If you’re in a hurry and don’t have time to read the pros and cons: Yes, it is.
The Apple Watch is a good watch for using (and tracking) during surf (in my case SUP surf) and biking (in my case mostly gravel riding)
Since the Apple Watch 2 presentation I’ve been considering it for tracking my sports. I like to track almost everything. I like numbers and I like to crunch them. But a lack of reviews for that purpose and the appearance of a delicate and expensive product added to a lack of robust original bands held me back.
I searched for reviews of surfers using it, but didn’t find many.
I searched for review of mountain bikers using it, but didn’t find many.
So after the launch of the Watch Series 4 I decided to give it a go. And it works. I bought the Apple Watch Series 4 in 40mm with the sport band:
First thing I did is trying to understand the best way to secure the sport band to make sure not to lose the watch at my first session 😁. In the end it’s only about having the right length tucked around your wrist. The silicone (sorry Apple, fluoroelastomer) material friction would make it hard to untuck and thus unpin.
Second step was to look for the best surf tracking app and after reading reviews and asking a few people I installed the Dawn Patrol App which gives you info about your session: place, date, time, water time, number of waves, distance surfed and time surfed (on the waves):
It also gives you individual information for each wave you rode: max speed, distance traveled and time on the wave:
Apart from all your sessions recorded, and your records: top speed, longest wave and best wave time.
So far I recorded 4 sessions from 0.6m (2 feet) to 1.5m (5 feet) with no big wipe out.
First 3 sessions were with trunks and lycra over the watch and the last one with a 2mm wetsuit. On this last one session I tested both the wetsuit covering the watch and the watch above the wetsuit and it seems to work well in both cases, which gives you an additional security if you can cover the watch with the wetsuit.
I’ll further test it during the winter months with a ticker 4mm wetsuit.
Regarding the sport band … it seems it works, but you know I still lack confidence on the durability and security of the pin and tuck closure.
Will keep searching for a nice and security inspiring band.
I surfed with the thicker 4mm winter wetsuit keeping the watch below it and it worked. I also contacted the support team at Dawn Patrol App (who are great) and confirmed there should be no problem.
Also bought a nylon strap from Amazon as a replacement for the original Apple sport band:
Update 2 (October 21st 2019). The Corki nylon strap bought on Amazon broke. Luckily it broke while I was sleeping in bed, otherwise if during surfing, I’d have lost the watch. So, take care and only use high quality straps (which don’t seem to be that common):
I can now confirm that:
- The Apple Watch is more than safe for surfing if you use it covered by the wetsuit
- Both sport band and nylon band are safe while preferring the original sport band as it doesn’t absorb water at the shower.