The Surfboard Fin That's Collecting Data On Climate Change

15/04/2016 6:39 AM AEST | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST

When Dr Andrew Stern was searching for a new way to communicate about the ocean and climate change, he was told to speak to surfers as, "they know first hand what is happening there."

In an attempt to gather data on environmental changes to our oceans, Stern developed the Smartfin with engineer Benjamin Thompson.

The new surfboard fin attaches to the bottom of the board and helps Oceanographer's measure the potential effects of climate change.

"So, Smartfin grew from both a novel way to tell the Climate Ocean Health story, and a way, by Citizen Science using surfers, to provide the coastal data oceanographers need," Stern told The Huffington Post Australia.

Stern, isn't a surfer himself, but rather a man deeply invested in the earth's future and passionate about raising environmental awareness, "not by educating about the science as much as touching hearts and souls about what is happening."

"The oceans are a crucial part of the earth’s environmental systems. You could fairly say that the details of how the ocean changes due to warming and increased CO2 will determine what Climate Change will look like, especially the speed with which our environment will degrade," he told HuffPost Australia.

While the fin is still in development, Stern and his team are assessing the data collected in the surf with a view to scale up for manufacturing and distribution early 2017.

Although many Citizen Scientist surfers would be eager to use the Smartfin, it won't be available in retail surf shops but rather distributed through the largest surfers association in the world -- The Surfrider Organisation.

"Probably we will ask communities to buy the fins, about $100-$150 each, then we will mentor them about their use and about what is happening in the oceans, why we are measuring the parameters we chose. I am already giving talks widely about ocean data and ocean health in the United States."

The entire initiative has been completely funded by charitable organisations and will continue to seek funding.

For Aussie surfers keen to get onboard this initiative, they'll have to wait until early 2018 for access to the Smartfin.

To find out more about what Dr. Stern and Ben Thompson are doing, you can head over here.

More On This Topic