26 February, 2018 26 February, 2018

Become a Citizen Scientist with Smartfin

Welcome to the future of science and data collection – enter the Smartfin. Through this genuine piece of modern ingenuity, you may now become a ‘citizen scientist’ whilst you surf.

The Smartfin is the brainchild of Dr Renaud Joannes-Boyau, a surfer and researcher at Southern Cross University. The fin is equipped with a GPS, Bluetooth, rechargeable battery and an array of sensors that record environmental data such as temperature, location, motion and wave characteristics.

Once you have returned from your ‘field work’ or more accurately surf session, you simply upload the data from your smartphone via an app. This data can then be accessed almost immediately by anyone in the international scientific community.

“Using the data collected with Smartfin, we’ll be able to better understand trends in ocean warming and acidification and mobilize communities to take action to combat these problems caused by climate change. The coastal range is very hard to monitor because there’s a lot of currents, movement, and it’s really hard to follow the entire coast. The good thing is surfers go out continuously in one area”, Dr Joannes-Boyau said.


  1. George
    26 February, 2018 at 10:52 am · Reply

    Hi Zigzag

    Does this include South Africa? Where can I get hold of one these fins?

    • zigzag
      28 February, 2018 at 10:07 am · Reply

      At the moment the fins are still in Beta stage and are not available for wholesale. After a few more tests and tweaking they should be available to the general public. You can follow the progress here: https://smartfin.org/

  2. Werner
    27 February, 2018 at 11:10 am · Reply

    Cool idea, my only concern is the electrical signature that this thing gives off. Will it attract sharks?

    • zigzag
      28 February, 2018 at 10:09 am · Reply

      Unfortunately, we are not able to comment on the electrical signature emitted by the device. I am sure if you visit the sites contact page they will be able to assist.

  3. Adriaan
    27 February, 2018 at 10:09 pm · Reply

    Excellent and innovative idea, only concern is that it will give away my secret surfspots, the few that are left. Exactly where i actually wanted to track my surfing. Can you set what it records when?

    • zigzag
      28 February, 2018 at 10:10 am · Reply

      From our understanding, the people who would make use of the GPS data would not share it across various platforms. I’m sure your secret spot will remain exactly that a secret.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *