User Experience Director


Surf brands were struggling to keep their heads above water with the rise of fast fashion and a loss of cultural credibility. Things were so bad Billabong eventually delisted from the Australian stock market in 2018. So we asked, How might we help invigorate the category and reconnect with surfers?


Rip Curl has always been an innovator, best known for their Flashbomb heated wetsuit. Increasingly sophisticated tracking technologies, both in mobile phones and smart watches gave rise to the quantified-self trend. Nike had recently launched Nike+ and so we asked, What would the 'Nike+' for surfing look like?


We wanted to give surfers the ability to capture and relive the moments they spend their lives searching for. Rip Curl Search GPS provides a way for surfers to measure their performance in the water, from fastest and longest wave, through to distance paddled and time surfing. Back on the beach surfers can share their session with mates. For Rip Curl, Search GPS takes customer insights to a whole new level, providing details on the type of surfer and the boards they ride.


Rip Curl Search GPS is a multi-touchpoint experience made up from a bluetooth GPS watch, iOS mobile app, desktop syncing app for Android users and web application. Running two-week design sprints, we researched, designed and tested new features. Testing took place with local surfers and Rip Curl pro's, with feedback informing future design sprints. Key challenges included the design of an informative syncing process, clearly communicating and managing privacy for surfers that wished to keep their surfs private, and turning thousands of GPS data points into meaningful insights.


Rip Curl sold 30,000 units within the first 6 months, and now has over 70,000 users. In the first 12 months we logged 76,460 hours of surfing and discovered 21 unknown surf spots in South Korea.


WARC Innovation Awards, Gold and Product or Service Innovation, 2016
D&AD Yellow Pencil 2015, Mobile App
D&AD Wood Pencil 2015, Connected Products
The Webby Awards 2015, Best use of GPS or Location Technology
AMIA Awards 2015, Grand Prix
AMIA Awards 2015, Best Smartphone Application
AMIA Awards 2015, Most Innovative Digital Product
Clio Award 2014, Bronze, Mobile App
The One Show 2015, Silver, Use of Technology / Location-Based Services or Proximity Marketing