The World Surf League adopted the Apple Watch Friday as its official wearable. This allows pro surfers to use it with a specific app to track important metrics during competitions.
This is the first time the Apple Watch has become official equipment for a professional sport.
As a first for the Apple Watch, it will be ‘officially wearable’ for the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL) said surfers at competitive events will receive the Apple Watch Series 8 or Apple Watch Ultra with the WSL Surfer app loaded before each heat.
Why? Real-time key information should help surfers better compete where it’s often difficult to see and hear what’s going on.
Apple Watch could be a ‘game changer’
“The noise from the wind and waves can sometimes make it impossible to hear speakers while competing, meaning you miss out on crucial information,” said WSL champion and Olympic gold medalist ítalo Ferreira.
“Challenging conditions can make it difficult to see the beach and a priority penalty can cost you the heat, so not having to rely on seeing the beach or hearing speakers makes a huge difference and prevents guesswork,” he added. He called the Apple Watch a “game changer” for keeping track of scoring and wave priority.
Surfers see scoring, wave priority and time limits
The 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 the Apple Watch as follows.
Apple Watch’s unique features, ease of use and incredible water resistance make it the ideal solution to support our surfers competing in the extreme conditions of our worldwide tour. Surfers need critical information while competing, and the WSL Surfer app we developed for Apple Watch provides real-time data that helps 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 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, CA.
“We are thrilled that the WSL is using the 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 Product Marketing.
“This innovative solution leverages many of the advanced features of the Apple Watch – bright high-resolution display, durability, water resistance, cellular connectivity and a powerful platform for organizations to build custom apps,” he added.
And if you’re a fan of surfing, you can enjoy Apple’s other connection with professional surfing. It’s the documentary series Make or break on Apple TV+, and will soon enter its second season of behind-the-scenes looks at the World Surf League Championship Tour.