Surfin' Scientist Sets Up Surfboard With Sensors and Sails Sick Swells
In the surfing community, there are two schools of thought; some prefer a rigid board and others like a more flexible one. But, the problem is, there's no system informed by hard data that can let surfers know whether or not a board will meet their standards before buying it. Thompson wants to change that by correlating the hard data his surfboard collects with a rider's reported experience. This, he hopes, will provide surfers with a foolproof way to rank boards. In his next trial, Thompson will attach 50 sensors, accelerometers, strain transducers and gyroscopic instruments to a surfboard, which will then store the data on an attached flash drive, in order to get a better idea of what makes the "perfect surfboard."
Thompson should be careful about bringing science to this zen hobby, though. If his experiment is a success, people might start taking surfers more seriously, and the slacker image that surfers have (barely) worked to cultivate since the '60s could be destroyed.