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Apple Watch for WSL

The Apple Watch is now a piece of surf equipment for WSL surfers. Image: WSL//Screenshot//Instagram

The Inertia

Apple Watches are everywhere these day. They’ve got a million-and-one uses, from tracking women’s reproductive cycles to keeping track of elevation gain while hiking. Hell, my stepdad took himself to the hospital a few weeks back because his Apple Watch told him his heart was acting funny. And now, the Apple Watch is considered “official surfing equipment” by the World Surf League. They’ve even developed a new app specifically for the athletes on tour.

It is, somewhat unsurprisingly, the first time an Apple Watch has been listed as “official equipment” in any sport. Apple’s Series 8, coincidentally, just made our list of best surf watches. The app has a variety of features for surfers competing on tour, like a priority alert and real-time score updates.

“The app syncs real-time with the WSL Scoring System and provides surfers with scores, wave priority, and time in the heat,” explained Apple Insider. “The Apple Watch is well-suited for the task thanks to its water resistance.”

Erik Logan, CEO of the WSL, couldn’t be more excited about the collaboration. “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,” he said. “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.”

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The app, which is only good for the select few people who surf at the highest levels of competition, has been tested over the last two seasons by a handful of surfers, including Isabella Nichols.

“I was able to test the Apple Watch last season,” she said. “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.”

It has long been a bit of an issue for surfers in the water to get information relevant to the heat they’re in, so the new app is likely a real boon for some.

“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 Italo 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.”

Now that the kinks are worked out, everyone’s getting one, starting at the Billabong Pipeline Pro – which at the time of this writing, was just about ready to fire the starter’s gun.


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