Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Stand Up Paddle Racing: My GPS set up Garmin Etrex Venture HC

A month ago I saw a little video bio of Hobie team racer Byron Kurt. Byron's biggest piece of advice was to mount a GPS on your board to see if what you're doing out on the water was really helping you to go faster. In fact, I remember that in a certain part of the clip he said that during a workout or race (I can't remember the exact quote) he's pretty much got his head down and his eyes on the GPS trying to give the board what it needs to keep his speed up. The logic of that struck me- so I went out and picked one up and have been using it for the past week's workouts. Here's my setup:

I choose the Garmin Etrex Venture HC. Why? Because it was cheap!
I went with the second cheapest, waterproof GPS that I could find. It's the Garmin etrex Venture HC. It works off of two double A batteries, has a color screen, a large number display (good for seeing your speed from the standing position) floats and is waterproof. I can't remember for sure but I think I paid somewhere between $100 and $120 dollars for mine and had it shipped overnight from the WalMart website. I read a couple reviews about the model and noticed that one of the eTrex's best qualities was  the ease of reading the display in full sunlight. That's obviously important for us stand up racers since we're generally creatures of the sun. 

This is what the unit looks like mounted on the board. Be sure you mount it far enough forward- you don't want it in the path of your blade as you swing it from one side to the other.
The next thing I had to do was purchase a mount. My friend, Kiwi, made a nice mount from plastic that he bought at Home Depot. He attached it to the board with industrial strength velcro- that's a great idea, you want to be able to remove the GPS from your board when you've got it on the racks or in a bag. I opted for a Garmin dashboard mount with a flat base that is stuck to the board/dash with an adhesive disk. Here's what it looks like:

The disk has a lock that keeps the GPS mount from popping off of it. I thought it was pretty cool, I purchased two of the disks, one for my new race board and another one for the dashboard of my truck... why not?
I've never used a GPS before so I'm sure that I'm not using this thing to it's full potential. But, so far, it's been super fun and informative to have it aboard. It's been great for getting the true distance for my route and for getting a look at how fast I'm really going (I'm not that speedy... my best average so far is 4.6 mph over the 4.5 mile course). Eventually, I'd like to use it to fine tune my stroke and for determining where I should be standing to keep the board in trim. Of course, this will take time. I'm still getting used to having the thing right in front of my face and I do find myself fixating on the ever changing numbers on the screen. Hopefully, with enough practice, I'll get them to change in my favor.

7 comments:

Kiwi said...

Alas, I should have spent my misguided youth on more education, I could have been a school teacher and then I could afford to have a real GPS "mount".
See you Saturday in Oside!! Shall we carpool with the HeckelCrew leader? I'm up to drive and can't wait to taste that colddd Fat Tire after the race.

Kiwi said...

#2 The only thing that sucks when racing is your GPS needs top be turned on already as the START!!!!! is the most important part ie HOLE SHOT over other competiors.

John Ashley said...

I'm all about the hole shot...

Capt Ron said...

I read somewhere from one of the Sup race Pro's,
"Quote": You can be fat or you can be fast...
HahahahahaahhahaHAHah...
I simply could not resist...
Peace,
CaptRon

Anonymous said...

John and Kiwi, build this mount that,u have no clue home depot sells 3M
velco maybe 6 inch long for god only knows how much,there's a place called K-Surplus that has that shit by the pallet full plus lots more,if you know the owner he might hook u up.
You I B guys crack me up.

John Ashley said...

"You can be fat or fast, but not both" How true. I'm working on it bro, I'm working on it...

John Ashley said...

K-Junk: back online... yes! Pallet's full of that stuff... got to get off my ass and drive over there and check your stuff out... when do I get the big smiley head sponsorship sticker for my new race board????