With spring in full force, stand up paddleboarding season is right around the corner. And now, for the first time, paddle enthusiasts have the ability to track detailed metrics in real-time with an easy sweep of their blade via new technology courtesy of QuickBlade Paddles. After initially announcing the device at the 2017 Surf Expo Orlando, Florida, the company just began taking orders on the SUP industry’s first ever Smart Paddle.
Owners of QuickBlade’s innovative paddle have access to measurements of speed, distance per stroke, the number of strokes per side, and other performance data while in the water. It also offers paddler’s the ability to create a map of their route and share their sessions via a laptop or a mobile app — once playtime is over, simply remove the adjustable paddle handle, plug it into a USB outlet, and upload the data. The hi-tech paddle is a partnership with the Israeli company Motionize. Jim Terrell, a four-time Olympian and CEO of QuickBlade, said part of the reason for the paddle’s success is that Motionize is well-versed in paddleboarding and understands the sport inside and out.
“I’m excited that we’ve found a partner that knows paddling like I know paddling, and has managed to make a very user-friendly software that is completely affordable and valuable to any paddler at any ability,” Terrell said.
The Smart Paddle works with an internal sensor in the handle which uses a dual set of nine-axis external sensors to track various metrics. Motionize previously offered a shaft-mounted sensor gadget but users found the device would catch on the side while paddling, or they’d hit their fingers as they slid their hands over the shaft. Now, the company integrated the device into the paddle itself, while also building the sensor several grams lighter by using reduced housing material.
Terrell said he expects the Smart Paddle to improve paddler’s performance in many ways. First, it intends to help them determine a normal stroke rate to allow them the ability to notice when they’re starting to tire or when their form starts falling. This is especially important for beginners developing their form.
“It will give them a few very important things to think about and realize that most beginner paddlers don’t learn until they are months into paddling, and that is the importance of having an effective efficient stroke,” Terrell said. “When paddling you want to learn how to set your blade in the water and most efficiently pull yourself past the submerged blade so that you can paddle further with fewer strokes.”
The Smart Paddle also provides the company a lot of data about paddling itself. With thousands of hours of data to go through, it examines things like the effect cadence has on stroke efficiency. This should lead to future innovations in paddle design and general SUP technology. Terrell said they’re currently working on prototypes for outrigger and dragon boat smart paddles, as well. So far, Terrell said paddlers have enjoyed the new blades, which began shipping March 15.
“We’ve had a great response, mostly all positive, with a few very good suggestions for improvement etc. going forward,” Terell added. “I am happy with what we can learn from this first version already, and I look forward to what we can together with Motionize do to make it even better.”