For those of you who follow me on Instagram you’ll know that I am a big user and fan of the Zwift platform.

Zwift Enters The Virtual Paddle Sports Market
Zwift Enters The Virtual Paddle Sports Market

I’ve covered almost 1000km over the last few months.

Zwift Enters The Virtual Paddle Sports Market
Zwift’s Virtual World

The app started as a way in which to make training indoors on a bike more enjoyable. Since then the platform not only allows you to ride virtual roads, enjoy structured workouts or take part in social group rides. Using a bike and smart trainer connected to a laptop or ipad allows the app to control the resistance of the trainer and make it harder or easier to pedal depending on the terrain in the virtual.

Zwift Enters The Virtual Paddle Sports Market
Mountains = Rivers

The impact this is having on my fitness both on and off the water has been amazing. But it doesn’t keep your upper body paddle fit.

So I think it is fantastic that today the 1st of April 2019 sees Zwift launching a water based element of the app.

In order to use Zwift, naturally you will need a kayak ergometer trainer (you can make your own), and at least a pair of paddle pods (shown below) in order to provide some data for the platform to be able to translate your efforts into a representation of speed on screen.

Zwift Enters The Virtual Paddle Sports Market
A Paddle Pod is attached via a GoPro mount to both ends of your trainer “paddle”.

In order to get that information online live as you’re paddling, you also need an iPad, iPhone or computer (I use a laptop) that’s connected to the Internet with the Zwift app installed, and an ANT+ USB dongle (widely available from online retailers) to connect your sensors to the computer. You can also connect via Bluetooth, using the Zwift Mobile Link (PC/Mac), native Bluetooth (Mac/iOS), depending on your setup.

As with the development of the running side of Zwift the areas in which you can paddle are limited. In the first instance you can paddle the flat waters around downtown Watopia or the in the tidal inlets of the North island.

It’s only flat water sea paddling at the moment but this is just the start. There are a great deal of mountains on Zwift’s virtual island chain of Watopia and where there are mountains there are plenty of steep rivers.

Zwift Enters The Virtual Paddle Sports Market
100s of coastline to explore and 7 class IV to V rivers to explore

So in the future there will also be the opportunity to paddle some of Watopia’s biggest glacier fed rivers without leaving the comfort of your own home. Watch this space for beta testing screenshots and analytics.