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Activity tracker for extreme sports wants to bring data to the slopes and the surf

If you’re into Joe Schmo sports like running and cycling, there are plenty of activity trackers that want to measure the distance you’ve traveled, steps taken or calories burned. But if you want to monitor how high your snowboard hovered above the halfpipe or how fast your surfboard traveled across the wave, you’re pretty much out of luck.

ActiveReplay, a Los Angeles startup founded by a father and son team that includes the former CTO of navigation company Magellan, wants to change all that. For the past couple of years, the company has been courting skiers with a smartphone app that lets them track their average speed, number of runs, calories burned and other data.  But on Wednesday, the startup is launching its first tracking device, called Trace, with a campaign on Kickstarter.

ActiveReplayUnlike most consumer activity trackers, ActiveReplay’s small, puck-shaped device doesn’t attach to the athlete, but to the equipment. Once affixed to a surfboard, skateboard, snowboard or ski, it logs basic information like an athlete’s speed and the calories burned. But it also uses a gyroscope, accelerometer and other sensors to track the speed of a skateboarder’s flip, the sharpness of a surfer’s turn or the number of times a skier went off a jump.

“We want to change these sports so that you can gather objective and quantifiable data,” said co-founder David Lokshin, who launched the company with his father Anatole Loksin, a longtime executive at Magellan Navigation. “The same thing happened with running and biking 10 years ago. There’s no reason why it shouldn’t happen with action sports now.”

ActiveReplay isn’t the first to go after the action sports market with a quantified self-type device. The LIT, which raised more than $50,000 on Indiegogo earlier this year, logs jumps, rotations and airtime, among other things.

ActiveReplay session sheetBecause the Trace sits on the equipment itself, Lokshin said it’s able to capture more data, with more granularity. The company’s “math team,” which includes two math Ph.Ds, examine all the company’s incoming sensor data and write algorithms that can identify the signature of a “cutback” surfing maneuver or a skateboarder’s “kickflip,” he said. That, he says, enables the company to give athletes detailed “session reports.”

For now, the startup’s goal is to raise $150,000 to fund the production of its first devices and get them into consumers’ hands. But, over time, Lokshin said, their aim is to bring quantification to all levels of action sports, from enthusiasts all the way up to the X Games and Olympics.

Assuming it raises the funds, ActiveReplay’s plan is to start shipping in early 2014, at which point Lokshin says it could retail around $169.

Image by Ipatov via Shutterstock.

4 Responses to “Activity tracker for extreme sports wants to bring data to the slopes and the surf”

  1. Interesting idea. I could see pro surfers (and other adventure/extreme sports athletes) finding this really useful. I think I’d even dig seeing my stats improve as I get better at surfing. But I was just remarking how much I enjoy being out in the water without digital devices! I like that it’s the one place I can easily escape to and disconnect, get away from beeps and alerts and emails. I like how ActiveReply sits on the board like a GoPro, so I just hope it is quiet like one too.

  2. Agree with the need to have Activity trackers used in all type of sports (including surfing, snow & skateboarding). Not sure about the need to have another device just dedicated to these activities ? Maybe addicts of those sports would also like to use the same tracker for other activities as well ?
    Multi-purpose trackers should appear soon ! (and apps !).