Smart Fin

Smartfin is both a surfboard fin with research grade ocean health sensors and a community-building initiative intended to galvanize communities to become better stewards of coastal ecosystems. We are integrating temperature, motion, and GPS sensors (with more in the pipeline for pH, oxygen, algae, and water clarity) into performance surfboard fins so that surfers can collect scientific data simply by doing what they love.

The Challenge

Oceans are changing faster than they ever have before. Human activity—coastal development, fishing pressure, pollution resulting in higher sea levels, higher acidity, and higher harmful contaminant concentrations—has had profound impacts on ocean and human health. And those impacts are only continuing to amplify. We believe that by equipping surfers with tools to monitor and protect their beloved surf breaks, they and their networks will be able to make great contributions to coastal stewardship—increasingly important in this time of rapid changes to our coastlines.

Project Aims

The technology automates the data collection process so that all surfers have to do is keep the fin charged and spend lots of time in the water! By filling in gaps between other oceanographic sensors with Smartfins, the scientific community can learn a tremendous amount about fine scale changes to ocean health and better manage ecosystems to everyone’s benefit. We are seeking funding and outreach support to expand our reach (we’ve already distributed 200 fins!) and continue the research and development for the technology and scientific results that serve as the backbone for this endeavor. We are also seeking technical assistance to make the technology as robust and user-friendly as possible, including app development to gamify and incentivize Smartfin usage.

Predicted Outcomes

 •    Connect surfers to each other and their communities by developing and distributing Smartfin technology designed to monitor coastal water quality
•    Provide educational resources to encourage more individuals to learn about and work toward improving ocean health
•    Help build communities of engaged and curious surfers and non-surfers by working with everyone to collect, analyze, and disseminate coastal data collected by both Smartfin and auxiliary monitoring programs

Our Partners

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