SUP Gear | Five Gadgets for Paddlers
Editor’s Note: The items pictured above are reviewed below in order of left to right.
GoPro Hero5 Black
The Hero5 Black delivers a host of unprecedented upgrades from GoPro's previous models, including voice control, a touch-screen viewfinder and built-in image-stabilization. The camera itself is waterproof up to a depth of 33 feet so you won't need a housing, and it shoots in a variety of modes from 4K ultra high-definition to super slow-mo.
It can also produce high-resolution RAW images and has a variety of night, burst and time-lapse settings, dynamic features that provide top-quality shots in almost any scenario. Getting familiar with all the Hero 5's upgrades can be a bit of a learning process but once you dial it in there's no better option on the market for POV image capturing.
Freestyle Shark Tide Trainer
You can either freestyle your surf and training sessions or you can get on the ball with the Freestyle Shark Tide Trainer. Freestyle has been making industry leading surf watches for years and it shows with their durability and functionality.
We put the Tide Trainer through its paces in the surf, at the gym and during training sessions and it handled with ease. But what really set it apart are the interval timers, easy-to-read tide info and the 200-lap workout memory. The extra holes in the silicone wristband are a nice touch, adding ventilation during those extra-sweaty sessions. If you want a simple training aid that's inexpensive, check this watch out.
NK SpeedCoach SUP 2
If you're big into training and don't have a SpeedCoach, you're missing out. This secret weapon lets you in on the data that you need to know to take your paddling to the next level. It's easy to use, bulletproof and unobtrusive on your board, and allows you to measure your heart rate, distance per stroke, total distance, elapsed time, and strokes per minute during your training sessions.
The interface is simple and easy to see when you're paddling, allowing for on-the-fly tweaks to your technique and cadence. This information is useful to all types of paddlers but will be especially cherished by those paddlers who feel they're on a plateau and are having a hard time getting better. The SpeedCoach SUP 2 will make you a better paddler.
The Motionize SUPerior is an accelerometer that mounts to your paddle, synchs to your smartphone and provides stroke and distance metrics on the water. Its small, simple package is specific for standup paddling and tracks data like total stroke count, number of strokes per minute, distance traveled per stroke and the entry angle of your blade.
The SUPerior app maps your course and stores all the info from each session, making it easy to distinguish trends. It can also connect to an external activity sensor to track heart rate and calories burned. To use it you'll want a waterproof phone case and/or board mount (neither are included) because your phone comes along for the ride. The added luggage is a small price to pay for the improvement that comes from the top-quality feedback.
Gear Aid ARC
The Gear Aid ARC is a multipurpose LED light with applications for both outdoor sports and serious photo and video projects. This light packs a punch: it holds 60 LEDs and features USB charging from its internal 10,400 mAH battery (you'll get about four full iPhone charges out of it).
Our photo editor enjoyed the versatility of the light, which can switch between three color temperatures and 10 brightness settings ranging from 20 to 320 lumens. The swivel base comes equipped with a standard quarter-inch threaded point for attaching to a variety of tripod, GoPro or RAM mounts. The heavy-duty casing and weather toughness worked well for our purposes; the ARC can take a fair amount of abuse and water exposure but is not waterproof. Light it up.