A motion sensor virtual ‘coach’ for paddlers

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This real-time technology is filling a void in paddle training for amateurs and pros alike. Photo: Courtesy of Motionize

Motionize is the first on-the-water “virtual coach” for kayakers. The dashboard-mounted device fits onto any boat to analyze paddling motion in real-time, providing instant corrective feedback on technique.

Complete with audio and video displays, the Motionize technology combines dual motion sensors, adaptable algorithms and an app that tracks and records paddling actions including stroke length, distance per stroke, speed/pace, paddle depth and more.

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Motionize claims to increase paddling speeds up to four times for amateur kayakers and up to six for professionals. Photo: Courtesy of Motionize

“It’s mostly aimed at the amateur paddler. The goal is to help the weekend warrior enjoy the sport more,” says Motionize CEO Guy Aharon. “People say that for the first time they can actually ‘see’ how they should paddle and know what to do with their equipment. They know that they’re improving, and that’s a cool tool.”

Pro paddlers are also seeing the value of Motionize. “There is nothing like it on the market,” says Maggie Hogan, a 10-season sprint kayaker for the U.S. National Team, who has been to 23 World Championships in five different paddle sports. She is trying to qualify for the Rio Olympics in K1 later this month. “The great thing is paddling is such a lifestyle sport, and Motionize really works for all — flatwater, sprint, outrigger canoe, standup, etc.”

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Pro sprint kayaker Maggie Hogan is using Motionize to perfect her stroke in time for the Summer Olympics. Photo: Courtesy of Motionize

Hogan’s coach Michele Eray, a champion downwind paddler says, “It’s a phenomenal coaching tool. Now you can see every angle in real-time. You can tell whether your stroke is longer on the right versus the left.”

Immediate feedback animation also allows athletes to practice and experiment on the water, rather than reviewing video later, processing feedback and trying to apply the knowledge next time they put in. “In real-time I can see the change happen,” says Hogan, who noticed her own stroke was off; she was catching too far forward on one side. “I can see the pace drop. The quicker you get the feedback the quicker you can make a change. It’s just a lot more accurate.”

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The Motionize kit includes a dashboard mount with a waterproof case for your smartphone; multiple paddle sensors; and an app to display, track and monitor activity. Photo: Courtesy of Motionize

The applications are endless. Not only can weekend-warrior paddlers improve technique while still in the boat, but Motionize also allows for an unprecedented form of “remote” coaching.

“We’re trying to increase the knowledge base of the sport,” Hogan says. “So, for example, we could look at a kid in Florida without having to be on the water with the paddler.” Motionize claims its technology can increase paddling speeds up to four times for amateur kayakers and up to six for professionals.

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The sharing technology is helping to create a new community for paddlers. Photo: Courtesy of Motionize

The on-demand video has another welcomed side effect: Community. “People in kayaking don’t really have a place to share,” Aharon says. “Now we have this collective data to post and experiences to share. It gives people motivation and allows them to enjoy paddling more.”

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