HALEIWA, Hawaii--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The World Surf League (WSL) today confirmed that the Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Invitational was the biggest single day in Big Wave surfing history, thanks to the WSL’s state-of-the-art global sports broadcasting technology.
There were more than 1.2 million views to the live stream, amounting to a staggering 750,000 hours of watched live coverage. Fans from more than 200 countries -- ranging from Australia to Argentina, Brazil to Burkina Faso, and everywhere in between – logged on to catch the incredible action. WSL videos from The Eddie have been viewed more than 13 million times on Facebook alone. In addition, more than 1,000 international broadcast and digital news outlets covered the event, bringing Hawaii ever closer to the world.
Since acquiring the Association of Surfing Professionals two years ago, the WSL has made significant investments to improve all aspects of its broadcast, delivering world-class content to viewers all over the world via traditional broadcast outlets and through its webcast and free downloadable app. Employing more high-def cameras to capture the action, slo-mo cameras to show viewers how judges rate each wave, the use of drones to bring fans closer to the action, and putting reporters in the water in the midst of a roiling field of play, the WSL created a complete broadcast infrastructure to bring The Eddie to a truly global audience.
But it’s not just The Eddie. Each year, the WSL produces more than 800 hours of live, digital broadcasts that culminate in Hawaii with Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour finale the Vans Triple Crown and Billabong Pipe Masters.
“One of the things that made The Eddie so special was that we were able to share the history of the event and the story of Eddie’s legend and his relevance to Hawaiian culture to surf fans around the world,” said Jed Pearson, the World Surf League’s EVP for Content & Programming. “We are extremely fortunate that Mother Nature cooperated by producing waves with heights of 60-feet in some cases, and the competitors – including Eddie’s younger brother Clyde – attacked the waves with incredible passion and fearlessness.”
If you were one of the 25,000 surfing fans fortunate enough to find yourself on Oahu’s North Shore on Thursday, it was the experience of a lifetime as the massive waves drew roars and cheers from surfing’s ultimate stadium of Waimea Bay. But for millions around the world - or those stuck in a downtown Honolulu office - the World Surf League’s global HD broadcast became your connection to Eddie Aikau’s story and the greatest Big Wave day in history.
Here’s a sample of what went into making The Eddie such a compelling broadcast:
- State-of-the-art broadcast digital technology, including more than a dozen camera angles, with reporters commentating on and interviewing live from the line-up, with all the risks that go along with that.
Satellite fly-kit flown into Hawaii and built from component pieces in
the 24 hours before The Eddie was called “on.”
- This satellite link is what allowed The Eddie broadcast to continue to run unimpeded while Hawaii’s internet crashed due to an overload of live streaming from fans eager to catch the action.
- Nine action cameras plus two additional slo-mo or super x-mo (200 frames/second) cameras for replaying the action.
- More than 75 broadcast personnel, including producers, reporters, re-play operators, research producers, associate producers, technicians, on-camera talent and in-the-water reporters who flew in on short notice.
Surfing’s story continues too, as Hawaiian John John Florence -- The Quiksilver In Memory of Eddie Aikau’s champion -- begins his quest for the 2016 Samsung Galaxy World Championship at the Quiksilver Pro in Australia. The WSL’s live coverage from the Gold Coast of Queensland, Australia, starts March 10.
Watch history unfold through the eyes of the world’s top surfers at worldsurfleague.com.
About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), is dedicated to celebrating the world’s best surfing on the world’s best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. The League, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a truly global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.
The WSL has been championing the world's best surfing since 1976, running global events across the Samsung Galaxy Men's and Women's Championship Tours, the Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport's rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels.
Showcasing the world's best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com as well as the free WSL app, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Mick Fanning, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Greg Long, Gabriel Medina, Carissa Moore, Makua Rothman, Kelly Slater, Adriano de Souza and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.