Stand-up paddleboarding — aka SUP — is one of the fastest growing sports in the world, drawing in millions of people on an annual basis. If a recent report is to be believed, it doesn’t look like that popularity is going to wane anytime soon, with growth is projected to continue beyond 2020. As with any relatively new sport, SUP continues to evolve rapidly, with new gear helping to make it easier and more accessible than ever before. That means better boards, improved paddling techniques, and, of course, more efficient paddles too, including a newly announced option that promises to be the industry’s first smart paddle.
At the 2017 Surf Expo — held in Orlando, Florida in January — Quickblade revealed the Smart Paddle, a new oar that comes equipped with a host of impressive technology. Using a variety of sensors and tracking features created by an Israeli startup called Motionize, this paddle will have the ability to collect a wide variety of data and metrics that can be used to provide real-time feedback and virtual coaching.
Roei Yellin, the vice president of marketing at Motionize, tells Digital Trends “The smart paddle offers features that help paddlers paddle while staying much more balanced between strokes.” That, combined with feedback on their performance leads to improved confidence and the ability to pick up the sport at a faster rate. How much faster? Yellen says, “The smart paddle will help novice paddlers become more proficient in a quarter of the time it would take them to figure it out on their own.”
We first took a look at Motionize’s technology when we covered the company’s innovative device, which could be added to any SUP paddle. But this collaboration with Quickblade integrates the technology directly into the Smart Paddle itself, eliminating the need for an add-on altogether. The sensor, which connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth, is able to track the entry angle of the paddle blade, the rhythm of a paddler’s strokes, stroke efficiency, and more. It can also keep track of calories burned, as well as speed and distance traveled, with the paddler’s course being plotted on a map. That data is then analyzed by a special app for iOS and Android that can provide real-time feedback with tips on how to improve paddling technique.
It’s basically a talking paddle. It’s like having an onboard coach with you on the water,” Yellen said
The Smart Paddle is expected to go on sale in March at a price ranging from $299 to $559, depending on the specific model. Yellen said that essentially any of the Quickblade paddles can be turned into a smart paddle for an additional $30. That means no matter what your specific needs are, you can take advantage of the Motionize technology to improve your SUP skills.