Eye Tracking and Red Bull Surfers

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Red Bull high performance team uses SMI Eye Tracking Glasses to study surfers’ performance.

Challenge

Eye tracking is well-established in performance training in sports ranging from baseball to basketball and golf. But what happens when the challenge is to apply the same sports science on the water, with a group of young surfers in the Red Bull Surf Science Project?

Solution

SMI personnel customized Eye Tracking Glasses and the portable recorder to work in such tough conditions. As a result of this innovation, trainers and sports scientists could view in real time the surfers’ gaze, visual orientation and fixation points to assess how the surfers “read the waves” in order to make key decisions about the next maneuver.

SMI Eye Tracking

Used in sports training, SMI eye tracking reveals much about an athlete’s spatial and situational awareness, and plays an important role in assessing coordination.

Knowing when and where they fixate is fundamental to researchers and sports scientists and longer term, the data acquired becomes a key measure of the athlete’s improvement.

Benefit

Eye tracking revealed how surfers are able to “read the waves” in order to make decisions and how gaze patterns change under fatigue. The most experienced athletes demonstrated clear gaze patterns prior to initiating a maneuver while less experienced athletes did not show specific focus points.

The study proved the value of adapting eye tracking technology to produce valuable data under the most challenging conditions.

Background

Red Bull is a high-profile sponsor of traditional sports buts its High Performance Initiative was the first to heavily invest money and technology in sports such as BMX, skateboarding and surfing. In this case, Red Bull stressed the project was more about technological insight than the way people surf.

"The objective is to further advance the technology that is being developed, and test it in the harshest conditions possible," said Brandon Larson, technologist for the Red Bull High Performance team.

Benefit

Eye tracking revealed how surfers are able to “read the waves” in order to make decisions and how gaze patterns change under fatigue. The most experienced athletes demonstrated clear gaze patterns prior to initiating a maneuver while less experienced athletes did not show specific focus points.

The study proved the value of adapting eye tracking technology to produce valuable data under the most challenging conditions.

Customer Institution Red Bull High Performance Team
Customer website www.redbull.com
Press article Sporttechie