FhP-AICOS’ expertise and know-how in what Surf Performance Analysis is concerned, has revealed to be crucial to the development of a technological solution which allows the characterization of surf session events with minimal invasiveness and cost, while achieving top performance on the computation of key performance analytics of high impact for keeping track of the evolution of surfers at all levels. This solution has been developed by FhP-AICOS within the TexBoost project which has recently come to an end. The closing event brought together all the partners for the presentations of the work and results achieved.
FhP-AICOS’ experience in this research field has led to a surf monitoring tool based on scientifically validated algorithms of state-of-the-art performance and detailed event tracking resolution, bringing unprecedented reliability to the extracted metrics in the surf tracking field. The referred system uses only the surfer’s own smartphone to extract a large set of metrics from the surf session, namely number of waves, travelled distance, wave speed, number of paddles, paddling speed, and maneuver rotation angles and speeds. The system monitors torso movements with high precision using sophisticated sensor fusion techniques, based on which the analysis is performed, in real-time. It is currently available via mobile and web apps, which showcase part of the potential of the performed analysis with additional appealing features, like automatic surf session video segmentation and navigation.
In order to develop the algorithms, FhP-AICOS’ researchers have collected data from end users: approximately 25 hours of data from inertial sensors, in a total of 17 surf sessions, making it possible to have event detection such as waves and lying, sitting and even paddling states. FhP-AICOS’ researchers were, thus, able to extract the number of waves, the states of rotation, maximum and average speeds. Through the mobile application, which has built-in algorithms, the surfer can monitor the session, but also manage his account and have access to the session history. The web application was designed to be used by the trainer, who can even follow the surfer's session in real time.
This technology developed by FhP-AICOS was incorporated in a surf suit in order to respond to a market need. The suit also includes an active monitoring system, with an emergency button located in the neck area and a space for the introduction of a smartphone on the back.
According to data from the Portuguese Surfing Federation *, there are around 11,500 federated athletes in Portugal, a total of 165 clubs and 365 schools, three national associations and 100 activities organized annually by the federation, foreseeing a growth trend in this type of practice. The International Surfing Organization, for its part, estimates that there are about 23 million practitioners of the sport worldwide.
* data available on the project’s website.
TexBoost is a three-year project co-funded by the European Union, within COMPETE 2020 and Portugal 2020 and involves several partner institutions such as Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS, RIOPELE Têxteis, CITEVE, INESC-TEC, DAMEL, among numerous others.