Using a GPS device to track our Stand Up Paddling activity is second nature for many paddlers and there are many different ways to do this. One of the most popular and well-regarded apps for SUP, and many other water sports is Paddle Logger. This app was designed from the ground up for paddlers and as TotalSUP found out, that shows. Here is the TotalSUP review of Paddle Logger.
Paddle Logger is a GPS tracking app that runs on the iPhone and Apple Watch and is available to download from your local Apple App Store. It is available to use free of charge and there there are various subscription options to unlock the full range of features available.
Paddle Logger – Download and get started
The Apple App Store is the place for all things iPhone and Apple Watch related and once you search for Paddle Logger in your store downloading is a simple double click away. When you start the app you can go for a paddle. Yes, it is that simple, no email address or payment details are required to get going with the free-to-use version of the app.
Paddle Logger – Free to Use
It is nice to see that the free-to-use version of Paddle Logger is not a bare minimum implementation that is hard to use unless you purchase a subscription, far from it. Within the free app you are able to:
Set the units you want to use, miles or kilometres are available
Set up profiles for your board or boards, really useful if you are lucky enough to have a board quiver in your garage
Use the countdown timer when starting your paddle activity
The countdown timer is a great feature giving you time to put your phone in a case or dry bag before you get on the water. Smart thinking, designed by paddlers for paddlers.
One more feature that I was impressed with is setting goals, this is a premium-like feature but to quote David Walker, CEO at paddle Logger
“We want more people taking to the water as possible. Motivations are good, we didn’t want to add a price hurdle to that.”
There are three goals available to all paddlers which can be set or changed at any time throughout the year. They are Number of Sessions, Distance Paddled and Hours on the water. Three metrics designed to motivate paddlers to spend more time on the water.
Paddle Logger – Logbook
When you get off the water and save your activity the logbook is the place where Paddle Logger stores your history. Here you can add information about your paddle and see the map view of your track and there are sharing options.
I feel that this is one area where Paddle Logger stands out from their competitors. The logbook is not hosted on a website for validation by others, it is private and stored on your phone for your use. If you want to share that information with others then you can, there is a Paddle Logger community on Facebook and a very active Paddle Logger Instagram page but it is your choice to use them, you do not need to set up privacy controls for your data or make changes if you’ve done a super-fast paddle you want to keep secret until after you race your mates.
Paddler Logger – Subscription
Given the feature-rich free version, what could the subscription offer for your money? There are a number of features that make the upgrade nice to have and one really big benefit.
The Paddle Logger subscription allows you to edit the start and end of activities. The ability to trim an activity is really useful, mostly for the end of a session if you cannot use your phone touch screen with wet hands or, for one of my recent paddles the closure on my dry bag had frozen solid! It also proved useful to trim the start of one paddle when I got stopped by a friendly Swede who wanted to know about my board. I will add that the edit feature is very slick and easy to use, it makes a similar feature for my Garmin look clunky. Good design again from the Paddle Logger team.
Trimming an activity in Paddle Logger
Subscribers can see more data on each paddle in their logbook including average pace and split times for distance. This is a good tool if you are training and I particularly like the graph-like display, using subtle and clever graphics with the numbers. You can also see your pace graphically on the map, the GPS track is yellow when you at or near your average speed with green for higher than average and red sections where you were slower, great for confirming when you were struggling and where you were flying!
Paddle Logger map and splits
When you have looked at your extra data you can change the map to a satellite view, edit the title for the paddle add photos to your activity in the logbook. This is a good way to tie photos to paddles and to your GPS track and it’s good for those activities you choose to share with others. You can also create folders to help you keep track of your activities, it’s all too easy to lose track of things and being able to group related activities is great – training, holiday social. You choose how to keep your data.
Subscribers can also change their units of distance to Nautical Miles and their speed to Knots, an option for the salty sea dogs out there who may have come to paddle sports from wind-driven fun on the water.
One other feature that subscribers have is the Race Mode, which lets the paddler set a distance for a virtual race which starts at the end of the countdown. At the halfway point the app gives an audible indication that it is time to turn around or to step up the pace for a one-way race. At the end of the paddle session, the end of the race course is clearly marked with a little flag, nice touch. This paddler however has had a hard time testing this and that is no fault of the app! Paddling in mid-winter here in Sweden means my phone is inside an insulated over inside a drybag securely attached to the deck of my board. That insulation is really good at suppressing sound!
Paddle Logger – PaddleLIVE®
I think this is by far the biggest benefit to the app, so what is it?
PaddleLIVE® is where Paddle Logger looks after you when you are on the water, when you set it up with one or two contacts they get a notification when you start a session and another when you end it. You also have the ability to set an alert after a predetermined time, if you do not finish in that time your contacts get a message but first PaddleLIVE® prompts you, just to make sure you are OK.
As a solo paddler, this is something I try to do whenever I paddle but at times I have forgotten to do, mostly at the end of a paddle and that can cause some stress for others. By automating this I don’t have to worry about it and neither does my family! And they know that if something happens the auto alert after a pre-set time will tell them where I am using ‘what3words’ & co-ordinates to give an accurate location for your phone, which should be with you. They will also know how much battery my device has too!
Paddle Logger – Pricing
All the extra benefits of Paddle Logger come at a very reasonable cost and with monthly, yearly, 6-monthly and lifetime options. As well as an Annual family plan. Ensuring that you can get the most out of your time on the water for less than a Euro per session (based on average paddler usage).
Paddle Logger – Sharing your activities
With ever-increasing social media pressure to chase perfect Instagram moments or collect a huge number of likes, the low-key Paddle Logger approach is refreshing. Completely optional, take part if you want to or simply join the Facebook group or follow the Instagram page and enjoy the posts there.
Paddle Logger – Support
When writing this review I had cause to contact the Paddle Logger team with some questions, responses were quick, and the information supplied was clear and concise. The team aim to reply to queries quickly and from looking at the reviews that is how they appear to handle all their support queues, not just reviewers.
Paddle Logger – New Features
As I have used the app there are a few things that I wish were available and the Paddle Logger team have anticipated that! There is an option in the app to suggest a feature and that’s exactly what I have done for the two things I would like to see them do next.
The first one is the ability to filter activities by watercraft, users can already set up their different boards in the app and filtering would be really nice.
The second one would be to add a race countdown in addition to the start your session countdown already available. This would allow racers to do a warm-up first before starting their virtual race without needing to start a new activity on the app.
If you agree then get the app and place your vote!
Paddle Logger – Accuracy
The app is as accurate as the technology you run it on, I have been using the app on an 18 month old iPhone 12 mini and it has been as accurate as my Garmin Fenix 6X, both the mapping and speed calculations have been in line with the dedicated device.
Paddle Logger – Sustainability
Sustainability might not be the first, or second thing you think of when looking for an app for your phone but it is something that David and his team have thought about and they are members of the 1% For The Planet network. To quote from the Paddle Logger website
We are small, but we want to punch above our weight in helping to address environmental challenges. The more we grow, both financially and in terms of audience and reach, the more impact we can have.
At TotalSUP we do not give out stars for reviews but if we did this app would get a lot of them. Paddle Logger is a well-designed, easy to use app for your iPhone that allows you to track your paddle activities across a number of watercraft.
The free to use version is probably the easiest way to use your phone to track your Stand Up Paddle activities, the team at Paddle Logger have cut away any need to set up an account and have given users the most simple way possible to get on the water. Download and paddle.
The Subscription version of the app builds on that with a set of additional features that are useful and well-implemented.
PaddleLIVE® is the stand-out feature in the subscription version of the app and this gives paddlers, and their contacts, a real sense of security. PaddleLIVE® is not a substitute for preparation, planning and using common sense on the water but it adds an extra layer of protection, automating the keep-in-touch procedure that we all should use.
It is clear from the moment you start the app that Paddle Logger was “designed by paddlers, for paddlers” and this paddler will be using it for a long time.
You can find out more about Paddle Logger on their website, Facebook Page and Instagram channel. The Paddle Logger app is available from your local Apple App Store for the iPhone and Apple Watch – more on that app later from TotalSUP
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