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I'm building a hovercraft based on the blueprints of a popular kit hovercraft, modified to look like a Delorean. I need funding to finish the project.
I'm building a hovercraft based on the blueprints of a popular kit hovercraft, modified to look like a Delorean. I need funding to finish the project.
150 backers pledged $5,644 to help bring this project to life.

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Want a ride in my hovercraft?


Hello! It's been over a year since my last kickstarter update, when I told you all about the trials and tribulations the hovercraft and I have been through since she debuted in August of 2012. The past year has been pretty much the same story: damaged lift engine, damaged engine mount, upgrading worn-out steering, fuel, and electrical components, working full time to pay for all that, BUT now I'm pretty sure she's ready to take you out for a ride on the bay! I went on an overnight hovering trip 5 miles down the Sacramento River Delta a couple weeks ago, and everything seemed to be working beautifully! 

I'm planning on hovering out at the Giants game this Saturday, so if I owe you a ride and you can make it, please contact me! I'll be contacting everyone to whom I owe rides in the next few weeks as I go hovering more. And there are still a bunch of other kickstarter gifts I have to send out. Stay tuned for another update about those, soon! 

Thank you all again for helping make this dream a reality!


Delorean Hovercraft update!

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Hello to all of my glorious Kickstarter backers! How have you been?!

If you've wondered what ever happened to that Delorean Hovercraft project and all those gifts I was supposed to send out, I have answers! The 'Craft is alive and well, sitting in the garage of my house here in San Francisco. I've been working a regular job for the past year or so, so I haven't been able to work on it or take it out as much as I would like. But as you may have seen, I debuted it outside of a San Francisco Giants baseball game in August of 2012 (see: ). That was an amazing dream-come-true for me, but it wasn't the end of the long building process. Every time I took it out, I would learn something new about how it worked, what needed to be tweaked, and what needed to be replaced. Usually I learned this when she would break down and just float out in the bay and I would have to paddle back to shore or putt back using just the thrust fan, like an airboat. During the filming of my ABC News interview ( I attempted to hover with two people in the craft for the first time and found out that the thrust motor was not powerful enough to push the craft with that much weight. That's why, in the video of me doing a donut on Crissy Field Beach (, the doors are removed. I had a passenger with me that day, so I had to loose as much weight as I could. I even had one kidney removed so that my hovercraft would perform a little better! Kidding!

The craft wasn't out in the water for most of 2013 because I was doing so many modifications and upgrades based on the lessons from the fall of 2012. First, I replaced the 16 horsepower thrust engine with a 23 horsepower one. I also added a belt tensioner to reduce vibrations, made a new skirt for the craft out of stronger material because the original one tore too easily, installed a better starting battery, made a new engine cover, repaired some fiberglass, added a legally-mandated yellow flashing light after the marine police pulled me over, upgraded some steering components, and added an electric winch to the trailer so I could load the craft by myself. So when I took it out in the fall of 2013, it felt like a more robust and reliable craft. But the most stubborn problem, which I am working on now, is that the lift engine often doesn't feel like starting after it's been shut down out on the water. I think I've isolated the cause of this, so hopefully the craft will soon be reliable enough to take passengers out for pleasure cruises on San Francisco Bay.

I do owe roughly 21 of you a ride for backing my project! And I owe some of you photos or drawings of the craft, and some of you get to sign your name on it! I feel ridiculous for still not having made good on those promises after three and a half years. After sending out the music CD gifts, and the ferrofluid, I figured I would wait until the craft was done to send out the rest (and I obviously had to wait until it was done to give the rides). But the thing about this project is that it will never be done. Not completely, at least. There will always be something to fix or something that I would like to upgrade. But as soon as this lift engine issue is solved, it will be as done as it needs to be for me to finish up with all of these gifts. 

Here's what I'm going to do: Over the next couple weeks I will work on getting the drawings and photos together for those of you who ordered them. In that time I'll also be working on the lift engine problem, and I'll be waiting for everyone who is still owed a gift to update their address on their backer profile if they need to, so that when all the gifts are ready to be sent out, they will end up in the right place (I know many of you have probably moved since the summer of 2010 when you backed my project!). So if I still owe you a gift, please send me your address. And if you have any other questions about the gifts or anything else, please let me know. 


Ps. Here's the most recent video of the craft hovering out on the water. Check it!:

2013: The Year of the Hovercraft

Hello to my wonderful Kickstarter backers! 

As you may have seen, a video of me hovering on Crissy Field beach in San Francisco last Saturday went viral this week. One version of the video has over 558,000 views on Youtube right now and the version on my Youtube channel has over 27,000 ( ). That hover session was even more fun than it looks, until I ran out of gasoline on the way back to the boat ramp due to a very strong current running against me. I had some extra gas, but couldn't get the engines started after I ran out because air got in the fuel lines. Fortunately, a power yacht called the Wanderlust was nearby and towed me back to the dock (Thank you!). Then a couple days later I was contacted by a National Park Service ranger who informed me that I could have gotten a ticket for reckless driving and for operating a hovercraft within 500 feet of a National Park. He was kind enough to only give me a warning. So now I'm home doing occasional repairs to the craft and continuing my job search (if anyone has a job tip in the Bay Area, please let me know!). 

A lot of people have been asking me for rides in the hovercraft lately, and I owe many of my Kickstarter backers rides. I have recently found out that the craft is a little too under-powered and heavy to carry a passenger on water. I tried removing the doors and carrying less gas to lighten up the load, and I was able to carry a passenger, but the craft was sluggish, we got even more wet than usual because the doors weren't there, and then we ran out of gas. I've been intending to upgrade the thrust engine from a 16 horsepower to a 23hp, which should give the craft enough power to carry two people. I'm planning on buying this engine: as soon as I can find $1300 in extra spending money. I also can get more thrust power if I replace the thrust fan with a custom propeller, but that would be another $300 at least. So to everyone whom I owe a ride: please be patient, it will happen! 

Sometime around the beginning of February the local ABC news station KGO 7 should be airing a segment on me that they filmed during a hover session on January 8th in Emeryville. I will keep you all posted about that. 

Matt Riese
aka David Lorean

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Debut at the Giants game and finishing up

Last Friday night was a huge night for my Delorean Hovercraft project. I finally debuted it by hovering out to the cove next to the San Francisco Giants baseball stadium. That was the first time I had it on the water for long enough to start to learn how to drive it. At one point I just barely stopped short of hitting some rocks, then side-swiped a big rock trying to get away. The damage was surprisingly minor, but then a minute later the lift engine died. I'm still not sure why that happened, but I think some water got in either the air intake or the ignition electronics. The thrust fan still worked and I used it to slowly push the craft back to the boat ramp. Here's a video from the Giants game on TV that someone posted on youtube:

Here are my next steps: finish working out the remaining bugs, take it to more Giants games, send out the remaining Kickstarter gifts, and get a real job. I might be able to go to more Giants games later this week. I'll do a photoshoot with the craft in the next week or two to get some shots for my Kickstarter backers who orderd a photo. For those of you who are owed a ride in the thing, I will contact you after I have at least a couple outings with it where nothing goes wrong. But even then, I hope you're good swimmers!

Even with the Kickstarter funds, I ended up going into debt for this project and now that it's basically finished, I'm in desperate need of employment. If you know of ANY jobs out there, please let me know! Most of my work experience is in residential remodel construction, but I also have some experience in commercial fishing and tutoring in philosophy and political science. I'm willing to try anything. I definitely wouldn't mind getting an office job in a Bay Area high tech company. Just putting that out there.

If you want to be kept up to date on my hovercraft news, you can follow me on Twitter or Facebook. To deal with the pressure and weirdness of being on TV, I've created an alter ego named David Lorean. Whenever I'm doing public appearances with the hovercraft I will be in character as David, which should allow me to be more relaxed and entertaining in the spotlight. You can find David on Twitter @DavidLorean or on Facebook here: . This is all very new to me and I'm basically making it up as I go along. We'll see how it goes.

Thanks again to all my Kickstarter backers! This a huge dream come true and I couldn't have done it without you!
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Delorean hovercraft project update 10/2/11

Hello everyone!

This is my first update in about a year. I was hoping to finish the hovercraft in a few months after the kickstarter fundraiser but, as usual, I radically underestimated how much time, work, and money I would need to finish it. The good news is that I have put the funds to good use and the project is actually pretty close to being finished! I spent a lot of time building new gullwing doors to fit the new, stronger frame. I perfected the shape of the body panels so that it looks as close to a real Delorean as I can get it. I even bought the interior door panels from a real Delorean, made latex molds of them, and re-cast them out of light-weight fiberglass so my hovercraft now has imitation leather Delorean armrests! The new steering system is working very well, too. I also got the first coat of paint on it recently, and I'm really happy with how it turned out. The main things I have left to do are: install the timing belt that drives the thrust fan, wire all the electronics (engine starters, lights, dashboard accessories), make the new skirt to trap the air at the bottom, the second coat of paint, and various other details. I'm still not sure when I will be able to finish it because I have to work and save more money so I can have the time off to work on it. Luckily, I got a job as a crab fisherman this season, which should be able to pay for the rest of the work (I hope!). I will try to post an update when I finish each stage of construction that I have left. 

Regarding kickstarter gifts: I sent out all of the cd's and ferrofluid soon after the fundraising campaign (let me know if there was a problem or you didn't receive yours). I'm waiting to do the photos (and drawings) until the craft is done. Same with the rides (obviously). I still have everyone's name and information on the site here, and I will make sure everyone gets their gift in the end! I really appreciate all the help and encouragement I got through kickstarter, I really needed it! 


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