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Using GPS App to Track Your Paddle

I profoundly love being in and on the water. Whether it be kite surfing, paddle surfing, or freediving, I tend to find a way to be on the water regardless of the weather. Rather, the weather dictates what I will be doing on the water. And, even though it never does it justice I usually document my sessions with my GoPro or iPhone. I do this because next to actually being on the water I enjoy watching and reminiscing about my sessions.

Yes, it should be clear by now I am truly obsessed. In fact, I regularly get slack from a certain someone because I come home from an hour or so surf session only to sit down and start watching the footage… “why do you need to watch something you just did…” This boggles some people’s mind.

In addition to video and pictures to document my sessions I have now added GPS tracking. Largely because I have been doing a lot more exploring lately on my touring board and I am contemplating racing. While there are number of apps to choose from I have been using SpeedTracker.

There are a number of things I like about the data provided. My favorite is being able to see a satellite map with my route layered over it. The route is color coded based on changes in speed. It is always interesting to see max speed. One morning after a sunrise paddle boarding tour I was surprised to see my fasted speed was riding bumps. Note the green portion of my route in the picture above. With the satellite view it almost looks like a drone shot.

As a SUP guide knowing the details of a trip such as distance, duration, and speed is very helpful. I maintain a log of prior trips that I refer to when customizing tours based on client needs and paddling abilities. The real time trip tracking is also helpful. I usually set landmarks for each tour to ensure we are on pace to reach our destination in the allotted time. It is always better to call an audible if you’re not even close to the half way point a hour into your 2 hour tour. If you have to call an audible the real time navigation panel is useful. It provides your location even if you are meandering through a salt marsh or creek.

I also like the graph function for speed. Notice the big difference in speed on the graph on the right. This was a paddle out (left side of graph) and back in (right side of graph) to an inlet with an incoming tide. Wind was a light and cross. The incoming tide easily doubled our speed. This serves as another reminder to check the wind, weather, and tides before you go paddling.

To me GPS tracking is another way to document the memory and keep you safe. It is another way to reminisce. Understanding the nuances of each tour and the impact of tides and wind on speed is also helpful. I would also add that clients love to see where they have been especially distance. So give it a try on your next time you go SUP. Just make sure you protect your phone in a waterproof iPhone case, 20 L dry bag, or deck bag.

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