This feature is the first of what will hopefully be a series of instalments taken from the travel blog of Guernsey surfer and roving reporter Ollie Horton. Ollie is an ex-senior investment manager who has traded the screens for a life away from the old routine. He is currently based in Lanzarote and you can follow all his travels on his excellent blog olliehorton.wordpress.com. Anyway over to Ollie now as he runs through his experiments with GPS tracking in the lineup in Lanza.
I’d always wondered how far we paddle in an average surf session and the sort of speed you travel while on the wave… My TomTom Multi-Sports GPS watch (designed for triathletes, which I am definitely not!) gave me the idea that I could track myself while in the water and find out! For an extra bit of fun, I took in the GoPro, chewed on the floatation sponge (thanks for the tip Matt!), and managed to get some really cool footage in the process! We surfed in the town of Famara on Lanzarote, which is a stunning location and a place I am likely to move to next month. In terms of conditions, there was barely any wind and Josh and I surfed an offshore wave to ourselves – that doesn’t happen too often over here! The wave, which you paddle out to from the harbour, comes into its own on a big swell but due to a small to moderate conditions on the day, the waves were inconsistent making it difficult to position, as each set would break on a different part of the reef depending on the size – well that’s my excuse for not catching many anyway! The bigger sets were solid overhead in size on take-off, though the GoPro footage makes it look much smaller (honestly!) with great long rides of 200m plus to be had. I put the GPS tracker in my wetsuit rather than wear it as a watch, as I think the motion of my arm would have distorted the reading. The data was interesting; in 1 hour 30 from leaving the car to returning, I had covered 2.8 miles with a maximum speed of 22.3mph! The picture to the left (click to enlarge) shows my exact track, speed and elevation throughout the session: