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Performance meter offers kayakers an extra stroke

A two-person team in New Zealand have developed a kayak power meter that is fast becoming recognised throughout the paddling world.

Simply attached to the kayak as a shaft, the meter monitors the performance of the kayaker throughout their run.

The meter has been developed by Mathew Pottinger and Kim Healy through their One Giant Leap business. It is said to offer an alternative to other monitors already used.

Heart rate meters measure how the body responds to exercise, while GPS speed monitors record velocity through the water, but can be affected by external elements.

The Power Meter, meanwhile, directly measures the energy output by the kayaker, which is said to be more of an indicator. Mr Pottinger explained:

“Kayakers don’t have a lot of performance feedback, they only hear how fast their boat goes. A power meter is the holy grail of performance monitoring.”

The equipment is already being used in training by pro kayakers and national bodies, with the data collected being used to organise teams better and create enhanced training regimes.

The designers also add that the device is able to help plan race strategy.

It is understood that the New Zealand canoe squad used the tech for the London 2012 Olympics. However, the meter only went on sale commercially during 2014. It is already available in the UK.

The team is now developing a web app for the product. It hopes this will be able to be used by beginners, such as those heading off on team building kayak trips in the Northwest.