About Us

Smartphin originated in the mind of Dr. Andrew Stern, founder of Bellwether, a nonprofit whose mission is to connect people more deeply to the earth. He discovered there was a need for data in the study of the effect of climate on near-shore conditions. Realizing that surfers could be enlisted to collect this data and to raise environmental awareness, Dr. Stern envisioned a sensor designed to be deployed on surfboards.

Dr. Stern contacted Benjamin Thompson, an engineer and avid surfer in San Diego, who had been working on surfboard sensor technology to enhance user performance. In 2012, they began working on the Smartphin, a device using innovative sensor technology that collects pH measurements and other vital near-shore ocean data. Housed in the body of a fin, the Smartphin records ocean conditions and surfer performance each time a user goes into the water. The growing and passionate international surfing community ensures numerous points of data collection that will ultimately enable scientists to widely, rapidly and accurately monitor ocean health.

About Team Leader

Mr. Thompson is the chief engineer and founder of the surf technology consultancy BoardFormula Inc. He founded BoardFormula while working toward a Ph.D. in surfboard fluid-structure dynamics at the University of California, San Diego. In addition to building hardware products, he taught himself several programming languages, and began developing an algorithm designed to help surfers choose their ideal surfboard based on volume. He has since left school and now devotes himself to surfboard technology innovations.

As an avid surfer, Mr. Thompson has always held a deep appreciation for the ocean, and was thrilled when Dr. Stern approached him with the Smartphin concept. This project has given him the opportunity to give back to the ocean, while simultaneously pursuing his goal of creating innovative and intuitive technology for surfers.

Team Members

Benjamin ThompsonBob Frazier
Team Leader:
Benjamin Thompson
San Diego, CA, United States

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