The WSL Has Removed Its ‘Heat Analyzer’ And We Are Genuinely Irate
The beginning of the end.
I had a stressful day.
Around 9 am I was rudely awakened by Morgan Williamson, Stab’s Senior Editor, who had the audacity to call me during normal working hours to discuss the fact that Kelly Slater had, in classic Slater form, announced his retirement in exactly 1.5 years.
“Can you write a little something about that?” Morgan pleasantly inquired, as if this was part of my job description.
Minutes later, my girlfriend either did or did not nearly die after maybe or maybe not having an allergic reaction to a walnut. After calming her down, making her a delicious smoothie dosed with Benadryl and sending her back to bed, I was finally able to dig into this Kelly business.
Having been asleep for the entirety of yesterday’s competition, I directed my online query toward the venerable stabmag.com for info on what had occurred. Much to my relief, Stab’s French correspondent Brendan Buckley had written a contest wrap of the day, which included highlight waves, the comic absurdity of Slater’s one-upping Joel’s retirement announcement, and most interestingly a parable about the WSL’s first exclusive Facebook Live coverage, which according to Buckley, was an utter trainwreck.
I chuckled at this but did not think very much of it. As Rory Parker would later declare of the Facebook changeover (I’m paraphrasing): Sure, things are different now, perhaps even objectively worse, but the end of the world this ain’t. Something something underage cousins.
With the pertinent info of Slater’s announcement in hand, my energy was directed toward writing the aforementioned piece, wherein I questioned both the legitimacy of Kelly’s claim and whether or not he leaked a key piece of info about the 2019 Championship Tour schedule (questions directed toward the WSL on this matter have not yet been responded to, as per usual).
A couple hours later, with that out of the way, I decided to sit down with my gal for lunch, who had justified staying home from work on account of a walnut snafu that either did or did not happen this morning.
What happened next is not up for debate. After stuffing her mouth with a forkful of kale, rice, sweet potatoes and jicama (ew), m’lady looked at me as if I’d turned into Harvey Weinsten. She then stood up, walked away from me, and attempted to expel the vegan mouthful into her cupped hand.
Not knowing whether she was choking or if this was yet another nut-related allergy attack (it happens a lot), I decided to approach her from behind, tuck my hands into her gut, and pull up with an aggressive shrug.
Pop went the food as it flew between her teeth and onto the floor. My dog was quick to make the best of that situation, as I consoled my gal and wiped away her tears.
“Next time you’re choking, don’t run away!” I implored.
Interestingly, I recently read an article about a woman who, in the midst of choking on her food, ran out of the restaurant that supplied said food and was only saved when her date followed her outside and delivered the Heimlich in an adjacent alleyway.
Maybe there’s something subconsciously at play here, like how dogs tend to wander away from home when they know they’re dying.
So as I was saying, a stressful day.
But with that pressing work and life-saving behind me, all I wanted to do was sit at my desk, log into worldsurfleague.com and peruse the Heat Analyzer for five fucking minutes to watch today’s best rides, uninterrupted, and delivered in the perfectly simple form of small green circles whose scores are revealed once I scroll over them.
Because guess what – apparently with their new Facebook deal, the WSL is no longer continuing the use of their Heat Analyzer, AKA literally the best thing they have going for their broadcast.
And that fucking sucks.
Because guess what again – surfing contests are slow. And long. And pretty fucking boring, most of the time.
That’s coming from one of maybe 100 people on this planet who genuinely care about this sport. From someone who watches these events because it’s his job, but who would also be doing it regardless because it’s his passion. From a true fan.
But sometimes we can’t watch every heat. And other times we simply don’t want to. But chances are we do want to watch the best surfing, certain interviews, and of course the harrowing wipeouts that occurred in each 30-minute segment throughout the day.
And now we can’t do that without rewatching the entire heat, or at least the “condensed” version, which are still 10-minutes apiece and offer no promise of what we might personally consider the “highlights” of any particular matuch-up.
For instance: post-heat interviews. Where are they?
So you can have your big Facebook deal, WSL. You can make the surfers wear numbers on their backs, create algorithmic justifications for your gender wage gap, and even send hearts and smilies fluttering across our screens while Joe Turpel explains how to properly perform a forehand wrap.
But do not take away our Heat Analyzer. It’s our saving grace. And frankly, without it, I doubt you’ll have even the most loyal among us for much longer.
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