid are in, with three new papers published.
Emerging Tech

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a super-speedy pulsar

A super-speedy pulsar has been spotted dashing across the sky, discovered using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and the Very Large Array. The pulsar is traveling at a breathtaking 2.5 million miles an hour.
Emerging Tech

Chilean telescope uncovers one of the oldest star clusters in the galaxy

An ultra-high definition image captured by the Gemini South telescope in Chile has uncovered one of the oldest star clusters in the Milky Way. The cluster, called HP 1, could give clues to how our galaxy was formed billions of years ago.