He doesn’t surf, he doesn’t code, but he’s hacking surfboard fins to combat climate change and it’s working. Meet Andy Stern, citizen scientist and founder of Smartfin. He’s brought together surfers and oceanographers to create a smart surfboard fin that’s collecting vital data to track and fight climate change.
As far as oceans go, the environmental crisis doesn’t just affect the icebergs – it affects all of us. Surfers are on the front lines; as ocean temperatures rise due to global warming, tides and wave characteristics can change. This dilemma helped motivate surfer and oceanographer Phil Bresnahan, lead development engineer at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, to help Andy develop an electronic surfboard fin that could track temperature, motion and more. They partnered with surfboard fin maker Futures Fins to produce one that performed as well as any high-quality surfboard fin. They also joined up with Surfrider Foundation, a community of everyday people dedicated to protecting the ocean, waves, and beaches got onboard. With their efforts combined, hundreds of surfers around the world are providing valuable sea surface temperature and wave data near coastlines that could be affected by sea level rise.
If you’re interested in more innovative ocean conservation efforts, watch our recent video,The Edible Six Pack Ring That’s Saving Marine Animals.