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Wave Goodbye To Unpredictable Surfing Conditions in the UK

Unpredictable surfing conditions may soon be a thing of the past for surfers in the UK, thanks to a new design from Brunel University student, Henry Stephenson. Henry has created a near shore data buoy that tracks wave behaviour in a specified area and provides text updates to surfers with accurate information on the best surf locations in their area at any given time.

Wave Buoy is a small buoy that communicates with an onshore base station. It measures wave behaviour and can be networked to other Wave Buoys, building up an accurate picture of the wave patterns in a specific area. The data is processed and sent to users as a text message.

Henry, an Industrial Design and Technology final year student at Brunel University comments: “Many of my friends who surf in Cornwall complain about the unpredictability of conditions. They can look up wave data from websites on the day they plan to go surfing, but often by the time they reach the location, the conditions have changed. I designed Wave Buoy to solve this problem - it offers surfers a totally accurate picture of the wave patterns around the south coast of Great Britain - in real time. All surfers have to do to get the best wave at any time is to remember to take their mobile phones with them and check their text messages.“

Wave Buoy could be developed further to provide early warning information about dangerous swimming conditions. Henry, aged 22 from Hurst in Berkshire, is hoping that the interest his design attracts will translate into a possible commercial offering from surf clubs or organisations like the Met Office.

“The final year project at Brunel University often involves students designing a product that has social impact. Henry has identified a real problem faced by surfers in this country and has come up with an effective way to tackle it,“ explains Paul Turnock, Design Director, School of Engineering and Design at Brunel University.

How does it work?
Wave buoy uses accelerometers to measure the motion of the buoy in the water and then calculates wave height and period.