Stab Magazine | Contest Organisational Problems? There’s An App Tor That
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Contest Organisational Problems? There’s An App Tor That

Fixing comp set-up and execution one software update at a time. 

news // Mar 9, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

While easy on the eyes, surfers aren’t exactly the cleverest bunch. Particularly when it comes to organisation on the competitive front. Ever participated in a boardriders contest? They’re a unique logistical nightmare; nowhere close to the well-oiled, unsponsored machine the WSL is.

No, you show up at the crack of dawn, sign your name on a piece of paper, wait a cool hour for your heat draw, surf said heat, then rinse and repeat for the rest of the day — and possibly weekend — with results hinging on the outcome of systemised chaos. 

While these shortcomings have been widely accepted by the general populace, some have had enough. Such as ex-QS surfer Chris Friend, who developed Live Heats, a seamless scoring and mobile comp entry program.

“Originally the idea actually came from a friend of mine, a software developer and surfer named Fernando,” Chris admits meekly. “He had never done a boardriders meet, which I’d done heaps of throughout the past.”

Chris did more than just compete. “I was always the thirteen year old kid who did the tabulation, collected all the registration papers, and added up scores. It was always a bit troublesome, but that’s just how I accepted contests ran and rolled with it. 

“But fast forward back to Fernando. He saw this process and knew there was room to capitalise. So he pulled me aside after a comp and said: ‘Look, would you be keen to join a team and start an app that solve this problem for people?’ And it went from there.”

Clancy Dawson

Time of heat, jersey colour, scores; here’s what your personal dashboard would look like if you were signed up in a contest (and your name is Clancy Dawson) on Live Heats.

The software development process is a new-world approach to an old-world dilemma.

“We started off by building a basic version that can still solve the problem, but can immediately get in the hands of whoever wants to use it. Then once we saw them interacting with it, we started understanding what features everyone wants and works, and what we needed to build on.

Manage Heats

Brave new world: A time when number crunching on paper is practice dead and gone for judges.

“And the app is easy to use. All a boardriders club has to do is tell everyone to sign up through it, and it instantly sorts everyone into their respective heats. This means, if I’m a competitor, I can open up my personal dashboard on my phone through the Live Heats app and see that I’m in heat five in round one of opens, or whatever division, which is scheduled to surf at noon, and I’m in the yellow jersey. I’m able to instantly receive that information. Which is great because then I can go home — lay in my bed, eat, whatever — until 11:30 and just run down to the beach.

“In the old world, you’d have to rock up at eight and only to see your heat was noon and go, ‘Fuck, well I guess I’ll just go and surf for the next four hours.’ Now, I can see exactly when I’m on. As well as the rest of my schedule for that matter.

Edit Schedule

Competitor drop out mid-way through a contest because they get injured? Or are hungover? No problem, you edit the schedule on the fly.

“Also, with the app, if someone doesn’t make it to round two despite advancing in round one, they can just chug someone’s name in right there. Or, they can turn two three-man semis into one six-man final if the waves suck and everyone’s over it. With any other system you’d struggle to do that, because they’re built for more structured events. But, because ours is built so that you can tweak stuff however you like, it works. 

“The app’s been successfully gaining traction among local boardriders thanks to its mobility. We have 19 clubs up and going with it that are using it every month for their competitions. And they’ve been totally happy and satisfied. We’ve had over 52 events run through it now, so it’s been going for awhile. Hopefully it keeps growing.

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