Smart Paddling with the ‘Herm’ – A Review of Quickblade’s New Smart Paddle

This week’s blog features a video review of a new product we’re digging, provided by Downunder Team Rider, Mark Herman.

The back-story on ‘Herm’ – he’s a character!  Herm started paddling with Downunder in 2014, and was so hooked he bought a season pass and signed up for a clinic with visiting SUP champion Fernando Stalla.  He even entered the Soundsurfer Waterman’s Challenge – just one month after he set foot on a board!  And the next month, he bought one – a Lakeshore displacement hull recreational board that would accommodate him, AND his 70lb golden retriever, Bailey.

herm and baileyHerm and Bailey quickly became members of the Downunder family, paddling with staff and customers, joining the Wednesday night paddle group, hanging out at the shop.  And of course, he got the racing bug!  Herm’s a big techie, so when Quickblade told us about their new paddle, the first thing we did was reach out to him for his thoughts.  And of course, before you knew it, he’d got hold of one, and was paddling with it!

“Since I first started SUPing at Downunder, not only have the boards I’ve owned evolved but just as important, so have my paddles.  Through my paddling evolution, I’ve always been a bit of a perfectionist when it came to my paddle technique and efficiency.  I’ve had a couple of different GPS devices to track my speed and stroke rate, in the range of a few hundred dollars, along with the paddles I currently race with – the Quickblade V-Drive and Trifecta.

When I first heard of the Quickblade Smart Paddle, I initially thought ‘how cool is this concept!’  Then I thought, ‘where the heck was this when I first started paddling?!’  I messaged a friend of mine about the paddle, Nathan Wollenburg, who owns a custom SUP board company called Project 908, here in Columbus, OH.  Nathan develops new race boards, and we’ve been collaborating to spread the SUP race stoke, not only in the city but also in the State.  We realized how valuable this paddle could be to our race introduction and training, so immediately reached out to Quickblade to source a couple.

herm steadying kayak for baileyThe first day the paddles arrived, Nate and I took them out for a spin.  Setting up and connecting the paddle with the phone was super easy.  One of the great features is that you don’t necessarily have to mount your phone on the board, but instead you can keep it in a pocket.  The Motionize application on the phone speaks to you throughout the workout.  It lets you know your pace; when your stroke efficiency declines, and when it increases.  It even pauses automatically when you stop.  The best feature though is the data it collects.  It keeps me honest with how I paddle, letting me know if I favor a side; what my distance per stroke is; my strokes per minute; pace and distance, and lets me know what my blade’s entry angle is.

With all these benefits, you don’t need a separate GPS device – which couldn’t do it all anyway.  With its adjustable handle, this paddle can fit anyone for easy touring – making it the perfect choice; it can GPS track where and how long you paddle, and for the more serious folks out there – perfect their paddling efficiency.  If you just want one paddle – this is the one to get!”

We asked Herm to shoot a video explaining what the Smart Paddle does; he includes a lot of information on how to set it up.  Great visuals.  The images below are screen shots of some of what is in the video – saves you having to zoom in, or stop and pause, while you program your own Smart Paddle!

The Smart Paddle is available to demo at Downunder – come on down and ‘give it a go.’  Join us on a Wednesday night (starting April 12th), and we’ll get out there with you; you’ll meet some of our regulars, and maybe learn about racing – maybe give that a go too!

Check out Jim’s video on the smart paddle too: