Paddling a kayak is tough work. If you're wondering just how tough, a new paddle from New Zealand-based One Giant Leap can tell you. Its integrated power meter monitors how much power is going into each stroke.

Bike power meters like the StageOne have popped up more and more in recent years. One Giant Leap believes that power meters have the same potential for kayaking as cycling and says that the simply named Kayak Power Meter is the world's first kayaking power meter. The carbon fiber paddle shaft contains monitoring hardware that tracks power output, power balance (left vs. right stroke) and stroke rate.

One Giant Leap says that using the power meter will help kayakers accurately monitor their levels of fitness, avoid over- or under-training, and assist in setting a pace and preparing for races. It also says the power meter is different from common devices like heart rate monitors because it gives a direct read-out of intensity, instead of an indirect read-out of the body's response to that intensity.

"Like [in] cycling, power is the single most important number for tracking performance in kayaking," explains One Giant Leap’s managing director Mathew Pottinger. "Boat speed can be influenced by uncontrollable factors such as wind and current, while power is a direct and consistent measurement of effort, regardless of conditions."

The Kayak Power Meter is equipped with ANT+ technology and sends its readings to a compatible device, which can be worn on the wrist or placed on the front of the boot for easy reading. Compatible devices are manufactured and sold separately, and include smartphones, tablets, and a variety of fitness watches and computers. The ANT+ wireless technology has multi-device support, so the kayaker can view real-time readings while a coach does so simultaneously.

The US$830 (before shipping) Kayak Power Meter is available now for pre-order. One Giant Leap expects to start shipping in September. The device is simply a two-part carbon fiber shaft, available in two stiffness varieties, and requires you to secure blades with an included hot glue stick. It includes two USB charging cables and a Windows software package for managing settings.

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