At LifeProof we are super stoked to tell you about our new partnership. As you know LifeProof FRÉ cases are submersible; thus, they let you dive into the water without hesitation. The FRÉ combined with the LiveActiv armband was the perfect combo for this SurfTracer pilot in the Netherlands. This pilot is the brainchild of Niels Van Campen.

We caught up with the driving force behind this initiative to find out how he came up with this rad idea and why. At LifeProof we celebrate those who LIVE FULLTIME, live each day to the fullest on their terms. By using LifeProof products, this initiative enables water sport participants to chase experiences, capture moments and to share stories. We could not be more pumped!

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Niels please tell us about this super cool initiative?

SurfTracer is a pilot where we test the tracking app for surfers and the emergency follow up by the Safety and Rescue (SAR) services at sea. The app is called ‘KNRM Helpt’ and provides real time data. The surfer can send an alarm to notify the Coastguard. This pilot is part of EU project ‘Proeftuin op de Noordzee’, a live lab for innovative solutions at the North Sea.

Why create this app?

In 2018, I nearly drowned while windsurfing at sea. I lost my board and sail 2 miles offshore and swimming back was not an option with waves up to 15 feet. Luckily, after one hour swimming, another surfer noticed me and pulled me back to the shore.

From that moment, I was destined to find a solution for this. Surfing and especially kitesurfing is a fast growing sport, which brings more risk and puts more pressure at the rescue services. That is why we teamed up to improve the safety of all water sport participants and save lives.

What are the steps that are involved?

  • The pilot will be held at JumpTeam Scheveningen, one of the largest watersport clubs in Europe with 1.500 members.
  • 50 wind- and kite surfers will be traced real time when at sea.
  • Their mobile phone will be attached to their wetsuit with an innovative LifeProof armband and a submersible waterproof case from Lifeproof called FRÉ.
  • On a large TV screen in the clubhouse we can follow all the testers at sea and see a notification when a surfer needs help.
  • In the case of an emergency, a signal is send to the coastguard, who can immediately locate the surfer in distress and send help.
  • In July, we will simulate an emergency where a kite surfer has to be rescued at sea.

What do you hope to achieve from this?

The search for a safety solution should benefit all surfers and sailors. I know how dangerous the sea can be, so better be prepared and well equipped. I was stoked when LifeProof came on board as a partner and made this pilot a reality.

Who is taking part? How many?

The pilot has received great support from the major national and local organisations: The Dutch Coast guard, KNRM (Dutch Safety and Rescue), Safety Region Haaglanden (local fire dep.), municipality of The Hague and Surf club JumpTeam Scheveningen all collaborate. LifeProof coming onboard has made this pilot a reality by providing the best equipment to make this a success.

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