Stroke Rate Monitor

I’m using a Forerunner 305 to monitor my distance covered, speed, and HR … having all this data momentarily while kayaking and on the PC for later analysis is addictive!

Now, I was wondering if there is anybody out there that could PLEASE advice me how to monitor my cadence: strokes per minute of my paddling.

I have found pretty consistantly that when I get up over 80 strokes per minute for any length of time, I throw up, but this may not work for you.

Go To A Music Store
I just read this tip on how to keep your cadence consistant.

Go to the music store and buy an electronic metronome. Set it for the number of beats per minutes you want…attach it to your boat and start paddling. Your blade should hit the water with every beat of the metronome.

Rather than counting how many strokes per minute you did, the object is to maintain your target pace.

1 Like

Watch timer
My cheap digital watch has a timer that you can put in a repeat mode. I set it for either 15 or 30 sec and it runs and beeps when the time is up and then starts over. I just count strokes between the beeps. Since it runs continuously I can do a recount ever few minutes to see if I am maintaining the same cadence. Never have to stop to look down at the watch, just listen for the beeps. Of course after a while the beeping does get to me and I will stop the timer and restart it later if I think my cadence is changing.


Sing a canoeing song
It worked for the Voyagers across the Canadian Lakes!

Did Anybody try this cadence wristwatch
Thank you for all your replies. I don’t know my critical stroke rate (the point I throw up) since I cannot count that fast ;o)

But more seriously, I read, that tests looking at speed vs. stroke rate with a large group of paddles showed, independent of the skill level of a paddler for all paddlers the speed did not raise after a certain stroke rate was reached (male~50, female~70). If that is true, than I waste my energy by going faster than 50 strokes per minute. I would like to test and play with that for myself.

I found, the following device from NK:

The rowers seem to care more about cadence and asked for such a tool … now I wonder if there is anybody out there that tried this gadget for kayaking?

NK also makes a SpeedCoach (including stroke rate) but this introduces a little drag and I already have the wireless Forerunner for speed and distance.


Speed vs stroke rate
I did some testing some time back on my speed vs stroke rate. I found that from 50 stroke/min to about 85 (as fast as I could maintain) the percent increase in speed almost exactly matched the percent increase in stroke rate. That was in a 18ft 21" wide kayak where I never felt that I was approaching the hull speed.

In one of my shorter kayaks (13ft 10" waterline) I can definitely detect a point where increasing the stroke rate fairly significantly just barely increases the speed. This is a qualitative assessment as I have not done the speed vs stroke rate measurements in that kayak.

Based on my experience your speed should continue to increase proportionally to your stroke rate until you start approaching the hull speed of the kayak. At some point I can see that trying to increase your stroke rate could start to change your stroke mechanics and thus you might lose efficiency. I have no idea at what stroke rate that starts to happen or if the kayak length/width affects where that point occurs.


good explanation NM

Stroke Rate vs. Speed
I’m talking about the article: “Energetics of Kayaking” (Applied Physiology) by Pendergast (Fig.4).

As you mentioned Mark, the speed rose very linear vs. Stroke rate (SPM). Elite male paddlers sustained about 2.7 m/s (6.0 mph) and unskilled men sustained 2.3 m/s (5.1 mph) at almost the exact SPM~50.

I paddle an Epic V10 and I’m still learning to use the wing paddle (and unlearning the old technique) but that surprised me. The hull speed of my boat is faster than what I can paddle (I just managed to average above 7mph over 5 miles). When I asked Doug Bushnell (one of the co-autors, who sent me the paper) he explained they observed the technique starting to suffer once they exceeded the particular stroke rates.

Anyway, it just got me curious to start looking at my stroke rate. I try to play with my technique while looking at my heart rate and pace … sometimes the speed increases some by accident … when I try to memorize it all and keep doing the same it drops more and more the harder I try. Maybe, knowing the stroke rate helps me understand better what I’m doing.

Mark, which gadgets did you use to conduct your “stroke rate tests”.

Mark, I just recognized you were counting the strokes between the beep intervals of your stop watch. I was hoping someone else did stroke rate tests.

Would you be able to provide a copy - my source does not have subscription going that far back.

Stroke Rate vs. Speed
I kept thinking about the value of monitoring the stroke rate vs. speed. And I get more and more convinced watching my stroke rate could help me a lot to improve my technique.

Naturally, when I train and I see my speed droping, I try to compensate and do better but I might do so by simply raising my stroke rate (possibly whith worse and worse technique). I think, I’d see the influence of my varying technique best, if I kept my stroke rate constant (it should be something easy and instantly to read or the target beeper in the ear). I try to do the same by watching my heart rate … but the heart rate is tricky to read since it is lacking behind in time.

There must be people out there that compete and do this for more than fun and fittness - CAN YOU PLEASE HELP - How do you monitor Stroke Rate!!!

Hee Hee Hee
That was really funny

This looks to be a rather old post, but I’m fairly new. I’ve been banging away on my Hurricane 140s, I am a high angle paddler with good core strength, 65 yrs young. I’m using a aqua-bound sting Ray hybrid paddle that came w the used boat.
I don’t even know if the paddle length is right, but it feels good. I just determined that I hold 50 spm and average about 4.9 mph. I don’t know if that paddle is even for high angle paddling, but I see some other aqua bound paddles w ~18% more paddle area. I’m not running out of strength, concentrating on rotating and getting what I can put of my core and working on my technique.
Is 4.9 mph over 6 miles decent w a 14 ft light touring boat, at 65 yrs, and a third of this 6 mile route is all twists and turns around stumps etc. ?
I just created some segments in my strava app that will allow me to measure my real speed for 1+ mile up and back on my route. So should I be happy enough w my 44 lb boat w the current paddle, or will I find more speed with a bigger paddle if I can hold 50 strokes and not run out of gas, right? I guess the best way is to go find out. Recommended high angle paddle for someone wanting to go out and pull hard for 1 1/2 to 2 hrs hard? I can’t run any more so this is my aerobic workout. Thanks.

A heart rate monitor would be a better option for accurate data about your workout, be it aerobic or anaerobic.

What are you using to measure your speed?

I have a heart rate monitor that hangs in the middle of the front of my cockpit for heart rate. My Strava gives me my average speed for the distance / time. I’m going to also try a gps speed app that I downloaded.

Are you wearing something that transmits your HR data to whatever is hanging in your cockpit?

Curious about the product.

Vaaka cadence sensor and a GPS watch is what I use. There’s a Vaaka app for Garmin Fenix that will let you see not only cadence but real time distance per stroke. Speed Coach offers similar as well as phone apps that use the accelerometer to determine stroke rate.

Video yourself count your strokes at home.

I find Strava HORRIBLE compared to the defunct Endomondo. Used it in the car and I’m sitting at a traffic light while still showing 5 mph Endo never came close to the delay I now see with Strava. Going to try MAP MY RUN which displaced Endo.