I grew up in Maine surrounded by lakes and rivers, home of the legendary Old Town Canoes, so I was thrilled when a GPS watch with
post-exercise mapping technology arrived that would accurately track speed, distance, pacing and heart rate in real-time. The applications are
limitless and I want to share with you some really cool ways you can improve your kayaking and canoeing fitness with these devices.
If you canoe flat water holding a straight line is a priority, especially on the ocean or in larger lakes. GPS watches like the
Garmin 310XT and Garmin Forerunner 410 will record latitude and longtitude every second leaving a bread crumb trail that you can
map to Google Earth or other programs and it shows you how well you did holding a straight line. Traveling less distance means less work.
Downriver kayaking and canoeing hold other navigation challenges but there is no doubt that strength and aerobic fitness play a
large role in these longer distance races. A GPS watch with a heart rate monitor can show you your heart rate and your speed in
miles per hour plus your distance traveled to the one-hundredth of a mile.
For a lot of canoe paddlers, and especially kayakers, having a watch on the wrist to assess data is not the ideal situation because
you would have to stop paddling to assess this data. Bike mounts used to hold the watch fixed just forward of the spray skirt work great because you data is always just a glance
away and there is no need to stop paddling. For canoes sometimes it can be as easy as affixing it to a cross brace in the gunnels depending upon your
position in either the bow or the stern.
The Polar RS800 G3 and the Suunto t3d GPS pack are also excellent for downriver and flat water sports. Both watches measure multiple
heart rate zones and display speed and distance.
Of all the watches mentioned thus far, the Garmin 310XT is fully waterproof, making it the best choice for more extreme whitewater of the
Class 4 and up variety, however the Timex Ironman Global Trainer is an excellent choice also and the data they display is exactly equivalent.
Of course, all of these watches are water resistant to 50 meters and if you end up that deep you have a lot bigger things to worry about.
Being able to precisely track speed, distance and heart rate allows paddlers of all types to correlate their precise pacing given various water
flows to make sure they stay beneath their anaerobic threshold. This is what the heart rate monitor function does best and it will keep you at the
proper intensity. Knowing precisely how much distance remains helps you regulate the throttle.
If you would like help selecting the GPS watch or heart rate monitor that is right for your boating activities than just call the experts here at the
Heart Rate Watch Company at 866-586-7129 and we'll help you get the device that perfectly fits your needs.