Tracking Your Paddles with Strava
Strava Tracks

Tracking Your Paddles with Strava

2022, Mar 11    

Like most sports now, you can track your trips and revel in the distances you’ve traveled. There are a few options out there for tracking your paddles with a GPS tracker and trip logger. In this article, I’ll cover probably one of the most ubiquitous fitness apps out there, Strava.


Strava is a terrific all-around fitness app and quite popular among runners and cyclists. It’s easy enough to track your SUP trips but there are some caveats when using it with a smartwatch which I’ll cover later. One of Strava’s most attractive qualities is its social features. Maybe it’s just me, but I often think “who’s gonna see this paddle when I post it?”. Like IG, once you post a ride/paddle/run, your friends and followers can comment or give you ‘Kudos’. I have to say, those thumbs are encouraging.

When you’ve started to record, you can see at a glance the time elapsed, average pace, distance, and your heart rate (with an Apple Watch or other connected health monitor). You can set audio cue notifications for splits so you don’t have to pull out your phone or glance at your watch.

If you’re using an Apple Watch, the Strava app has settings for several activity types (walk, hike, run, bike) except for SUP. Kind of a bummer but setting it to Outdoor Run works fine, you just need to remember to set the activity type in the phone app to Standup Paddleboarding if you want it to look like you paddled and didn’t actually run on water.

Strava has a Beacon safety feature that allows you to share your location with up to three contacts for those far away paddles, though I wouldn’t recommend paddling alone.

After several paddles, you can visualize all your impressive stats with your monthly or annual Recap.

Strava year

Where Strava really shines is in its maps (full disclosure – I work for the map company that provides these maps 😉). Based on OpenStreetMap, an open source map of the world, a global community of mappers have made these maps some of the most complete maps you’ll ever see. Even you can contribute! If you’re on your phone or viewing your trips on the website, you can toggle a couple different map views including standard street, satellite, or hybrid map. Toggling 3D also gives it depth though not very useful on flat water. You can now also load your Heatmap as a background to see context of where you’ve been and even filter on time.


Finally, like most apps, you can export your GPX tracks (GPS files) to import to other services or apps or make a replay of your trip. Here, you can see a replay of my buddy Evan and me racing around Ross Island at the Rose City SUP Classic in 2021.

I’m definitely biased towards Strava and it’s been fun to watch the company innovate and stay laser-focused on their customers. The downside is they have a WIDE range of customers. Every activity has their user-base that is clamoring for their specific features. Cycling and running will likely be priority but I’m still hoping for SUP support like paddle segments and SUP activity types on Apple Watches.