IT'S LIVE!

THE DIG­I­TAL SCOR­ING SYSTEM THAT IS REVOLUTIONISING LO­CAL BOARDRIDERS CLUBS. BY SE­ABIRD BROOKS

Tracks - - Crafts-Man -

LEFT TO RIGHT: THE 'LIVEHEATS' IN­TER­FACE DIS­PLAYS WAVE SCORES, HEAT TO­TALS AND RE­QUIRED SCORES IN REAL TIME, AND ALSO LETS YOU KNOW EX­ACTLY WHEN YOUR HEAT IS SCHED­ULED TO RUN./ THE JUDGES PUNCH­ING IN WAVE SCORES TO I-PADS./ THE BOYS CHECK­ING THE LIVE UP­DATES. If you’ve ever taken part in a club round of your lo­cal boardriders, you’ll know that the ad­min side of things – the heat draw, judg­ing, get­ting re­sults sorted – can be a pretty ram­shackle af­fair. Surfers aren’t renowned for their or­gan­i­sa­tional skills at the best of times, but add waves, fel­low wax­heads, and a never-end­ing stream of ban­ter, and you’ve got your­self a recipe for a few hic­cups. Sure, things usu­ally work out in the end, and there is an el­e­ment of com­edy in watch­ing a group of peo­ple who couldn’t or­gan­ise a prover­bial root in a prover­bial brothel try to run a surf con­test, but if you’re deal­ing with a large num­ber of par­tic­i­pants, hav­ing an ef­fi­cient system in place can save a lot of headaches.

Ex-pro surfer, Chris Friend, and his soft­ware-de­vel­op­ing buddy, Fer­nando, cot­toned on to this fact af­ter a typ­i­cally chaotic day at Bondi Boardriders, and so, to­gether with an­other de­vel­oper friend, the three of them came up with an app that would streamline the whole boardriders’ day process, from con­tes­tant en­tries to rat­ings cal­cu­la­tions – and it’s since been em­braced by some of the big­gest clubs in the country.

LiveHeats, as the tech­nol­ogy is named, is a con­test man­age­ment soft­ware that al­lows clubs to run their events en­tirely through a dig­i­tal plat­form, elim­i­nat­ing many of the te­dious man­ual tasks as­so­ci­ated with surf comps and al­low­ing pro­ceed­ings to run a lot more ef­fi­ciently. Us­ing the system, or­gan­is­ers cre­ate an event through the LiveHeats pro­gram and then in­vite par­tic­i­pants to reg­is­ter on­line. Once this is com­pleted the pro­gram cre­ates a cus­tomis­able heat draw and sched­ule; al­lows judges to punch their scores straight into a system that in­stantly up­dates surfers’ wave to­tals and score re­quire­ments; and cal­cu­lates each surfer’s com­bined to­tal at the end of the heat. In ad­di­tion, surfers can keep tabs on their progress via a per­son­alised dash­board system that stores their re­sults from each event and lets them know where they’re com­ing in the over­all point score. Of course, as the system re­quires dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy such as tablets, lap­tops, TV screens and Wi-Fi to work (as well as a fee to use the pro­gram it­self), it comes with a con­sid­er­able out­lay, but as many clubs have found af­ter tak­ing up LiveHeats’ of­fer of a free trial, the dif­fer­ence it makes to the way their con­tests are run is well worth the cost.

"The feed­back has been over­whelm­ing,’ says Chris. "Of all the clubs that have tried the system, all have jumped on board. The feed­back is that LiveHeats makes life far eas­ier for the peo­ple who give up their time to run and man­age events, but also that it’s more ex­cit­ing for surfers. Be­ing able to hear live scores in the water gives groms a taste of pro surf­ing life, and helps them get pre­pared to tackle the tour. Par­ents and grand­par­ents also get very ex­cited to be able to watch their kid’s scores from any­where on the globe."

With thir­teen boardriders clubs from around the country al­ready util­is­ing the soft­ware and sev­eral more from both Aus­tralia and New Zealand look­ing to get on board in 2017, the de­mand for LiveHeats is only in­creas­ing. To keep up with this, Chris says the team will be build­ing a bunch of new fea­tures into the system to en­sure that it re­mains as flex­i­ble as pos­si­ble for the un­pre­dictable na­ture of a boardriders’ meet and to ac­com­mo­date for the var­i­ous ways clubs like to run their events. On top of this, a few in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions will be tri­alling the soft­ware, in­clud­ing … wait for it … the Rus­sian Olympic Surf­ing team!

But while that lofty ap­point­ment awaits, there’s plenty hap­pen­ing on the do­mes­tic scene to keep the team busy. For­mor­e­in­focheck­out­live­heats.co­more­mailchris@liveheats.com

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