When you depend on your watch to chart your course and track your fitness, as well as tell the time, you want the best waterproof watch for a successful day out on your SUP.
We’ll review the best waterproof watches for paddle boarding and help you find the perfect match that has everything you’re looking for.
There are benefits to using a waterproof watch while you enjoy a day on your stand up paddle board. Your watch can track your fitness and activity while it also notifies you of weather and wind concerns that could ruin your day. A waterproof GPS watch can prevent you from getting lost on the water, pin your favorite locations, as well as chart your favorite course.
Many waterproof smart watches connect with your cell phone to notify you of incoming calls and messages, so. It’s also possible to upload paddle board specific apps that might improve your paddle board, help you to find unique paddle board locations or quickly access first aid guidance.
|Watch||GPS||Fitness Tracking||Depth of Waterproof||Battery Life||Touch Screen||Connect to phone||Price|
|Garmin Fenix 6||✓||✓||100 m||14 days||No||✓||Price|
|Fitbit Charge 4||✓||✓||50 m||7 days||Yes||✓||Price|
|Apple Watch 6||✓||✓||50 m||18 hours||Yes||✓||Price|
|Garmin Vivoactive 4||✓||✓||50 m||8 days||Yes||✓||Price|
|Polar M430||✓||✓||50 m||14 days||No||No||Price|
|Garmin Forerunner 35||✓||✓||50 m||9 days||No||✓||Price|
|Fitbit Versa||No||✓||50 m||4 days||Yes||✓||Price|
|Huami Amazfit||✓||✓||50 m||45 days||Yes||✓||Price|
|Garmin Instinct||✓||✓||100 m||14 days||No||✓||Price|
|LETSCOM||✓||✓||50 m||7 days||No||✓||Price|
When modern day watches do much more than tell time, it’s nice to review all of the features that a waterproof watch could perform in order to make the right choice. We’ll provide an overview of multiple watch features to inform you of the infinite possibilities for your ideal waterproof watch.
A reliable watch used when paddle boarding should be water resistant to avoid splashes, rain, or the occasional swim. A truly waterproof watch would be needed for prolonged submersion for swimming or diving. A water resistance rating of 5ATM or 5 meters is usually sufficient for paddle boarding and kayaking, and can be used to track your fitness benchmarks if you swim for exercise.
A GPS watch allows satellites to track where you are and how far you’ve travelled. The best GPS watches will have accurate and easy-to-read maps that can be preloaded prior to your trip or they will allow you to add more maps to them.
Other smartwatches will have a built in GPS that can track your distance paddled, speed, and your location. Most (if not all) smartwatches connect to your smartphone, where you can use your phone’s GPS mode for accurate location tracking.
A waterproof watch can track your heart rate, calories burned, and your speed. Paddle boarding is a great sport for physical fitness that involves general strengthening as well as a cardio workout, and your waterproof smartwatch can potentially track your stroke count and pace. You can often also connect third party fitness apps to further improve your experience.
Some waterproof watches have large screens for better visibility so you can load paddle board apps, but you might prefer a compact small screen that is less bulky on your wrist. Determine if you need a rugged, chunky watch to withstand hiking and climbing, or if you prefer a thin screen with a narrow band to appear more like a normal digital watch.
You don’t want to be stranded at the furthest point from your launching site with a dead battery. Some smartwatches suck battery life quickly, especially when using GPS, and you might not make it through a full day on the water. Make sure your watch’s battery life will last as long as you do!
GPS watches have different mapping capabilities. If you travel to new locations to paddle board, it’s important to have the most up to date maps at your fingertips.
A smartwatch with GPS capability should have preloaded maps and the ability to update existing maps to ensure you don’t wander too far from your destination. If your watch does not have a built in GPS, the ability to connect to your smartphone GPS will allow you to accurately pinpoint your location.
Your smartwatch’s internal memory should accommodate maps, fitness data, and apps that you want to use. Some watches come with a cable or memory card to transfer stored data to a larger device.
You need to see your watch without straining and with a simple glance to your risk. Watch faces should have a high resolution display that is easy to see in all conditions including bright sunlight and have backlighting for low light conditions.
What good is a watch if it’s hard to use while paddle boarding? A watch that responds to wet hands or when you’re wearing gloves prevents the hassle of drying off your hands whenever you need to see the GPS on your watch. Some have easy to manipulate buttons and others have touch screen capability.
A compass is useful to track your bearing when paddle boarding long distance or if you get turned around. If your smartwatch does not have an integrated compass, it might attach to your smartphone to utilize its GPS capability.
Many smartwatches can send you notifications of phone calls, email alerts, and text messages, but not many will allow you to respond. If you’re dodging work and can’t miss an important call, look for a waterproof smartwatch that enables you to respond without needing to dig your phone from your dry bag.
You’ll also want to confirm that your watch is compatible with your phone’s operating system - usually either IOS or Android. If your paddle board journey will be dangerous over treacherous terrain, consider a smartwatch with the ability to call or send messages in the case of an emergency.
As stated above, you can add many different apps to your smartwatch to improve your paddle boarding experience. Paddle boarding apps can track your strokes and distance per stroke. You can use weather and wind specific apps to ensure you won’t get blown off the water, and there are apps to direct you to the best areas to paddle board in certain locations.
Having your social media apps at your fingertips also means that you can send photos and brag to your friends while you float on the water.
The Garmin Fenix 6 is a multi-tasking machine worn on your wrist. It’s a GPS smartwatch with the ability to chart the course of your paddle board adventure. With preloaded color topographic maps, you’ll never guess which way to turn and you can chart your favorite journey so you can enjoy it again next time.
Activity tracking is specialized to include paddle sports. Not only is your heart rate monitored, but you can track your stroke count and distance while you paddle. The Garmin Fenix 6 even monitors your oxygen levels which can be helpful when active at higher elevations.
In addition to having all the GPS and fitness tracking you could ever need, you can download apps, listen to music, and receive alerts and messages from your smartphone.
The Garmin Fenix 6 Plus is a GPS smartwatch with amazing navigation capability and is waterproof to 100 meters. It is our favorite due to the multiple features that can heighten your paddle board experience. Sensors include a three-axis compass, altimeter, and gyroscope, as well as the ability to communicate with multiple satellite networks to perform well in remote environments.
Color topographic maps are preloaded and use Trendline Popularity that connects millions of miles of Garmin data to create the most up to date maps and routes. It even contains maps of the sun and moon tides that are relevant to ocean paddle boarding.
The Fenix 6 monitors your heart rate and respirations while also having a pulse oximeter to notify you if oxygen levels dip. This is a great feature when exercising at increased elevations to ensure your safety and avoid overexertion. It has activity performance tracking to help you train and compare workouts and follow your progress. It also monitors your sleep and hydration as well as includes a “body battery” feature to determine how much energy you have left.
Profiles for different sports can be integrated into the program, so you have access to a built-in paddle sports profile for more accurate tracking of your paddle board activity. This means that you can track distance, stroke count, rate, and distance per stroke and find ways to fine tune your workout based on the findings.
The Fitbit Charge 4 is a waterproof watch with the ability to track your performance in various activities while the GPS records your distance and pace. Compared to other watches on our list, the Fitbit Charge 4 has a thin watch face and is lightweight to make it feel and look like a normal watch.
The Fitbit Charge 4 is waterproof to 50 meters and can track your swimming activity as well as your calories burned as you paddle board. It’s an affordable device that provides everything you need to monitor your day’s activities.
GPS tracking allows you to monitor your distance traveled and pace while you paddle board. You can choose the swim mode to record your swim as the GPS tracks your laps and distance while monitoring your corresponding heart race during each phase of your activity.
Fitbit is known for fitness tracking and the Charge 4 does not disappoint. With the swipe of the screen, you can choose your activity such as running, walking, or swimming and then start the timer. It continuously tracks your heart rate, step count, calories, and when linked with your Fitbit app, it will show you trends in your heart rate at specific times during your workout.
When linked with the app, you can track meals and nutrition information as well monitor your sleep and stress levels.
The Apple Watch 6 has a large display and touch screen making it easy to access apps, activity tracking mechanisms, GPS and maps, music, and much more. It is waterproof to 50 meters so can be worn while paddle boarding and swimming.
Fitness tracking is taken to a new level with the Apple Watch’s ability to trace your heart rhythm with an EKG and to monitor oxygen levels. This means your watch could potentially save your life! With the ability to respond to calls and texts, you have the option to never truly disconnect.
The Apple Watch 6 has a large watch face to display colored maps for driving directions and to find waypoints on your paddle board route. There are additional apps to show detailed weather, water conditions, and even the stargazing conditions at night.
The Apple Watch 6 takes fitness tracking to another level because in addition to the heart rate monitor, it can actually record your oxygenation and take an EKG of your heart rhythm. It will alarm if there are low oxygen levels or your heart is in an irregular rhythm and it also has fall detection. You can use the watch to call someone if there is an emergency.
You can create personal exercise programs and monitor your progress. You can link to multiple activities for accurate tracking and it can even be used to swim.
The Garmin Vivoactive 4 provides GPS tracking with reliable fitness tracking in a waterproof watch. The waterproof rating means it's reliable to 50 meters so you can dive off your SUP and take a swim without worrying about your watch.
The Garmin Vivoactive has a touchscreen unlike the Garmin Fenix, but it does not have colored topographical maps. The GPS feature can reliably track location and distance but with less mapping features. Download up to 500 songs to listen while you SUP and connect to different apps such as a weather app to track incoming storms or wind conditions.
The Vivoactive has reliable GPS tracking without the extensive topographical maps seen with the Garmin Fenix. It links to multiple satellites for accurate location data and utilizes an altimeter, compass, and gyroscope. It can reliably track location, pace, and distance information while you paddle.
The Garmin Vivoactive tracks everything from heart rate, respirations, sleep, hydration status, oxygen levels, and for women it can even track menstrual cycles and pregnancy data. The “body battery” informs you of how much energy expenditure remains and it can even track your overall stress.
The Garmin Vivoactive has the ability to link to multiple sports apps and provide on-screen workouts. It can assist with marathon or race training. It is preloaded with GPS sports apps like yoga, running, and swimming. It can track stroke rate and stroke count for paddle sports.
The Polar M430 is a waterproof smartwatch with GPS capability to track your journey, but it also includes a mapping feature that allows you to trace your way back to your launching site so you never get lost. You can create a kayak or paddle board file on your watch to track your activity.
The Polar M430 has fitness tracking with heart rate and calorie measurements so you can track the benefits of a great day paddle boarding on the water. It does not connect to your phone to send you alerts or text messages, but you can utilize apps on the watch to assist with workouts.
The GPS capability will track your location, speed, distance, and then map your journey. The connected app lets you create profiles for your activity. It also includes a feature to help you return to the starting point of your journey, so you never get lost.
The Polar M430 tracks your daily activity with steps taken and calories burned, and it includes an activity guide to see how your activity varies over a 24 hour period. It can track your heart rate without any external chest monitors and also give information about your training load and sleep patterns.
The Garmin Forerunner 35 is a pared down version of a Garmin waterproof watch which makes it less expensive and less bulky. It has GPS capability to track your distance traveled, speed, and location but it does not have color topographical maps. It shines as an activity tracker to track heart rate, calories, and steps and though it focuses on runners, it can track any activity as it adjusts to changes in activity such as paddling.
The Forerunner 35 allows for notifications from your phone, but does not have the ability to respond to texts or calls. It is a less expensive option for a waterproof watch with most everything you need for a day on the water.
The Garmin Forerunner has easy to use GPS capability to track your distance, location, and speed. It does not have color topographical maps like other Garmin devices, but it can help you track your route as you paddle board down the coast. It also includes weather information, so you can ensure you’re not trapped on the water during an incoming storm.
The Garmin Forerunner 35 tracks fitness activity all day with heart rate, steps, calories, and intensity and it will remind you if you haven’t moved for a while. It can track your sleep patterns, hydration status, and track women’s health benchmarks.
The Fitbit Versa is a lightweight smartwatch with a slim design that is comfortable to wear. It does not include an integrated GPS like most other watches on our list, but it can be connected to your smartphone to use the connected GPS. It shines as an activity tracker with over 15 preloaded activities to track your heart rate, calories burned, as well as monitor your sleep habits and menstrual cycles.
The Fitbit Versa connects to your smartphone and has the ability to connect to your phone to receive text and call notifications, and it can store and play over 300 songs. The Versa is waterproof to 50 meters so you can jump off your paddle board without worrying about your watch, and it can be worn while swimming laps to track your workout.
The Fitbit Versa does not have its own integrated GPS but it can connect to your smartphone GPS to track your distance paddled and location.
The Fitbit Versa tracks your heart rate, calories burned, sleep patterns, menstrual cycles, and number of floors climbed. It has the ability to display on screen workouts to add to your fitness routine.
The Huami Amazfit Bip is the most lightweight watch on our list; the thin design and lightweight materials mean you hardly know you’re wearing a watch. The other amazing thing about the Amazfit is its 45 day battery life! Even when using GPS, your battery can withstand days of adventures.
The Amazfit has fitness tracking as well as GPS to track your location as well as your heart rate, pace, distance, calories, and more. The touch screen is easy to use and the watch is not complicated. It is a great option for those who want everything at their fingertips without weighing down your wrist.
The Amazfit Bip uses dual satellite positioning that is accessible 22 hours a day without draining your battery. Allows more accurate tracking in otherwise hard to track locations.
The Huami Amazfit Bip can track your heart rate and calories burned and includes multiple sport modes to correspond to your activity. It can track your sleep patterns to ensure you’re getting a restful sleep.
The Garmin Instinct is a tough and durable waterproof watch built with military standards for thermal, shock, and water resistance. It is rated safe up to 100 meters of water depth so you can paddle board until you get hot and leap into the water for a swim without worrying about your watch.
The Instinct has reliable activity tracking and includes the “body battery” to monitor your overall energy levels. You can track information about your sleep, hydration status, and even stress levels, and the watch will let you know when you’ve worked too hard or you need to hydrate. The Instinct is a rugged watch that’s ready to tackle any adventure.
Utilizes multiple navigation satellites to track activity in a larger variety of terrain and more than an average GPS. Utilizes a barometer, altimeter, and three dimension compass for reliable location tracking. Has “trackback routing” that enables you to track the same route back to your launchpoint once you’ve reached your destination.
The Garmin Instinct has reliable heart rate monitoring with the ability to preload fitness apps, and can also track your stress levels. It has the body battery energy monitor to ensure you don’t overextend yourself, and also can track hydration, sleep, and women’s health issues. It has a preloaded rowing profile to provide more accurate tracking while you paddle.
The LETSCOM watch is similar in setup and design to the Fitbit Charge at a fraction of the cost. It has GPS capability that can connect with your cell phone to track your distance and map your journey, and the activity tracker has 14 different activity modes to correspond to your activity.
The LETSCOM connects to your phone so you can receive alerts and messages and it has a battery life of 7 days after charging with a USB port. One unique feature is the ability to connect your watch to your phone to remotely take pictures with your watch.
The LETSCOM can connect to the GPS on your phone to track your distance and location and then map your journey.
Record your activities throughout the day including steps, calories burned, distance, active minutes, and sleep patterns. It has 14 different activity modes to adapt to your specific workout.
You’ve got so many options for your favorite smartwatch. Whether you favor a watch capable of detailed GPS maps or one that creates a thorough fitness routine, there’s a watch out there that’s perfect for you.
There are many benefits to a GPS watch when paddle boarding. You can preload maps of the area you’re paddle boarding to chart your course or highlight your favorite areas on a route. Marking your launch location on your GPS watch will allow you to use the maps to find it again if you get turned around on the water, and some watches have a built-in feature to trace your steps back home. Some GPS watches include weather information, fitness tracking, and connectivity to your smartphone.
Waterproof means your watch can remain submerged for prolonged periods of time without damage. If you enjoy swimming for exercise, snorkeling, or scuba diving where your watch will be submerged most of the duration, you want a waterproof watch instead of a water resistant one. The terms are often used interchangeably, so look at the watch’s waterproof depth or ATM rating to determine safe water activities.
The typical waterproof rating system is as follows:
No. Water resistance means that a watch or other device can get wet from rain, splashing, or brief submersion, but it is not designed for prolonged underwater exposure. A waterproof device can withstand extended time under that water without sustaining damage.
Once you’re ready to paddle your SUP, choose the most relevant mode to monitor your current activity. Once the GPS watch connects to satellites, you can track your route, create favorite waypoints, record your speed, and easily find your way home. Many GPS watches can be loaded with maps of the area you are paddling and you have the capability to pinpoint favorite locations on your trip.
The best waterproof fitness watch does not necessarily need an LCD display and visible maps when you’re interested in data pertaining to heart rate, distance, and calories burned. A favorite fitness watch is the Fitbit Charge 4 because it is waterproof and can be worn for swim exercise as well as paddle sports.
It has a GPS feature as well alarms and weather features, but the reason it wins over the Apple Watch is affordability. Apple Watches definitely have more bells and whistles with a large display screen, waterproof, and ability to upload apps, but it costs significantly more money if you simply want a fitness tracker.
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