Skip to main content
Move the World.
Innovation

Hacking Surfboard Fins to Fight Climate Change

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.

More About

Future of Cities
Paving the Way With Recycled Roads
Paving the Way With Recycled Roads
Future of Cities
Paving the Way With Recycled Roads
The world is facing a massive build up of waste. But this solution of recycled roads may pave the way for a cleaner future.
By B. David Zarley

A recycled road has been paved with asphalt that contains the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of plastic bags, along with thousands of glass bottles and printer cartridges’ worth of waste toner. In addition to the sheer amount of recycled materials the process will divert away from landfills, these longer-lasting roads also help to reduce the carbon footprint of construction.

Future of Cities
Merging Nature and Sustainable Design: An Interview with Daan Roosegaarde
Daan Roosegaarde is a Dutch architect on a mission to create a more efficient and beautiful world through innovative, sustainable design.
Future of Cities
Merging Nature and Sustainable Design: An Interview with Daan Roosegaarde
From towers that create pockets of clean air to a luminescent bike path that glows like children's ceiling stars, Daan Roosegaarde's entire practice is centered around the beauty of living with nature and removing pollution from urban life.
By B. David Zarley

From towers that create pockets of clean air to a luminescent bike path that glows like children's ceiling stars and windmills drawing lines of light across the sky, Daan Roosegaarde's entire practice is centered around the beauty of living with nature and removing pollution from urban life.

Future of Food
These Pioneers are Building the Sustainable Food Systems of Tomorrow
These Pioneers are Building the Sustainable Food Systems of Tomorrow
Future of Food
These Pioneers are Building the Sustainable Food Systems of Tomorrow
In a new Freethink original series, Michael O'Shea goes around the world to introduce us to the scientists who are working hard to ensure that we can feed our future world.

There are currently over 7 billion human beings alive on Earth --- and in 2050 the world's population will rise by almost 2 billion. That's a lot more mouths to feed considering that roughly 11 percent of the world goes hungry today. "in the next 40 years, we need to produce the same amount of food as we did over the last 8,000 years." Ernst van den Ende , Managing…

Future of Food
A Look Inside Farms of the Future
A Look Inside Farms of the Future
Watch Now
Future of Food
A Look Inside Farms of the Future
With a growing population, changing consumption behavior and a climate crisis, how will we feed our future world? The answer…
Watch Now

With a growing population, changing consumption behavior and a climate crisis, how will we feed our future world? The answer may not be increasing resources--land, water, and employees--but rather improving production efficiency. The key question: How do we increase the amount of food we produce while using the same or fewer resources? In the first episode of our original series, Future of Food, we take a look at sustainable agriculture.…

Entrepreneurship
How San Francisco Residents Saved Local Businesses
How San Francisco Residents Saved Local Businesses
Watch Now
Entrepreneurship
How San Francisco Residents Saved Local Businesses
An indie book store went from struggling to thriving with a new business model. Is it the future of retail?
Watch Now

Borderlands Books is the largest English-language sci-fi, mystery, and horror book store in the world. Mission: Comics and Art is a combination comic book shop and art gallery. Both were preparing to close up shop in a tough retail environment as costs rose. Alan Beatts called a community meeting of his customers. A new idea came out of it - selling store memberships. After an outpouring of support, he sold…

Dispatches
Tesla and Uber Fatalities Show the Limits of “Semi-Autonomous” Cars
Tesla and Uber Fatalities Show the Limits of “Semi-Autonomous” Cars
Dispatches
Tesla and Uber Fatalities Show the Limits of “Semi-Autonomous” Cars
How can we make humans pay attention when a machine is doing our job for us?
By Dan Bier

How can we make humans pay attention when a machine is doing our job for us?

Challengers
Five Insights: Linc Gasking On What Every Startup Should Be Shooting For
Five Insights: Linc Gasking On What Every Startup Should Be Shooting For
Challengers
Five Insights: Linc Gasking On What Every Startup Should Be Shooting For
Linc Gasking, co-founder of VR startup 8i, discusses the day-to-day grind and big picture excitement of being an entrepreneur.
By Mike Riggs

Linc Gasking, co-founder of VR startup 8i, discusses the day-to-day grind and big picture excitement of being an entrepreneur.

Challengers
Powering the World With Nuclear
Powering the World With Nuclear
Watch Now
Challengers
Powering the World With Nuclear
Transatomic believes they've figured out a safe, scalable, cost-effective way to power the world with nuclear.
Watch Now

Transatomic is designing a nuclear reactor that can produce a lot more electricity than a conventional reactor, while creating a lot less nuclear waste. But they’ll need to take on a deeply entrenched industry and convince a cautious public that they can safely harness the most powerful energy in the world.