Life Below Water: Bridging the Oceanographic Data Gap


Oceans cover 70 per cent of the globe, and absorb around 90 per cent of the excess heat created by human activity. But they’re changing faster than ever before, with higher sea levels, higher acidity and a higher concentration of contaminants.

While scientists are continuously monitoring ocean health to help understand the impact of climate change, reliable nearshore data can be hard to obtain due to complex currents, shoreline activity and the unsuitability of traditional, deep-sea data collection methods.

Yet the shoreline can provide vital insights into the effects of global warming and the prognosis for our planet. Scientists believe that the ocean’s response to increased heat and carbon dioxide will be a significant factor in the planet’s ability to tolerate climate change.

Images © Smartfin

Surfing for Science

The Smartfin is an IOT-enabled surfboard fin that’s fitted with GPS and motion and temperature sensors. Based on an Arm Cortex-M3 processor, it measures parameters such as temperature, location, and wave characteristics. As surfers move through the water, they gather the data, which is then uploaded to the cloud using cellular connectivity from which it is made freely available to international scientific and surfing communities.


By encouraging surfers to become citizen scientists, Smartfin enables better analysis of nearshore temperature and wave patterns. This contributes to a greater overall understanding of changes in the ocean and the implications for the future of our planet.

“By uniting the surfing community and the research community, we can fill gaps in coastal oceanographic data and stimulate the open dialogue that’s needed to address one of the most daunting challenges facing society today.”

Phil Bresnahan, Head of R&D, Smartfin

Smartfin also supports the following Goals:


Sustainable Cities and Communities Climate Action