GPS for kitesurfing

It is interesting to use a GPS for logging some of your kitesurfing sessions, particularly downwinders.

Desirable GPS features for kitesurfing

  • A compact GPS is best.

  • Wrist mounted provides easiest access

  • Download track log for sessions

  • If waterproof IPX8 rated (fully sealed, no gaskets) can use without a waterproof case

  • Large screen display option makes it easier to read on the water

  • Route navigation (only available in high end devices)

Early generation GPS devices

The Garmin Foretrex 101 requires a serial port interface which is now not common on computers.

A Garmin Edge 705 bicycle computer is compact and has a USB interface.

If you want to get serious and try for a speed record, the Navi GT31 (below right) or Navi GT11 is recommended at You can also upload your track logs to this site and compare with others how you are going.

Garmin Edge 705 in waterproof pouch kept in harness pouch

Garmin Edge 705 in waterproof pouch kept in harness pouch

Garmin Foretrex 101 GPS
Garmin Foretrex 101,
Garmin Edge 705 GPS
Garmin Edge 705
Navi GT31 GPS
Navi GT-31

Second generation GPS devices

The Garmin 310XT and 910 XT are fully waterproof (e.g. rated to IPX8). The 910XT has some additional features that you probably don't need for kitesurfing.

Note that you cannot enter and navigate a route with these units, but you can store a waypoint. You download track logs via an ANT wireless interface - there is no direct USB connection. Recharge them with the supplied USB lead with a clip that contacts two external terminals on the back.

Garmin 310XT
Garmin 310XT
Garmin 910XT
Garmin 910 XT

Third generation GPS Devices

The latest GPS devices include features such as the ability to create a route by joining waypoints and then navigate the route. This is a standard feature for GPS units used for hiking. Example are :

  • Garmin Vivoactive - moderate cost

  • Garmin Quatix - marine specific, expensive

  • Garmin Fenix - includes maps, expensive

Garmin Quatix GPS
Garmin Quatix

Other features may include:

    • Specific sport activities

    • Barometer and altimeter

    • Upload and download routes and waypoints from a computer to the watch

While these look like a normal watches, with the GPS turned on you will need to recharge it frequently due to higher battery use.


Here is a sample GPS tracklog for a kitesurfing session from a Garmin Edge 705, uploaded to the free Garmin Connect website.

Kitesurfing GPS track log

GPS units that are described as "waterproof" may let some water in and be destroyed . It is best to put your GPS in waterproof pouch, which you can then put in the front pocket of a buoyancy vest, or in an waterproof arm pouch or harness accessory pouch.

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