Hang Ten With Help From The Surf Window

Unless you live in a special, unique place like Hawaii or Costa Rica it’s unlikely you’ll be able to surf every day. It’s not easy to plan surf sessions or even surf trips to most locations because the weather conditions will need to be just right. Not only the wave height (swell) but also the wind speed and direction, tide, water and air temperature, and even amount and type of marine life present can all impact your surf session. You’ll want something which can easily tell you right away if conditions are good.

This project from [luke] is called the Surf Window shows the surf conditions at the local beach with just one glance. Made out of various pieces of wood, each part represents one of the weather conditions at the beach. A rotating seagull gives the wind direction, for example, and the wave height is represented by 3D, moving waves. All of the parts are connected with various motors and linkages to an Arduino Mega +WiFi R3 which grabs all of its information from Magicseaweed, a surf forecasting site.

The Surf Window can show the current conditions at virtually any surfable beach in the world, so if you really want to know how Jaws, Mavericks, or even Reef Road is breaking right now, you could use this to give you a more nuanced look. Don’t forget to take the correct board for the conditions!

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Analyzing Data To Build Better Surfboards

In the world of surfing, the equipment available is as diverse and varied as the enthusiasts themselves. Different boards are optimized for different conditions and styles, and the industry continues to innovate towards ever greater performance. [DARK-labs] aim to bring data analysis into the field to help create boards personalised to the individual.

The goal is to use a sensor network embedded in a surfboard to analyze the style of a particular surfer. This data is then used to identify characteristics such as stance and foot preference, which can then be used to optimize a board design to suit. Once a CAD model is created along these guidelines, it can then be CNC machined and turned into a finished board, ready to hit the waves.

It’s a project that we expect will capture the interest of many a surfer, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see the concept take further strides in coming years. We’ve featured some other board hacks, too – this electric build is particularly compelling. 

Surfing Diorama Makes For A Neat Desk Toy

In 1994, Weezer famously said that “you take your car to work, I’ll take my board”. Obviously, for the office-bound, surfing is simply out of the question during the working day.  That doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun with a desk toy inspired by the waves.

The crux of the build is a watery diorama, which interacts with a faux-surfboard. The diorama consists of a tank constructed out of plexiglas, sealed together to be watertight. It’s then filled with blue-dyed water, and topped off with baby oil. The tank is then mounted on a cam controlled by a servo, which rocks the tank back and forth to create waves. This is controlled by the motion of the rider on the plywood surfboard, which can be rocked to and fro on the floor thanks to its curved bottom. An Arduino built into the board monitors a three-axis accelerometer, and sends this information to the Arduino controlling the tank.

By riding the board, the user can shake the tank. Get the motion just right, and smooth rolling waves are your reward. Jerk around with no real rhythm, and you’ll just get messy surf. We reckon it would be even better with a little surfer floating in the tank, too. It’s a fun build, and one that might help stave off the negative health effects of sitting at a desk all day. You might prefer a more shocking desk toy, however. Video after the break.

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Shred The Gnar Without Paddling For Waves

[Ben Gravy] isn’t your average pro surfer. For one thing, he lives in New Jersey instead of someplace like Hawaii or Australia, and for another he became famous not for riding the largest waves but rather for riding the weirdest ones. He’s a novelty wave hunter, but some days even the obscure surf spots aren’t breaking. For that, he decided to build a surfboard that doesn’t need waves. (Video, embedded below the break.)

The surfboard that [Ben] used for this project isn’t typical either. It’s made out of foam without any fiberglass, which makes the board less expensive than a traditional surfboard. The propulsion was handled by an electric trolling motor and was hooked up to a deep cycle battery mounted in the center of the board in a waterproof box. The first prototype ended up sinking though, as most surfboards can’t support the weight of a single person on their own without waves even without all the equipment that he bolted to it.

After some reworking, [Ben] was able to realize his dream of riding a surfboard without any waves. It’s not fast, but the amount of excitement that he had proves that it works and could fool most of us. This hack has everything, too: a first prototype that didn’t work exactly right and was fixed with duct tape, electricity used in a semi-dangerous way, and solving a problem we didn’t know we had. We hope he builds a second, faster one as well.

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Surf’s Up! Virtually

While it may or may not be true that if everybody had an ocean they’d be surfing like California, it is true that with a water pump, some copper tape, and a few scraps you can make a surfing simulator that sprays you if you don’t keep your balance.

You can see the simple device in operation in the video below. We presume [Adi_10] actually surfs, but we can’t comment on the realism of the simulator. There’s no computer. Just a switch made from the base and the balance board.

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Hackaday Links: April 28, 2010

Cell phone chopper control

Control your tiny inexpensive helicopter with a Nokia N900. The chopper uses an infrared remote control, just like a television. Getting this to work was just a matter of figuring out the IR commands and writing an app for the phone to spit them out.

Fade to black; inconspicuously

Lost interest in your TV-B-Gone? Give it one last whirl by throwing it inside of an old iPod case. The dock connector hole is just about the right size for the LEDs and the kit fits nicely in the old 3G type iPods. With this kind of disguise it should be a lot harder to spot who’s messing with those TVs.

Surf your way to a cleaner house

This guy uses a roomba to clean his floors. The Wii balance board lets him lean forward and back to surf the little bot around the room. This seems a little more exciting than the exercise programs the board was originally designed for. [Thanks DXR]

G1 gamepad

[Tobias Weber] built a gamepad for the G1 Android phone. He used an old Atari control, cut out two buttons and the d-pad, and glued them in a housing to fit the G1 keyboard. Each presses a button on the phone’s keyboard which can be mapped through the emulator software.

Social power monitoring

Here you see a very small portion of the power meter installed in a Cafe at UC Berkeley. It shows the energy usage for the building, separated into categories such as lights, power outlets, and coffee machines. This lets students know how much juice they’re draining by plugging in their gadgets. The color bar uses 93 ShiftBrite modules controlled by an Arduino.