The Inertia for Good Editor

“Our freakin’ watches weren’t working and that’s pretty heavy…” -Leo Fioravanti

The Inertia

Apple and the WSL made a pretty big deal of their new collaboration this week. There were press releases, headlines in nearly any surf-related Google search, and for anybody watching the men’s opening round of the Billabong Pipe Pro Wednesday, plenty of product shots in the broadcast. The gist of it all revolves around the tech company developing a specialized app to be used during heats in which athletes could access things like time and priority from the lineup — a practical, tech-based solution to everyday challenges in competition.

“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,” Italo Ferreira said when the collaboration was announced. “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.”

It took all but one day of competition for one athlete to rain on the marketing campaign. Fresh out of the water, Leonardo Fioravanti ended his elimination round post-heat interview by throwing the product under the bus. And he didn’t really hold back.

“I just wanna say, our freaking watches weren’t working and that’s pretty heavy. My watch wasn’t working. And nothing to take away from Apple or WSL. I mean, what they’re doing is great, trying to bring in some technology into our world. But if my watch doesn’t work from start to finish and I gotta ask for time, like, I’ve been used to having the time on me at all times in heats. And we’re fighting for our careers so I hope they figure it out because my watch didn’t work from start to finish. So that’s pretty heavy.”

Fioravanti was one of the CT surfers to miss the mid-season cut in 2022. He was relegated to the Challenger Series, which he won and earned his spot right back on the World Tour for 2023. It’s safe to say he’s surfing under a lot of pressure – and desperately wants to avoid a slow start.


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