GPS watches are a great tool for training and racing and a must have for cyclists, runners & triathletes. But what about paddlers? Over the past few years I’ve had people ask me why I use a GPS watch & what the benefits are of using one for SUP training & racing. Aside from the obvious benefits: tracking speed, distance, time & heart rate, a GPS watch can be used to test SUP equipment, paddling techniques, even to find the best water during a race. They have even been used to track some of the world’s longest waves!
Equipment in SUP racing is extremely important. From the paddle to the board and the fin, what you use on race day can make or break your day. Using a GPS watch to track your speed/pace, you can test equipment to determine what your best options are. On race day, if you find yourself in tricky conditions, keep an eye on your speed/pace and see if finding a new line makes a difference. Sometimes moving a couple feet one way or another can make a big difference and having real-time data can make that decision easier. When it comes to paddling techniques, there are a lot of variations and even after 7 years of paddling, I’m still making changes to find what works best for me. Over the last year, I’ve been using my Garmin to test different paddling techniques & strokes and I’ve been amazed to learn that even though, one paddle stroke may feel faster, the data shows it’s not. Being able to test those different techniques and analyze them after have made me a better, more efficient paddler!
Whether I’m heading out on a sprint training session or an upwind/downwind paddle, I use my watch to keep track of everything I do on the water.When the workouts are over, I upload the data to Garmin Connect to analyze my workout. It’s a great way of keeping track of my workouts and watching my progress through the training and racing season.
My Pick: The Garmin Forerunner 910XT. Swim, bike, run, paddle this watch does it all. I love the customized workout options and use it for all my SUP training sessions!