It’s rare that scientists and surfers mix. It’s a Venn diagram with very little in the middle. For a start, the salt water mixes with the bunsen burners and all kinds of hell breaks lose.
However, late last year the guys at RedBull forced these (not particularly) volatile worlds together and headed to a remote beach in Mexico. It’s in a bid to work out exactly what makes the pro’s as good as they are.
The thinking is, if the technology can be developed to really hone-in on the micro movements, and even subconscious decisions pros like Jake Marshall and Josh Moniz make, the data that can be gathered can push surfing in new, progressive directions.
Brandon Larson from the RedBull High performance team accepts that this kind of number crunching will never replace “tribal knowledge, the experiential knowledge, [and] the gut feelings…” that surfers have.
However, it’s hoped that as technology advances, progression can be monitored, and minor errors ironed out. Presumably, if the surfers performance drops, they’ll have to stay behind and write “I’m young, dumb, and full of cum” 1000 times.
“Is this bringing us one step closer to a legit 720?”
Among the tech being used are video watches that let the surfer and their coach communicate instantly, The Air Dog – a fully autonomous drone that can follow the surfer and capture footage from above.
There’s also eye tracking googles that let the boffins see where exactly the wearer is looking, and the charmingly titled PPS Pressure Sensing Booties that read how much weight the rider puts on each foot, and have nothing to do with celebrity arse owner, Nicki Minaj
Only time will tell quite how much of an impact studies like this will really have on surfing. It’ll be years before any affect, if there is one at all, will be felt. However, if it progresses the sport, and means that a legit 720 is that little bit closer, that can only be a good thing, right?