Everyone has a smartphone nowadays. The tech inside those pocket-friendly devices is nuts, GPS, cameras, access to the net anywhere, if you've a decent signal, and easy to share just about anything to social platforms, or keep little vignettes for yourself. So it really was only really a matter of time before your most used device was transformed into a functional, easy-to-use surf action camera.
Yeah, we know how that sounds. But hear us out. GPS watches that record your sessions are already around, GoPros are still going strong – and they're knock offs seem to be selling well too. Well, now there's DouDou Surf, named after the creator's dog. It's an app for your smartphone and waterproof casing that sits in a mount on the front of your board, allowing you to record your session with either your front or rear camera – ie your point of view, or with the camera looking at you.
But it's a little more than just being able to record video for you. In the app, it'll also note down your distance travelled and speed, where you caught each wave from and to and can watch it back in real time, or slow it down. You can record for as long as you like too, as long as there's enough memory in your phone. It makes full use of a variety of tech features your phone already has, but in an accessible and ergonomic way.
There's part of the case that covers the phone screen that is made up of a slightly different material than the hard external shell. This allows you to easily tap your phone screen with no issues. The interface of the open app brings the touchable icons a little more central on the screen, again, an ease of use function, so you're not looking around for the right thing to press. The app is simple to use and fairly self explanatory.
The camera lens is super wide, so you'll never miss out on any of the action. Files save to your camera roll and from there, you can edit them how you see fit. And the mount? It's damn robust, fixing securely to your board. For added peace of mind, there's a ringed float for the whole product, so if the worst happens and it somehow comes loose, you're not going to lose your phone in the drink. Or the mount, for that matter. There's also a safety string to loop the mount to the base.
With the market saturation of these types of devices, it did get us thinking, who is this for? But that question is also kind of redundant when you think about the applications here. For the amateur, it's a little token souvenir from a fun day. For surf schools, it could be a sweet extra to offer when beginners catch their first waves. For the parents pushing their kids into their first wave, it could capture that magic too. For the intermediate/Pro, it could be used to track your waves, to see patterns in a certain break – or just some actionable data about speed and positioning.
And if you're thinking this really isn't for you, that's ok too, of course. The reality is, every surfer has some curiosity about wave count, speed, positioning and any tool that can help plot in those factors, and quantify the data, may make for a handy accessory. If you've interest in where you've been taking off at a surf spot you might not have surfed before, or making notes about where a bank is for that session, this could be a handy go to resource.
Anyway, to find out more about the company and to get a bit more insight into the product, we tapped up creator Jack Yeh. Dig in.
Tell us a bit about DouDou, where did the name came from?
DouDou is my beloved dog’s name. He was once a street dog in Taiwan and my wife and I adopted him a long time ago. We even brought him back to Sydney Australia while working there for years, and then took him all the way back to Taiwan. Sadly, DouDou passed away in 2010.
How did you come up with this idea?
We found that the smartphone is actually the best action camera due to its portability. And videos can be shared and edited in such a quick, convenient way.
Ok, talk us through the features here?
We designed the case for surfers to operate the camera from a surfers’ point of view, and this is one of the unique features compared with other similar products. The current version of the case is suitable for four models of iPhone, iPhone6, 6s, 7 and 8. But we've future models planned too.
There's even an iOS app for surfers to go along with this. This allows you to; record your surf session time, surfing route, distance covered, ride count, average speed and even calculate how frequent you ride a wave. You can also playback your surfing route with corresponding speed based on your movement. Playback speed can be adjusted too. The app is free to download.
Everyone has a smart phone nowadays, and we’re seeing magazine covers shot with iPhones – one cover of the Surfers Journal was actually a phone camera snap and that’s a testament to how far tech has come. With that in mind, do you think with these cases, we’ll see a lot more video and clips from amateur surfers?
We are targeting on surfers who love to share their surfing life, be they amateur or professional, really.
How has this been tested?
We did some lab tests, impact tests, pressure tests and endurance tests. In addition, we also sent our products to many surfers in USA, Australia and Taiwan for field testing.
Part of the sanctity of surfing is people coming to get away from their phones, some surfing purists may see this as ruining that sort of vibe in the water, what would you say to them?
We design the product for surfers to record their surfing lives and share them in a positive way, be they in the form of videos, photos or even the surfing routes to help understand the sports science and so on. Yes, surfers do need to get away from their social networks that cause many distractions while surfing, but their smartphone can be a useful tool to enhance their surfing life.
GoPros were all the rage a few years back, do you see this as a replacement for them?
No. We just offer surfers another choice.
With other water devices used as action cams, shots were great for a time, then kind of got burned out – do you think the novelty here of having everything shot and edited on your phone will go down well?
Yes, we believe the smartphone is the best action camera. Everyone is already familiar with the operation on their smartphone. The smartphone can not only capture the footage in a very convenient way, but also the post production or the editing process is just a few taps and swipes to stitch the clips together. After that, people can just share them easily. We believe the novelty here of having everything shot and edited on your phone will go down well.
Like the look of this? You can shop for DouDou Surf, HERE.
Imagery by Peppy Media.