One of the reasons many surfers love their sport so much is because the isolation of the ocean waves provides them a calm, disconnected serenity from the world unable to be found on land. It's 2016, however, so tech companies are finding new ways to destroy that with the help of social media celebrities.
In a new Samsung surfboard ad (you read that correctly), professional surfer Gabriel Medina is seen swimming in a dark, ominous ocean as captions read, "The surfer. Alone in the middle of the ocean ... What if Samsung could change this?"
The video then showboats several features on the smart surfboard — smart board? — from the ability to show him conditions of the sea to the wind direction and frequency of the waves. The technologically savvy surfboard essentially feeds Medina, someone who has been surfing all his life, information he can gather just by being out in the ocean himself.
The surfboard also flashes messages from his coach, who is seen micromanaging his every move through text messages, as well as messages from fans across social media. The ad, of course, displays powerful tweets ("Brazil is with you," "Go champ,"), but what if trolls began writing "Go fuck yourself!" while Medina is trying to hit the lip on an A-frame?
The board is admittedly pretty advanced — a sleek, aerodynamic design matched with futuristic technology capable of providing real time information to a professional in the middle of the sea seems to come straight out of Sci-Fi movies. The prototype model used by Medina seems to integrate seamlessly with his training and, in some ways, better his performance in ways an isolated surfer without such a board wouldn't be able to.
Still, some dedicated lifetime surfers will take a hard pass on upgrading to the souped up tech board. It's great that innovative companies are finding new ways to dive into untapped markets, but incorporating social media and messaging with surfboards takes away from one of the best parts of surfing: the absence of technology and taking a moment to reflect on oneself without the opinion of others behind screens.