LOS ANGELES, Calif., USA (Friday, January 27, 2023) - Today, the World Surf League (WSL) announced its integration of Apple Watch as the official wearable equipment of the WSL. This introduction marks the first time Apple Watch will be used as official competitor equipment in a professional sports environment. Throughout the Championship Tour (CT) season, elite 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. Apple Watch is uniquely suited for this task due to its large bright screen, durable design, and cellular connectivity.
"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 so excited to roll this out and enable our Championship Tour athletes to focus on their performance and improve competition throughout the 2023 season."
Every competitor will receive an Apple Watch before each heat, which will come preloaded with the WSL's new app. Many CT athletes have tested the WSL Surfer app on Apple Watch over the previous two seasons to ensure it meets the needs of competition, and look forward to the benefits it will provide them throughout the season. All athletes will also receive training on the WSL Surfer app ahead of the season's start.
"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 Product 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 - and the new WSL Surfer app will empower surfers competing at the highest level with the information they need while in the water."
"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 ítalo Ferreira, WSL Champion and Olympic Gold Medalist. "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. When it's all on the line, scoring and priority are critical. You have so much on your mind at that point, so having an Apple Watch helps you stay on track in those situations and is a total game changer."
"I was able to test the Apple Watch last season," said Isabella Nichols. "Having real-time access to everyone's score and the clock throughout the heat made a significant difference. It helped me plan my heat strategy and eliminate the confusion that can sometimes happen in our field of play."
The 2023 Championship Tour will include 10 regular-season events in seven countries, starting in January at the Billabong Pro Pipeline and concluding at the SHISEIDO Tahiti Pro before the Rip Curl WSL Finals at Lower Trestles in San Clemente, Calif. All the action will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL's YouTube channel, and the free WSL app. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL's broadcast partners.
About the WSL
The World Surf League (WSL) is the global home of competitive surfing, crowning the undisputed World Champions since 1976 and showcasing the world's best surfers on the world's best waves. WSL is comprised of the Tours and Competition division, which oversees and operates more than 180 global competitions each year; WSL WaveCo, home of the world's largest high-performance, human-made wave; and WSL Studios, an independent producer of unscripted and scripted projects.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.