WSL Tells Competitors: ‘You Better Like Them Apples’ - Stab Mag
No more Breitlings at Banzai, Slatz. Photo by WSL

WSL Tells Competitors: ‘You Better Like Them Apples’

Will mandating competitors to wear Apple Watches make the 2023 tour more or less engaging?

news // Jan 29, 2023
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 2 minutes

On December 14, 2022, Stab published an article based on a leaked email sent to competitors outlining key proposed changes for the forthcoming 2023 season. Relevant here is the proposed mandate that: competitors use ‘wearable technology’ to capture biometrics and send live updates on priority, wave scores, score requirements and time remaining. 

It turned out to be true. 

Today, the WSL announced its integration of the Apple Watch as the official wearable equipment of the Championship Tour (CT). Per the WSL’s press release, ‘All WSL CT athletes will get access to the new WSL Surfer app on Apple Watch Series 8 and Apple Watch Ultra to keep them informed while in the water during competition. The specially-developed WSL Surfer app on Apple Watch syncs with the WSL Scoring System in real time. This provides athletes in competition with the information they need including scores, wave priority, and time in the heat directly to their wrist.’

Three to the beach Tristian!

“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,” said Erik Logan, WSL CEO. “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. We are thrilled to roll this out and enable our Championship Tour athletes to focus on their performance and improve competition throughout the season.”

Omitted from the press release is the application of info flowing the other way. Will the capturing of competitors biometrics (heart rate, lactate and other health and fitness data) and motion data service the WSL’s storytelling? Would insights such as: Jack Robbo vs Filipe Toledo’s heart rate at 10-foot Teahupoo, or whether Zeke Lau pushes John’s BPM’s high than anyone else’s, help carry the broadcast team’s conversation in dull moments?

Smartwatches will invade Banzai tomorrow. Photo by Brent Bielmann/World Surf League

The penalties for non-compliance with tech is: $5000 for the first violation, $10,000 for the second, up to $50,000 for the third. Important fine print is in the event of a discrepancy between figure on watch and LED system/beach announcements, the LED/beach announcements take precedent. 


How do you like them Apples?

You can see the what smart-tracking 750,000 sessions via the Dawn Patrol app revealed about the way we surf here.


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