Hoverboards were the year's hottest Christmas gift - in unfortunately more ways than one.
Hoverboards were the year's hottest Christmas gift - in unfortunately more ways than one. (Photo: HoverBoardUSA)

Holiday hoverboard havoc

Even since the "Back to the Future" sequels, we've dreamed of having hoverboards. But not like this. 

This Christmas season, the big must-get gift was the hoverboard – which, considering it's actually a motorized self-balancing two-wheeled scooter, is really only a hoverboard in name only. The disappointment doesn't stop there, though, as ever since Christmas, the Internet has been flooded with reports and videos of hoverboards going awry – and in some scary cases, aflame. 

Indeed, across the nation, there have been reports of hoverboards lighting on fire, whether they're just sitting for sale in a mall, in use or charging in the living room. The resulting incidents – some seemingly small but scary fires, others significant explosions – have evacuated malls, burned down homes and now inspired an investigation from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The culprit seems to be the gadget's lithium ion batteries, but no one is quite sure if the explosions are the result of simply cheap volatile batteries, overcharging the device to the point of combustion or just the wrath of a vengeful anti-consumerist God. 

But let's say your potential rolling deathtrap doesn't explode. Well, it's apparently still out for you, with the help of its friends gravity and your own human clumsiness. People across the nation have been happily joyriding on their new hoverboards ... only to awkwardly topple off and land painfully on their driveways or sidewalks. And if a person falls off a fancy motorized scooter and a video hasn't been posted to social media, does he or she make a sound? Of course not; thus the flurry of resulting videos and Vines – and the resulting injuries, from broken arms to simply broken egos – have inspired the hashtag craze #hoverboardfails.

Some choice samples:

Pain: It truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

Even stars aren't safe. Here's former baseball all-star and current free agent Dan Uggla showing off his agility.

And here's Mike Tyson, getting KO'd by his daughter's hoverboard. 

Celebrities; they're just like us!

To add to the holiday hoverboard hell, several airlines have banned the potentially explosive moto-scooters – much to the surprise of many travelers. Travelers including a predictably unhappy Russell Crowe!

It is fair to say he was not entertained. 

To add the final cherry of ridiculousness to this hoverboard sundae, there's this: A Catholic priest from the Philippines has gotten in trouble with his diocese for delivering his Christmas Eve Mass from the perilous comfort of his hoverboard. But hey, the crowd seemed to like it!

So what have we learned from all of this motorized mayhem? Maybe next year buy your loved ones something a little safer. Like an official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot range model air rifle!


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