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Garmin GPS for Speedsailing

I’ve been a HUGE fan of Garmin since I started using the Forerunner range for biking and running around 2010. With the introduction of custom APPS, WIDGETS and DATAFIELDS around 2014/2015 they got even better. In 2015 a developer released a custom DATAFIELD that did precisely what us speedsailors wanted – it displays your BEST 2 second, 10 second and 5 x 10s average speeds LIVE on the water. From that moment the Garmin Fenix range became my go-to recommendation for kiteboarders and windsurfers looking for a multisport GPS watch that could double up for Speedsailing.

NOTE – everything mentioned here about Windsurfers also applies to Kiteboarders, Wing Foilers etc – anyone partaking in wind powered Speedsailing 🤙

The photos below show the datascreen installed on my own, slightly battered, Garmin Fenix 5 and an older Garmin Forerunner 920XT. This simple little addition to your watch’s functions is priceless. How many times have you come off the water only to say to yourself “if only I’d done ONE MORE run!” – not anymore ….

Some HONEST words

If you are really keen about your speedsailing and don’t mind switching allegiance from Garmin to another brand then look no further than COROS. This brand has taken the world of speedsailing under their wings and given us EXACTLY what we needed – so much so that GPS-SPEEDSURFING.com recommend it. Unlike Garmin, the Coros Apex Pro and Vertix are RECOGNIZED by GPS-Speedsurfing.com for Speedsailing RECORDS, National and International Speedsailing Competitions etc.

Before you go any further …

How would you feel if you got back from a MEGA SESSION after seeing several PB blown off the water .. best 10 second max speed and best 5 x 10 seconds. Upload it to Garmin Connect ✅ .. then upload it to GPS-speedsurfing.com ❌ … the GPX file isn’t accepted. This WILL happen if you leave your Garmin device in the default SMART RECORDING mode. Before you go any further follow these simple steps:

  • Press and HOLD the MENU button (middle of the left three on a Fenix)
  • Scroll DOWN to SETTINGS and press top RIGHT (START button)
  • Scroll DOWN to SYSTEM and press top RIGHT
  • Scroll DOWN to Data Recording. If it says “SMART” press the top RIGHT then toggle it to “EVERY SECOND
  • If it says “EVERY SECOND” – that’s what we want to see.
  • Exit back to HOME – several presses of bottom RIGHT (BACK button)
  • WATCH OUR VIDEOS for more help

What is SMART mode – and why’s it not so smart

Garmin’s SMART mode is great for LONG bike rides, marathons etc. Events that do NOT have rapid change of pace and acceleration. In SMART mode the watch will sample the GPS data when “it” thinks it needs to. Sampling at a “smart” interval saves battery and keeps the file size down. However – this is no good for speedsailing – as can be seen from this mega blast I did recently after a watch reset. The Garmin Fenix decided to only sample every 2, 3 or even 5 seconds. This meant this sessions was INVALID and could not be uploaded to GPS-Speedsurfing.com. The track has huge portions “missing” thus the broken track. The second image shows the same session with the missing tracks “filled in” and filters turned off (software is GPS Results)

Adding the Windsurf / Kiteboard Datafield

It’s such a shame that Garmin haven’t incorporated this DATAFIELD in to dedicated Windsurf and Kiteboard APP. There’s a little bit of fiddling required to add this brilliant function to your Garmin watch. Let’s start by downloading the DATAFIELD from Garmin Connect or scroll down the page to watch my VIDEO INSTRUCTIONS.

The Garmin Connect IQ Store Datafield required for Speedsailing with a Garmin GPS watch

Hopefully visitors here will be familiar with how to add APPS and WIDGETS to their Garmin device using EITHER the Garmin Connect mobile phone APP or the Garmin Express Windows program. If not please scroll to the bottom of this page and watch our VIDEOS. They illustrate 1) How to DOWNLOAD the Windsurf / Kitesurfing Datafield from Garmin IQ Store and 2) How to install the Datafield on your Garmin Device.

Garmin Fenix on Amazon

Gallery showing Garmin Fenix Windsurf session

The four images below are all from the same Hunstanton windsurf session (not really a speedsailing session – but fun nonetheless). The first two are taken from my STRAVA account. This is done automatically my Garmin account has been set to upload all activities to Strava (I just have to edit it and set the activity profile to > WINDSURF). The third one is the initial upload to Garmin Connect. The fourth and final image is the MANUALLY uploaded session as shown in GPS-SPEEDSURFING.com. The raw GPX file has to be DOWNLOADED from Garmin Connect – saved to the desktop or similar location -then manually uploaded to GPS3 via the > UPLOAD TRACK then > POST SESSION function.

Video Guides

Part 1 – Getting the DATAFIELD from Garmin IQ Store

Installing the Speedsailing Datafield on your Garmin GPS

The Bottom Line – NOT for PROFESSIONAL SPEEDSAILORS

Unfortunately – Garmin GPS watches are NOT recognised by GPS-Speedsurfing.com for sailors looking to set National Records etc. For PROFESSIONAL LEVEL sailors – get a Coros Apex Pro (or Vertix / Vertix 2) or a Locosys GT31 or GW-60. HOWEVER – for ease of use, seamless upload to Garmin Connect & Strava they come highly recommended. The Speedsailing DATAFIELD covered on this page is a brilliant training aid and adds an extra level of fun when simply blasting with your mates. 95% of my speedsailing is done with JUST my Garmin on my wrist. Only when I am competing do I wear a GT31 on my arm. Whatever you use – stay safe and have fun 🤙