World Surf League names Apple Watch ‘official wearable’


Pro surfers won't have to strain to see and hear on-shore announcements.
Pro surfers won't have to strain to see and hear on-shore announcements.
Photo: Brent Bielmann, WSL

The World Surf League adopted Apple Watch as its official wearable Friday. The move enables pro surfers to use the water-resistant smartwatch with a certain app to track crucial metrics during competitions.

This marks the first time Apple Watch has become official equipment for a pro sport.

Apple Watch becomes ‘official wearable’ for World Surf League

The World Surf League said surfers at competitive events will receive Apple Watch Series 8 or Apple Watch Ultra with the new WSL Surfer app loaded before each heat.

Why? Key real-time information should help surfers better compete where it’s often hard to see and hear what’s going on.

Apple Watch could be a ‘game changer’

“The noise of the wind and the waves can sometimes make it impossible to hear the announcers while competing, and that means you miss crucial information,” said WSL champion and Olympic gold medalist Ítalo Ferreira in a statement Friday.

“Challenging conditions can make it hard to see the beach and a priority penalty could cost you the heat, so not needing to rely on seeing the beach or hearing the announcers makes a huge difference and prevents guesswork,” he added. He called Apple Watch a “game changer” for keeping track of scoring and wave priority.

Surfers see scoring, wave priority and time limits

Surfers will receive Apple Watch Ultra, pictured, or Apple Watch 8 with an official app before each heat.
Surfers will receive Apple Watch Ultra, shown above, or Apple Watch 8 with an official app before each heat.
Photo: Apple

The new app communicates with the official scoring system. It allows competitors to see scores (including points they need to advance), wave priority and time remaining in a heat.

WSL CEO Erik Logan described the decision to adopt Apple Watch as follows.

The unique capabilities, ease of use, and incredible water resistance of Apple Watch make it the ideal solution to support our surfers competing in the extreme conditions of our worldwide tour. Surfers need critical information while they compete, and the WSL Surfer app we’ve developed for Apple Watch provides real-time data that will help the communication flow from the WSL Scoring System to the competitors in the water.

The league said athletes have been testing the app for the past two years. Competitors new to the app will receive training on it.

10-event tour in 7 countries

The WSL’s 2023 Championship Tour will see 10 regular-season events in seven countries. It begins in January at the Billabong Pro Pipeline and comes to a head at the Shiseido Tahiti Pro. Then the Rip Curl WSL Finals unfold at Lower Trestles in San Clemente, California.

“We’re thrilled the WSL is utilizing Apple Watch for the Championship Tour, making it simple and easy for surfers to quickly glance at their wrist for instant access to vital information,” said Eric Jue, Apple’s director of Apple Watch marketing.

“This innovative solution leverages many of the advanced features of Apple Watch — bright high-resolution display, durability, water resistance, cellular connectivity and a powerful platform for organizations to build custom apps,” Jue added.

If you’re a surfing fan, you can enjoy Apple’s other tie-in with pro surfing. It’s the documentary series Make or Break on Apple TV+, soon entering its second season of behind-the-scenes looks at the World Surf League Championship Tour.

Source: World Surf League


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