ASP Webcasts: Harvard Business School Should Get Its WCT On

It's 4:30 am and my eyes bug open. My brain tells me two things: 1) go to the bathroom 2) the Quik Pro France is on the web. Instead of rolling onto the cool side of the pillow, I wonder what the waves are like: In France, not in So Cal!

That, in and of itself, is sad. I've become a spectator instead of a partaker—at least on this early morn.

Maybe it's not sad. Maybe it speaks to the power of the web and the brilliance of the bloke over at the ASP who understood the power of webcasting as a viable vehicle for promoting their product. I'm awake and I'm watching and I'm stoked to be in front of the computer with steaming cup 'o joe in hand.

By the way, Slater and Fanning are in the Semi's as I write this. It's like Sugar Ray vs. Marvelous Marvin Hagler. Toe to toe. Slater a 7.33. Fanning a 7.50. Parko and AI go at it next. Great matchups.

But what is really great are these webcasts. Because the action has me thinking the unthinkable: I'm actually going to wax up my 6'2" WCT chippy tri-fin. I'm going to get my 'CT on this morning. Err, I should say I'm going to try to get my 'CT on.

Professional surfing (more so than any other peripheral professional sport) would make a fabulous case study for a Harvard business school technology study. Ten years ago the ASP was mired in HB Pier Bluetorch slop. But to their credit they adopted and adapted. At the turn of the century they moved toward a world-class surf spots only Dream Tour format: the world's greatest surfers in the world's greatest surf. And to promote their dream the ASP strategically and tactically applied the use of webcasting technology. Early on there were some bumps in the road. Nevertheless, the ASP successfully took a 6-day contest format not viable for live broadcast on television (the archaic medium that it is) and presented it to hundreds of thousands of viewers worldwide. And they are not streaming this stuff from the local bowling alley either. No, no.

The ASP webcasts from technologically challenged spots around the world -with each passport stamp a different set of plug adapters follows. When the power is finally on, they deal with have salt water misting into their cameras and seagulls shitting on the monitors. The ASP tech wizards work from the end of the road— in Tahiti, quite literally from the end of the road—and handle it all with ease, or so it seems.

And with each live stream the business blooms in the pond of professional surfing like an environmentally happy, ozone replenishing algae. The ASP spreads the sport. The sport spreads the lifestyle.

I see from the webcast that Parko uses a unique deck pad. Maybe that'll help me get up to speed on my little pro board, they way Parko effortlessly maintains speed? I think I'll go buy one of those.

Fanning just punched Slater in the kidney with a 9.10 ride. The deck on my 19" wide tri-fin just received another application of sticky bumps. I'm older and slow but these webcasts have me thinking, "I can surf like Fanning." Maybe?

It’s 5:30am. Kelly Slater needs a 9.27 to defeat Mick Fanning and move ever closer to his eighth world title. As I watch the replay of Fanning's ride I swig the last of my coffee and convince myself that I'll have fun on my 2.25" thick shortboard.

Slater just lost. Andy Irons and Parko are in the water. It's still dark outside here in So Cal, but I'm out there. Thank you Al Gore, for inventing the internet, and thank you ASP tech squad for the great webcasts.