Pukas / Surfsense by Tecnalia
Pukas and tecnalia work together to develop the world’s first surfboard with integrated technology. Surfers can improve their technique through the acquisition of quantative and objective data
Donostia-San Sebastián, 22nd February 2011. Today, PUKAS and TECNALIA invited the elite surfer Aritz Aranburu to present their research work into the mechanical behaviour of surfboards. The results obtained and the conclusions drawn from them open up a whole range of options for applying technologies, training and product development.
Surfing is still a sport governed by feelings. Most innovations in board design and manufacture, as well as analysis of surfing technique, have been the result of “trial and error” procedures and the experiences of shapers, trainers and surfers. The driving forces behind this joint project, PUKAS and TECNALIA, aim to “turn feelings into facts and figures” and provide as yet unquantified data that can be directly applied to improve the features of surfboards, the technical performance of surfers and measurement of parameters during competition.
This research project will revolutionise surfboard manufacturing processes, as they will provide a map of the critical points and their properties, something that will make it possible to incorporate a determined amount of various materials with known properties at specific locations on the surface of surfboards.
In order to carry out the project, we had to install the data gathering electronics – sensors and hardware – in the surfboard itself to transfer the data to a computer. In addition, we characterised the mechanical properties of surfboards so as to quantify the mechanical behaviour of the same and adapt it to the requirements of individual surfers. We have also defined laboratory tests that allow us to quantify the stiffness/flexibility of boards and their resistance to breakage.
Here, the elite surfers Aritz Aranburu, Hodei Collazo, Kepa Acero and Mario Azurza have been responsible for carrying out the initial experiments designed to characterise the stresses affecting surfboards as faithfully as possible. Other professional surfers, such as Tiago Pires, Joan Duru, Eneko Acero and Tim Boal, are expected to join the project at a later date.
Featured in WIRED Magazine
As soon as the official press release was held, the word was out there and the internet made the news go viral. Universities, engineers and mags contacted both, Tecnalia and Pukas, for further details. WIRED Magazine which delivers a glimpse into the future of business, culture, innovation and business, featured an article about the SurfSense Project.