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 GPS-kitesurfing.com. 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
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.
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
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.
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.