April 27, 2009 It's rare that you see a whole new segment open up in personal mobility - and this one looks like an absolute cracker. The Scarpar Powerboard is an off-road powered skateboard capable of taking on pretty much any terrain other than water. An electric or 4-stroke petrol engine powers two articulated tank-style tracks up to a terrifying 60kmh, using a hand control for acceleration and braking. Mud, grass, sand, snow - the Scarpar is capable of driving over just about anything, including rock piles and even fallen logs, as the video below shows. Calling venture capitalists - get this thing to market!

We've seen offroad skateboards before - and even powered ones - but the Scarpar Powerboard is another kettle of fish altogether. It uses two articulated grippy tracks, both powered by an onboard engine, to crawl its way over just about any terrain. 'Crawl' is perhaps not the word for a powered skateboard capable of 60kmh down a forest trail - which is nothing special on a motocross bike, but quite a trouser-browning experience on a skateboard, we'd imagine.

The Scarpar company, based in Queensland, Australia, have been working on prototype powerboards for several years now, but development has been stunted in recent months due to the global financial crash. No final engine has been chosen, but CEO Andrew Fern tells us that a battery-electric powerboard might be the first one to make it to production, as he believes they're likely to be able to match the 35km range and 60kmh top speed of the 4-stroke petrol version.

A simple hand control takes care of acceleration and braking, and steering is much the same as on a standard skateboard - perhaps a little less nimble due to the weight of the engine and tracks.

The Scarpar is likely to be a big hit for beach and snow use and as such, Fern says they're looking at a swappable track system to give more track surface area for the dunes and slopes. Meanwhile, offroad testing looks like an absolute blast as shown in the video below.

Fern is seeking to raise the capital to get the Scarpar into production. A retail price of between US$2000-3000 is the current estimate. Best of luck lads, it looks like a seriously awesome toy for those with the cojones to ride one in anger.

Loz Blain