Best Fitness Watch for Paddling?

3 months 5 days ago #34650 by Gage
Hello Everyone!

I have recently been looking at Sports Watches for Paddling and I have noticed there is not very much information regarding this (un)essential item. So, I thought I would start a thread for Sports Watches that was a little more current. I ended up purchasing a second hand Garmin Fenix 3 as they have come down to about $200 AUD. I then noticed there were no built in apps for paddling and I have had to much about with installing a 3rd party app for this purpose. 

I really want some basic info like realtime speed, Heart Rate and GPS information for my Youtube Clips and as a beginner I don't want to invest too heavily as I have spend a ton of money on my new found hobby already :-)

Has anyone got some more up to date information they would like to share with the community?

What's the Best Sports Watch/ GPS for paddling?

James Gage


 

James Gage

Epic V7
Stellar SR Gen 2

Visit my Youtube Channel to see my Paddle Journey
www.youtube.com/channel/UCfairb1ym574SYY...Q?view_as=subscriber

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3 months 5 days ago #34651 by feeny
Try a Suunto Ambit3 (can pick one up for cheap), it is reasonably programmable and can pair easily with both a heart rate monitor and a vaaka cadence sensor to record/display distance per stroke.

 

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3 months 5 days ago #34652 by Watto
Gage you have already spent good money on a ski, paddle, pfd and paddling kit - now don't throw bad money after good! Get the best watch you can afford and don't sweat the dollars. Honestly you will forever be consulting this item for so many things. Wait and save if you have to, it will be worth it!

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3 months 5 days ago #34654 by mrcharly
requirements for a paddling watch
  • GPS
  • Instant speed readout (I believe a member of the forum had advice about the accuracy of this; you are looking for the update frequency of greater than 1Hz for better accuracy).
  • Total distance
  • Average speed
  • Nice if you can get Heart Rate.
  • Waterproof
  • Programmable timer/countdown, for those pyramid interval sessions.
What have I missed?

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3 months 5 days ago #34657 by Wiid
My solution is to have 2. 

I have a Garmin quatix 5 on my wrist. This one gets uploaded to garmin connect/strava etc. It is connected to my heart rate strap but has wrist measurement too. I do find that the heart rate wrist measurement is a lot less accurate and doesn't like high (160+) heart rates. It also does stoke rate and stroke distance which I find very useful.

My second unit is a Garmin foretrex 601 on my foot strap. It has a big screen which is clearly visible. Fields can be selected and layouts changed. IP68 and mil spec rated. Runs on 2 AAA batteries. (I have 2 rechargeable ones doing duty which lasts me about 2-3 weeks). It has a stopwatch, interval timer and can show my heart rate from the strap as well.
On downwinds I select the page that just shows my speed.

It has also been very helpful in a big 22km downwind with really bad visibility due to a massive wildfire. I have the clubhouse and several 'paddling' landmarks saved as waypoints. I simply selected the Strand SLC waypoint and had a arrow pointing directly to it. 

I do about 200-300km monthly on my ski and have found the above setup durable and perfect for my needs.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Watto

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3 months 5 days ago #34658 by tve

Gage wrote: Hello Everyone!
I have recently been looking at Sports Watches for Paddling and I have noticed there is not very much information regarding this (un)essential item. So, I thought I would start a thread for Sports Watches that was a little more current.
 


https://www.surfski.info/forum/17-equipment/19585-nerd-paddling-metrics-bliss.html

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3 months 5 days ago #34661 by zachhandler

mrcharly wrote: requirements for a paddling watch

  • GPS
  • Instant speed readout (I believe a member of the forum had advice about the accuracy of this; you are looking for the update frequency of greater than 1Hz for better accuracy).
  • Total distance
  • Average speed
  • Nice if you can get Heart Rate.
  • Waterproof
  • Programmable timer/countdown, for those pyramid interval sessions.
What have I missed?


Obligatory for my use is a navigation function. Basically where you can enter the coordinates of your destination and have an arrow that points toward the destination at all times. Most of the downwinds I do the finish is not visible from the start and there are no land marks of use, so i rely on that arrow. It is also a good backup to have if the weather changes and visibility is lost. 

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3 months 4 days ago #34662 by ErikE

mrcharly wrote: requirements for a paddling watch

  • GPS
  • Instant speed readout (I believe a member of the forum had advice about the accuracy of this; you are looking for the update frequency of greater than 1Hz for better accuracy).
  • Total distance
  • Average speed
  • Nice if you can get Heart Rate.
  • Waterproof
  • Programmable timer/countdown, for those pyramid interval sessions.
What have I missed?


One point I would like to add to the list is "longevity".  

Many years ago I had a Garmin watch (I don't remember which model). It was really nice as long as it worked, but it broke within less than a year.  I then bought a timex (again, I can't remember the model), which lasted a little longer, but only a little bit (slightly more than a year).  And some discussion on this issue on some internet forums indicated I wasn't just unlucky - lots of people seemed to consider it normal that a sport watch lasts for only about a year.  To me, that isn't normal; it's mindbogglingly silly.  Something that might be funny in a Monty Python sketch, but when it happens in real life, it's just pathetic.  I was so appalled that I didn't by any new one; I've been living without ever since.

What is the status nowadays?  Can a watch purchased today be expected reach an age which is only bad (2-4 years), or maybe even good (> 4 years)?  Or is pathetic (< 2 years) still the norm?

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3 months 4 days ago #34663 by Wiid
I've had 2 watches replaced by Garmin. The last one a quatix 3. A button got stuck. It was 2 and a half years old. The quatix 3 was out of production by then. They asked me if I'm willing to pay a $150 (R2200) to upgrade to the latest model. (Quatix 5 with a RRP of $800 ish). Said yes and I'm very happy.
After these experiences and other first hand ones from friends I will stick with Garmin. 

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2 months 3 weeks ago #34712 by mrcharly
I've just started using the GoPaddler app on my smartphone.  Gives instant speed readout, stroke rate, distance and time on your screen. Also estimates stroke length. Post-session shows how long was spent in each speed 'zone' and other figures. Can be connected via phone bluetooth or other connectivity to a HRM.
Pretty damn fine for a free app.

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2 months 3 weeks ago #34713 by robin.mousley

Gives instant speed readout, stroke rate, distance and time on your screen

Stroke rate?  How in heck does it do that?  I've been on the website and they don't say.  Do the accelerometers on the phone just detect the acceleration of the boat at each stroke?  How well does it work a) on a surfski and b) if you put the phone in a pocket on your PFD?

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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2 months 3 weeks ago #34715 by mrcharly
Only tried it on a K1, so I can't say how well it would work on a surfski.

You need to mount it on the boat and then calibrate it (basically press calibrate and it takes readings from the accelerometers to determine 'normal' angle). Wouldn't work in a PFD and you wouldn't get the benefit of watching stroke rate and speed.

It then detects the surge from paddle strokes - from this and your speed it gets a paddle stroke length as well as the stroke rate.

'Wobbling' the boat at high frequency (as in having a fit of the wobbles when trying to sit still in a craft that has a low stab factor) throws it out - it detects these as ' paddle strokes'.

Being able to see my speed and stroke rate is already helping me after just two sessions. 

Benefits:
  1. Concentrate on technique and very quickly see how it affects speed.
  2. Instant feedback on stroke rate vs speed - I had increased my stroke rate without increasing speed. 
  3. Helping me to maintain a consistent speed over 1-1.5hours without 'slacking off'. This is good for training and pushing myself when paddling alone.

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2 months 3 weeks ago #34724 by tve
I really wanted to get by with a phone but I couldn't make it work:
  • after an hour of GPS+accel+screen time the battery gets pretty low (unless you have a phablet)
  • even "ballooning" the case doesn't fully keep spurious water drops from performing actions, which you then have to reach down to undo
  • notifications and other stuff also interfere sooner or later
  • once the case is wet it's no longer easy to perform actions, any swipe becomes a hit&miss affair
  • in sunlight, in a plastic case, with water drops, the phone screen is anything but easy to read, absolutely no comparison with garmin devices (which use a very different screen technology), I don't know how other GPS manufacturers compare, but I assume they also use sunlight readable displays
  • when the phone is mounted on the footrest it's not in your PFD, so if you get separated from your boat there goes that communication device
  • if you need to use the phone in an emergency the last thing you want is to find out that you're down to 15% battery level due to GPS+screen usage, and you now have to fumble to turn that off so it doesn't drain your battery completely in the time you're waiting for rescue to arrive
My conclusion has been that the phone is a great temporary trial device to find out what you care about and what not, or in case you leave the GPS watch/device at home, or its battery is dead. But as a routine training device it doesn't cut it. Of course YMWV.

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2 months 3 weeks ago #34733 by SpaceSputnik
I so far have been getting by with a simple Forunner 25 on my foot strap. Seems reliable enough (knock on wood) and has a ton of battery life. Pairs up with an inexpensive heart rate monitor.
Usually keep it on speed/distance or speed/avg lap speed/distance display. Auto lap is off so I can lap manually.
Seems ok so far, but I don't have a structured training routine. If I were to do intervals I could have HR displayed on one of the screens.
A downside of the 25 is that it defaults every session to running and the default cannot be changed. I need manually change each activity on Garmin and Strava to be paddling/kayaking. Leaving it as running is not good because it displays pace instead of speed.

In theory I could use Strava on my phone since it has a decent battery life, but it wouldn't be in the line of sight and I like the idea of the phone being a primarily safety device.

Current: Think Evo II, Stellar SES 1g.
Past: Epic V7

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1 month 3 weeks ago #34965 by swifty
Most people I see use Garmin Forerunners of some description wrapped around the footstrap. My 8 yr old 320XT just died on me and I bought a 2nd hand 920XT off Gumtree for AUD$200 including HRM strap.

I'm also now starting to see Apple Watches get used a bit more, including guys stopping in sessions and taking calls :-) on the fancier cellular ones

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1 month 3 weeks ago #34976 by mattbroad
I'm pretty new to paddling but use an Apple Watch (version 4, which is the most current).  I already had the watch before I took up paddling, but previously used it for rowing a 1x rowing shell, swimming, and cycling.

I alternate between two apps; Rowing Coach and Paddle Logger.  Rowing coach is made for rowing so it tracks rowing metrics such as strokes per minute and speed/500 meters, but also tracks total distance and total time, and provides a gps map.  Paddle logger is for paddlers, and tracks average and top speed, total time and total distance.  Both can upload to Strava.  I think both also pick up heart rate from the watch.  I confess to not remembering for sure, but I think for one or both you might have to subscribe to a premium membership to track more than a few sessions and/or upload to Strava.

Hope that helps!

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1 month 3 weeks ago #34977 by robin.mousley
Like a lot of paddlers, I like to see HR and speed while I'm paddling so that I can see (confirm) how much effort I'm putting in and I can see whether I'm in a current or not, by the speed.  So generally I use my Garmin 910XT with those metrics visible on the display (along with distance - useful sometimes for navigation - and overall time).

But...  sometimes I've had issues with my HR belt and I always track my workouts using my Apple Watch as a backup.

(The watch has to be on my wrist in order to record HR, so it's not my first choice as a device because I can't see it while I'm paddling.)  

I also like to have my workouts recorded on Strava - I'm signed up for one of the "Summit" features that calculates overall fitness - and I need to have my HR recorded for this.  So...  in the event that my HR belt isn't functioning, I'll use the Strava app on the phone to record the session.  

But just to make things more complicated, my medical aid gives me rewards for being fit - but doesn't accept Strava data on the grounds that it's easily edited.  So I've recently discovered that I can run the Apple Workout app AND The Strava app simultaneously - so I get my medical aid points from the Apple workouts and the strava stats from the strava app!

But even more recently I've discovered an app that integrates the two, so that you don't have to use the Strava app.  This article explains:  https://www.cultofmac.com/581792/sync-apple-workouts-strava/

So there you have it:

- I use the Garmin 910XT with the Wahoo Tickr HR belt (I've had four of the Tickr belts, three of which broke...  the latest seems to be doing better.  When they work, they're much better than the Garmin HR belts).
- I have a Suunto Spartan HR Watch, which I've been using as a backup when the Garmin belt fails.  The screen on this one isn't as easy to see as the Garmin.
- But I can also use the Apple Watch as a final back-stop to make sure I don't lose any stats...

(And that's also why I can't really object when people call me "Gadget man".)

Rob

Currently Fenn Swordfish S, Epic V10 Double.
Previously: Think Evo II, Carbonology Zest, Fenn Swordfish, Epic V10, Fenn Elite, Red7 Surf70 Pro, Epic V10 Sport, Genius Blu, Kayak Centre Zeplin, Fenn Mako6, Custom Kayaks ICON, Brian's Kayaks Molokai, Brian's Kayaks Wedge and several others...

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