Plugged In, Connected Items

People today are technology driven. We are constantly creating new products and apps that help us to go further, do more, and bring our devices with us. The watersports world is no exception, the 2016 PADDLEexpo making it clear that technology and electronic devices are part and parcel of aquatic exploration.

From the ability to communicate with coaches on shore using Bluetooth items like the CeeCoach Xtreme Waterproof Edition, to apps and devices that evaluate and critique your paddling technique from Motionize, we have created technology that lets us train harder and enhance our performance. At affordable prices, one doesn’t need to have a full time coach or be a high end professional to train like one.

As the industry welcomes more semi-professionals and those who use water sports for fitness, these devices become invaluable. “Motionize caters to the needs of paddlers of all levels. Our aim is to improve any paddler’s technique, helping them be more stable, confident and proficient. Better technique also helps prevent injuries, thus making users healthier and happier,” explains former Olympian Roei Yellin. Motonize also provides paddlers with tools to track their movement and performance as well as the ability to share this information with online communities.

Rainbow Kayak’s Koi Fishing boat features a waterproof solar-power charger to ensure items like our camera, fish finder, GPS, and phones stay powered up and connected, fueling the ability to document and share our outdoor adventures and achievements.

There are many obvious advantages to technology, notably safety. Having a phone or device with weather forecasts, tide/swell trackers, and GPS means we can prepare for and even prevent outdoor incidents. The potential to call for help and let others know your location if something goes wrong can be lifesaving.

Many smartphones also offer apps that promote education. Tools to identify different fish, birds or plants on our electronic devices enable families to educate in and about the outdoors, fostering a love and understanding of what drives watersports culture, potentially helping the outdoor industry grow from the ground up.

Currently popular is water-friendly entertainment, with Fusion Entertainments “Stereo-Active”, a rugged waterproof stereo designed “to deliver crystal clear music that enhances any activity” making a statement at PADDLEexpo. Stereo-Active was the 2016 winner for “The Coolest Gear of the Show” Award in the accessories category, proving that people want to enrich their outdoor experience and be able to bring the party with them.

 “Technology has become an integral part of our everyday lives,” asserts Marcus Hamilton, Associate Art Director at Fusion Entertainment. “We have reached a point in technological advancement where we are able to, and we expect that technology should be, integrated into all areas of our lives. I think one of the core drivers for bringing technology on the water with us lies in its ability to enhance our experiences.”

It is an interesting debate: does technology truly enhance our outdoor experiences? After all, isn’t that why many of us seek time on the water- to unplug and disconnect? Can we appreciate our environment if we are too busy connecting to our devices and our normal lives?

“I believe the risk lies not in whether we bring the devices out with us, but in our ability to learn how to enjoy the experience in balance with our technology” Marcus argues.

“We don’t need to be constantly engaging with our device when we explore the outdoors. But technology can help us immerse ourselves further into nature, give us confidence in safety, inspire new adventures, explore the unexplored and motivate others to participate and engage in the outdoors.”

By: Anna Bruno, Kayak Session, Paddle World and Sup World Mag editor.