Rip Curl rides wearable wave with smartwatch for surfers

Designed by VML Australia using Rackspace database-as-a-service

Surfers can use the Rip Curl watch to get stats on their session.
Surfers can use the Rip Curl watch to get stats on their session.

Rip Curl has launched a smartwatch for surfers that measures surf data and maps their ride on an interactive map.

The Rip Curl Search GPS uses satellite positioning and other sensors to measure wave count, speeds reached, ride and session distances. After syncing to an iPhone or iPad via Bluetooth or a desktop computer via a USB cord, surfers can view the data on a digital map and analyse data to gain insights into their performance.

The wearable device was developed for Rip Curl by digital marketing agency VML Australia. Rackspace has provided the cloud-based back end powering data collection and analysis with the vendor’s database-as-a-service (DBaaS) for NoSQL MongoDB.

“The capture and subsequent analysis of surf data presents endless possibilities and opportunities for us,” said Shane Helm, global chairman of Rip Curl’s watches and equipment division.

A close-up look at the watch.
A close-up look at the watch.

Rip Curl is not new to watches – for more than 20 years it has been making watches that provide information on tides and the best times and places to surf.

“But a few years ago we started to look ahead at what would be the driving force of our watch department for the next 20 years,” Helm told CMO Australia.

After coming up with the concept for the Search GPS watch, Rip Curl reached out to VML and discovered the creative agency had similar ideas for a new watch, he said.

Jeff Donios, technical director and architect at VML, said the entire advertising industry has taken notice of the growing excitement around wearable devices. But VML had been waiting for the right project before jumping on the wave.

“It’s really choosing the right wearable to provide to the right solution,” he said.

Data from the watch can be synced to PCs and Apple iOS devices.
Data from the watch can be synced to PCs and Apple iOS devices.

Waterproofing was a key consideration in the design of the watch, which is built to withstand many different kinds of waves and hold tightly to the surfer’s wrist, said Helm. Rip Curl also wanted to create a watch that was simple to use despite having many complex features, he said.

Rip Curl tendered the Web and application side of the project to a few vendors, but VML gave a strong recommendation for Rackspace, said Helm.

“Using ObjectRocket for Rip Curl Search GPS helps us capture data and provides deep insights into surfing patterns and behaviour. We can then offer improvements to the surfing community, as well as help refine our own offering to surfers.”

Helm also highlighted ObjectRocket’s ability to handle sudden bursts of demand. “If demand peaks or falls for the service at different times of the year, we have a solution that will automatically adjust with us and is managed by experts. It is highly cost effective with 10,000 users, 100,000 users or 500,000 users – wherever they are in the world.”

Donios said Rackspace ticked the boxes for a service that could be scaled up to meet demand. From a price perspective, choosing a cloud vendor allowed Rip Curl and VML to keep costs small initially, increasing them as the customer base expands.

“We wanted to focus on the application and the algorithms, and tuning the watch and tuning the platform,” he said. “We didn’t want to worry about servers and memory and disk space and things like that.”

The Rip Curl Search GPS watch will be available in mid-September for $499 from more than 850 outlets in Australia where Rip Curl products are sold.

Rip Curl plans to add syncing support to other mobile platforms in the future, with Android the first priority, said Helm.

Adam Bender covers digital marketing and emerging technology for CMO and is the author of dystopian sci-fi novels We, The Watched and Divided We Fall. Follow him on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

Signup to CMO’s email newsletter to receive your weekly dose of targeted content for the modern marketing chief.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: Microsoft's Pip Arthur

​In this latest episode of our conversations over a cuppa with CMO, we catch up with the delightful Pip Arthur, Microsoft Australia's chief marketing officer and communications director, to talk about thinking differently, delivering on B2B connection in the crisis, brand purpose and marketing transformation.

More Videos

Great content and well explained. Everything you need to know about Digital Design, this article has got you covered. You may also check ...

Ryota Miyagi

Why the art of human-centred design has become a vital CX tool

Read more

Interested in virtual events? If you are looking for an amazing virtual booth, this is definitely worth checking https://virtualbooth.ad...

Cecille Pabon

Report: Covid effect sees digital events on the rise long-term

Read more

Thank you so much for sharing such an informative article. It’s really impressive.Click Here & Create Status and share with family

Sanwataram

Predictions: 14 digital marketing predictions for 2021

Read more

Nice!https://www.live-radio-onli...

OmiljeniRadio RadioStanice Uzi

Google+ and Blogger cozy up with new comment system

Read more

Awesome and well written article. The examples and elements are good and valuable for all brand identity designs. Speaking of awesome, ch...

Ryota Miyagi

Why customer trust is more vital to brand survival than it's ever been

Read more

Blog Posts

A Brand for social justice

In 2020, brands did something they’d never done before: They spoke up about race.

Dipanjan Chatterjee and Xiaofeng Wang

VP and principal analyst and senior analyst, Forrester

Determining our Humanity

‘Business as unusual’ is a term my organisation has adopted to describe the professional aftermath of COVID-19 and the rest of the tragic events this year. Social distancing, perspex screens at counters and masks in all manner of situations have introduced us to a world we were never familiar with. But, as we keep being reminded, this is the new normal. This is the world we created. Yet we also have the opportunity to create something else.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

Should your business go back to the future?

In times of uncertainty, people gravitate towards the familiar. How can businesses capitalise on this to overcome the recessionary conditions brought on by COVID? Craig Flanders explains.

Craig Flanders

CEO, Spinach

Sign in