Have you ever left the beach after a killer surf session and wondered just how many waves you caught, exactly how tall were they, and how long were your rides? If you’re like me the answer is yes and a solution is on the way. Glassy Pro is producing a new watch with technology that will track the metrics of your surf session and connects with your friends so you can share your session with them. We spoke with Glassy Pro’s founder, Mikel Alonso, about how he fell in love with surfing and this cool new invention.
How did you fall in love with surfing?
Surfer Rule was one of the first surf magazines that came out in Spain: that was my first contact with surfing. I remember seeing some of those pictures of guys surfing and thinking, “I can do that!”… “Yeah definitively I want to do that.” I was around 14 years old at that time. I got together with two more friends from my hometown (right next to the border with France in the Basque lands, Irun) and we decided it was time to get out there and surf like guys in the magazines.
In the late 80’s and beginning of 90’s in the Basque country wasn’t easy to start surfing or find a proper quiver. My first board was a PKS shortboard, not the best bet for a beginner, but I could find any bigger boards. And of course there were no surf schools to learn, we were just going out rocking our flashy 80’s wetsuits and trying to do our best. A strong motivational aspect to us was watching the World Championship of Surfing that was taking place in Zarautz.
Our home spot was Hendaya, a surf spot in the French side of the border, even though it’s right next to Irun, it was an hour walk with our backpacks and the boards to get to the beach. Sometimes we would go there, and after that long walk, find that the conditions were not as good as expected or literally no waves.
We went a lot to San Sebastien to surf in Zurriola Beach since there was a train next to our house that went there. Surf really became a big part of our lives. As soon as we got our drivers license and a car we started to explore the French coast. I remember the first time I went to Le Penon in Hossegor: I was completely fascinated with the amazing waves we found there. Little by little we started to discover great surf spots around there like Guetary or Bidart.
Then I went on my first surf trip to Australia, it was great! The locals told me about a bunch of little islands not too far from there, where waves were incredible and no one was out – that place was called Indonesia. Indo really met the high expectations I had. I was and I am a surfer and surfing has always been a very important part of my life.
Tell us a little about your inspiration to found Glassy Pro.
The idea of Glassy Pro One came out in 2008. I moved from the Basque County to Valencia. The consistency of waves in Valencia wasn’t the same I had experienced in the Basque. Flat days were rough days, and I had to start practicing other sports to keep my mind occupied while waiting for the swells to come. Going for runs was a really helpful way to deal with the lack of waves.
As I got more into running, I discovered many cool tracking apps and accessories for runners like Nike+ or Runkeeper that I thought could absolutely be applied to my real passion: surfing. “Social networks allow you to share pictures or locations, but sharing your sessions and progressions in the ocean is something we haven’t got yet.”
It wasn’t until 2011, when I was tired of waiting for one of the big surf companies to do it; I decided to start developing the idea. With very little resources and a lot of imagination, work, and passion, I finally built what is Glassy Pro today. Moving away from the waves meant the development of something that would connect surfers worldwide. Glassy Pro’s mission is to rethink the way technology can improve surfing experience.
What’s coming up next for you and Glassy Pro?
Glassy Pro is now focus on the development of the same technology for snow sports like ski and snowboards. Our future perspective is become a real source of innovation for the different range of action sports and take them to the next level.
Thanks so much Mikel for speaking with us. Find out more about Glassy Pro here.