Check out Trace on Kickstarter.
Sep. 3, 2013 - Here at TheSurfersView, we recently got a chance to speak with Steve Lauria from AlpineReplay regarding the recently launched Kickstarter project Trace.
Trace is the latest innovation from ActiveReplay, the startup that created AlpineReplay- a stats tracking mobile app that boasts the largest social network of skiers and snowboarders in the world. Trace expands the ActiveReplay technology to surfing and skateboarding.
Photo : ActiveReplay
Trace is a small, tough, lightweight device that logs your personal stats while surfing, skating, skiing, or snowboarding. The waves you caught, the tricks you landed, it records pretty much everything about your sessions.
The technology is surprisingly thorough. For surfers, Trace measures things like the sharpness of your turns, the height and hangtime of any airs you take over the lip, your max speed going down the line, and the length of your rides. For skateboarding, it clocks things like the speed of your flip tricks, how high you're popping, the fullness of your board rotations, and how clean you're landing everything.
Close up shot of Trace. Photo : ActiveReplay
After watching the videos and reading ActiveReplay's mission statement, we were still curious about a few things. Here are their answers:
TSV: How does the device recognize it's actually in the water? That is to say how does it know a person isn't simply holding their Trace-equipped surfboard up in the air in their bedroom simulating surf manuevers with their hands? (Same for skateboarding and snowboarding.)
ActiveReplay: Trace will automatically collect millions of points of data as soon as you turn it on. Once you're done, you just go back to your phone, press the "Surfing" button on the app and near-instantaneously, all your data gets sent to our servers, analyzed, and sent right back to your phone and presented in a nice, neat form. You can try to re-create the maneuvers in your room or wherever — and it might be interesting to see if you can — but in actuality it'll be pretty tough to recreate surfing movements. There's such a specific "signature" that surfing has, and if you just move it around in your room, it'll probably just discount it as noise. For skating, it's kind of the same thing. Unless you can re-create a kick flip or a 360 flip in both board speed and natural movement (as if you're doing one normally), it'll probably just get tagged as noise.
Scale reference. Photo : ActiveReplay
TSV: Again for surfing, how can Trace tell the difference between a very vertical turn off the lip and an actual air?
ActiveReplay: When you do an air in surfing, it might not seem drastically different from a super vertical turn, but the forces that act on the board (like gravity and the changes in acceleration) actually have a very different signature than when the board is still in the water. We'll be able to detect those seemingly undetectable changes.
A few app shots. Photo : ActiveReplay
TSV: How does the app work? Are your stats public? Can you assign a screen name if you'd prefer to remain sort of anonymous? I'd imagine there are a lot of surfers out there who don't want to be compared to Dane Reynolds every time they finish a session. And professionals that might like a little privacy once in a while. What keeps it competitive and motivating for everybody?
ActiveReplay: So the great thing about the app is there's a bunch of different ways to use it. You can just focus on your own stats, you can focus on your Newsfeed (which is just your friends), you can check out the local/worldwide Leaderboards to see who's doing what, or you can Explore (looking at the different spots around you, not by wave height, but by things like length of ride and speed, in real time). Your stats will be public, but if you prefer to remain anonymous can use a pseudonym. The competitive aspect is just one part of the app though and totally up to the individual. Like, I'm usually more interested in my own stats, but David is more interested in who's doing the best at the moment — so I just spend most of my time on my Profile page and my Newsfeed and David spends more of his time on the Leaderboard section. The Explore function is really cool as well. You can see what's happening at certain breaks all around the world. We both spend a lot of time in the Explore section.
How Trace clips on and off. Photo : ActiveReplay
TSV: Lastly, I could see the Trace device being used in professional events (like on the ASP tour) as a discussion point for the commentators, or even to assist in evaluating actual heat scores. What are you goals for the device? And what's the next step?
ActiveReplay: It would be really cool to have Trace used by both athletes and judges at professional events, especially on Tour. But only if that's what we, as a community, decide. Right now, and for the near future, we want to focus on making a really positive experience for our users. The people who currently use AlpineReplay love it and our goal has always been to make sure they're enjoying their experience on the mountain. So, we want to bring that same experience to surfing and skating. The cool thing about the data we collect, is there are a ton of applications for it. We've been flooded with people saying, "You should use Trace for (this)!" So, there's a lot of different directions we can go and we do have specific long-term goals, but right now, our focus is more on establishing a user base in surfing, skating and snow, and making sure the user experience is top notch.