Trace: A New Paradigm of Tracking Tech?

TRACE claims to make action sports measurable, sharable, and comparable. It has currently raised more than $56K on Kickstarter in its first week, proving that demand for the product exists. Here's our first look at a potentially new paradigm of tracking tech looking to be crowd-funded by you.

For surfers Trace says it is: "The first piece of technology that can record everything about your surf session. From the moment you paddle out, Trace is collecting data. Every time you catch a wave, Trace calculates your max speed, average speed, length of wave in both time and distance. If you boost an air, Trace measures how high you got, how long you were in the air and distance traveled.

The first piece of technology that can record everything about your surf session. From the moment you paddle out, Trace is collecting data. Every time you catch a wave, Trace calculates your max speed, average speed, length of wave in both time and distance. If you boost an air, Trace measures how high you got, how long you were in the air and distance traveled.

How long were your rides? How fast did you go? How big were your airs? How sharp were you turns? How many Calories did you burn? Trace is able to tell you all that and more. You'll also be able to see how you compare against other people surfing the same breaks as you. Who caught the best waves today, this week, this year? Trace knows."

At MSW we actually got involved in an idea similar to this a couple of years ago, but the software required an iPhone, and taking them in the sea surprisingly failed to catch on. Trace solves that issue coming bundled in "a small, light, and durable, yet incredibly advanced piece of action sports technology." Basically a nearly indestructible GPS unit and accelerometer bundled up on a package the size of a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. It's not very big, you get the idea. It is certainly an interesting concept, one with a lot of potential for the geek inside you. How long is that break? Did your mate really get a 100 metre ride etc. David Lokshin, Trace's co-creator spared us a few minutes to answer our questions about the possibilities of this unit.

From where did your idea for the system stem? We asked David.

My co-founder, Anatole, was VP and CTO of Magellan Navigation for more than a decade. He was responsible for all new technology over that period and was the first to develop consumer GPS, digital mapping, car navigation and more. He left the company a few years back and started thinking, "What's next?" We decided that the same revolution that happened with GPS was about to happen with inertial sensors. We both love action sports, and thought that for the first time ever, we could make these sports measurable, sharable, and comparable. We started working nights on AlpineReplay, which in the last couple of years has become a huge success. The goal has always been to touch all action sports, and that's where Trace comes in.

Meaning you have a background in action sports?

Yes, definitely. I grew up in Southern California where you can surf and snowboard on the same day. Anatole loves to ski. This is the product we've always wanted.

Have you been surprised by the level of funding in the first few days?

The response has been amazing! In the first 24 hours we raised nearly $20,000 without much press, and now we have passed $56,000 in the first week. It's important to get the word out to as many surfers as possible!

Where do you see the product going? For example could you see it being used in competitions to provide live telemetry?

We have really big dreams for Trace (which happens to be a really little gadget!). And I'm glad that you mention live stats in competitions. We have a product called Replay Video which actually does that. Skiers and snowboarders all over the world have used it. Here's how it works: Using the AlpineReplay app, I film my buddy, Ed, skiing. He's also using the app but to record data. Afterwards both Ed and I send our data to servers, and out pops a video with Ed's stat superimposed. His speed, altitude drop, jump stats like time and height. And we believe that's the future of our sport from a spectators perspective. You can see how sharp or critical a cutback is in real time. How fast the riders are racing through the tube. How high Dane Reynolds is getting on his absolutely insane airs.

Is Trace something you want in your surfing? Or an anathema to everything you love about the existential gifts of the sport? Presumably it is some of the only data the NSA are not interested in, unless they surf. Let us know what you think in the comments below and if you want one then get backing HERE because if the full amount, $150K, isn't raised in the allotted time then the project receives zilch.


Ed Temperley

MSW editor. Twitter @edtemperley