A couple of weeks ago I found a FedEx package at my front door and opening it up I was excited to find a Motionize paddling tracker inside.
It you haven’t seen it before, Motionize is a system of two sensors (one attached to your paddle and the other on the deck of your kayak) that when used in combination with your smartphone can provide instant feedback to help dramatically improve your forward stroke.
The Motionize system measures a wide variety of specific items including, strokes per minute, stroke length, distance traveled per stroke, total number of strokes, all instantly displayed on your smartphone via the Motionize app.
Initial setup is pretty quick and easy. After attaching the paddle sensor you need to wirelessly connect both it and the kayak sensor (this is built into the housing) to your smartphone via Bluetooth. The Motionize app itself is easy to configure as it walks you through a series of questions to get an idea of the size of your kayak and length of paddle. It also takes into account if you paddle with a wing, euro or Greenland paddle which I thought was really interesting.
I will be honest with you, before using it, I was super skeptical as I wasn’t sure how accurate the data it collected was or even if it would useful. But it didn’t take to long for me to realize just how accurate the sensors were and after about 10 minutes I looked at the data and the first thing I saw was that I was pulling harder on one side and compensating by increasing my stroke length slightly longer on the other. It was subtle enough that I had no idea after all these years.
Now you might be asking yourself, "but that deck housing seems super big and clunky." It is. It’s big and heavy but in the time since I received this review copy the people at Motionize released the completely redesigned unit called the Edge which replaces the big housing with a small deck sensor and a universal smartphone holder that fits most waterproof cases and bags. Just looking at it, I think it’s a much improved system over the older version that I tested. If you are thinking of purchasing, you should consider that option.
If you are a kayak instructor I think this could also be an interesting tool. While the sensors are designed to stick with double sided tape, you could temporarily attach it to student’s kayaks with electrical tape which would provide them with instant feedback on their forward stroke performance.
What I liked:
- Super easy to set-up
- Paddling tips and analysis is clear and to the point
- The sensors are hyper accurate for data analysis
What I didn't like:
- Got to say that I was nervous of keeping my smartphone in a waterproof bag but still exposed on my deck to the elements or possible loss (it’s expensive!). The included tether helped keep that at bay.
- The unit I had was big and clunky though it shouldn’t be a problem for the newly released smaller version.
- Depending on the age of your smartphone, battery life could be an issue due to the fact that the screen is always on and Bluetooth activated.
The MSRP the smaller Motionize Edge is $249 and can be purchased on their website at motionizeme.com.
While there are several other kayak training/recorders out on the market, Motionize is one of the only ones able to develop a product that’s also very accessible for recreational paddlers. Most of the other ones I’ve seen are either super complex to operate or are specifically designed for one type of kayak (surf skies for example) making them limited to anything outside of the competitive world.
If you are looking to squeeze out a bit more performance you should check out the Motionize for sure.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the Motionize system from the manufacturer in consideration for review publication.
The kayak forward stroke. We make use of it 99% of the time out on the water but it’s also the one stroke that most people do poorly. Sure we can get from A to B with little difficulty but as soon as you need power or efficiency most paddlers don’t know how to fix it without coaching and serious practice.
Motionize is a new product to help make your kayak forward stroke better by using of technology as a virtual coach.