Zapata, 40, took off from the French coastal town of Sangatte with a flyboard, which he crafted, strapped to his feet. He had hoped to reach St. Margaret’s Bay in Dover, England over 22 miles away in just 20 minutes.
Unfortunately for him, he fell into the water halfway through his journey after attempting to refuel. The platform in the water he was supposed to land on was rocking too much because of waves and he was unable to grab hold of it, eventually falling into the water.
His wife, Christelle Zapata, told The Associated Press that he had to be rescued by French divers but that he is now doing fine.
“These are the kind of things that can happen,” she said before adding that he traveled farther than he anticipated.
“He will do it again,” she said. “He never sits back after a failure.”
Zapata designed his own hoverboard which was powered by a backpack he wore full of kerosene.
Thursday’s stunt was intended to honor the 110th anniversary of the first flight across the channel by French aviator Louis Bleriot on July 25, 1909. The beach where Zapata took off Thursday bears Bleriot’s name.
Zapata previously stunned crowds with a similar show in Paris on Bastille Day when he flew his flyboard over French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.