Israeli startup Motionize and QuickBlade Paddles have launched the Smart Paddle, which has real-time tracking and sensory technology for measuring technique that is built into the paddle boarding device.
The QuickBlade Smart Paddle builds upon the Paddle Edge, a dual set of nine-axis external sensors that provide real-time performance and tracking data. With the Smart Paddle, Motionize integrated the shaft sensor into the paddle handle to create a sleek, streamlined tool.
Roei Yellin, a two-time Israeli Olympic sprint canoeist and a member of Motionize’s executive board, explained that the Smart Paddle is the culmination of a long development cycle.
“Motionize started four years ago,” he said. “Last year, we launched our first product, a sensor that mounts on the paddle shaft. Of course, we always wanted to make it inside the paddle, truly an IOC paddle. With a sensor inside, it’s the perfect paddle.”
To develop the Smart Paddle, Motionize collaborated with Jim Terrell, a four-time Olympian and the CEO of QuickBlade Paddles.
The sensor is “actually a few grams lighter integrated into the paddle because of the way we minimized the amount of housing material around it,” Terrell said. “Whenever I have anything attached to my paddle, I’m worried about it clicking on something. With an outrigger paddle, when you switch sides, you don’t want to have anything on the shaft because you can hit your fingers when you slide up and down while making fast changes from side to side.”
The Smart Paddle eliminates this problem while providing real-time feedback.
“Most people paddle well until they fatigue,” Terrell said. With the Smart Paddle, “it’s like having somebody on your boat at the end of the race saying, ‘Come on, Jim! Your stroke is dropping! Your angle is changing!’ It’s nice to know each paddler’s cycle, and it can tell you when you’re out of your normal stroke.”
According to Motionize, the tracking metrics include entry angle, side comparison, cadence, stroke efficiency and calories burned. They are tracked through GPS capabilities to improve paddle boarding technique through real-time feedback. Users will be able to track speed, distance and maps with the ability to analyze and share their sessions with the Motionize mobile app.
The Smart Paddle can also help paddlers optimize their choice of gear.
“Having a paddle that they can borrow from a shop for a few days, they can dial in exactly what length they’re paddling with the most efficiently,” Terrell said. “People tend to buy what feels easier, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going faster.”
Yellin and Terrell also believe that the Smart Paddle will increase the popularity of paddle boarding. “People thrive on seeing times drop and efficiencies improve,” Terrell said. “Now, they will finish every session with some numbers. They [will] have something to build on each time they go out, something to look at and achieve each day.”
Motionize has helped lead the data revolution in water sports. Now, the Smart Paddle will provide athletes and coaches a complementary tool to fine-tune performance at the highest level.
“The next step with the Smart Paddle is to gather data,” Yellin said. “Collecting and analyzing the data will allow us to provide more value and insights to paddlers. It’s fascinating to dig into angles, efficiencies, and correlations. What happens to stroke efficiency when cadence goes up? Soon we will have thousands of hours that we will be able to analyze.”
The paddles can be preordered and will be released in March.
“With all my new paddle designs, we launch it and there’s some excitement,” Terrell said. “People kind of wait until a few people have [the paddle] to say, ‘Is it really as good as it sounds?’ When people start winning races using my new blade designs or you see top pros using them, everyone’s going to get on board. We’ve already had requests for outrigger and dragon boat paddles, and we’re building the prototypes as we speak.”
The Smart Paddle from Quickblade and Motionize from Quickblade Paddles on Vimeo.