Is there an iPhone Watch app for rowing?


Can someone tell me clearly ( because I am relatively ignorant) if there is a rowing/paddling app that a coach can use to determine stroke rate for a team ( this is for dragon boating not rowing) that is compatible with the Apple Watch?  Thanks!

The iPhone Watch and rowing / paddling apps

There’s one app which we have looked at called Rowing SPM (strokes per minute) which is simple and does one thing really well – counting rating strokes per minute and displaying averages during a single piece.  It is manual so the person taking ratings need to tap the screen each time the oars go into the water..

The developers have created an iPhone watch version with the same name.

In the description it says

“Rowing SPM is a free rowing strokes per minute (SPM) counter.

Simply tap the ‘Stroke’ button and the app will calculate the current stroke rate and also the average stroke rate for the last 5 and 10 strokes.

The average stroke rate for the whole piece is also shown along with the total strokes taken.
Perfect for use by a coach or cox during a rowing outing or for calculating the stroke rates of boats from the side of the river/lake.

Warning: If you use this app whilst in a boat on the water and your device gets wet, it will probably break it so the exercise of caution is strongly advised.” [Sounds a bit obvious and CYA because Apple Watch is designed to get wet].

Here is the review of the apple watch SPM version.

If you are actually rowing or coxing, this app has the obvious shortcoming which is that you can’t both row and tap your watch at the same time.

Dragon boat apps

And the challenge for dragon boating is that the strokes are both shorter and a higher cadence per minute than a rowing stroke.  What this means is that you will need to tap frequently (and you need five or ten strokes to get an average count) which relies on speedy fingerwork.

An alternative which may work while you are actually paddling is the app.  Designed for swimmers and also with an iPhone watch version, this may be more aligned with the needs of dragon boating.  Because your arm moves while you swim and the forward surge in each half of the stroke is not very pronounced (like dragon boating and unlike rowing), this may both have the sensitivity to count strokes at a high cadence and also allow you to participate in paddling while it records.

See the image below – it works with a vast array of sports watches and all of thp include the Stroke Count feature.  See more detail. 

Swim Watches that work with the app Swim Watches that work with the app

The app works with a very wide range of swim watches and also has a superb range of features.

Unfortunately we haven’t tried the app ourselves nor had a reply yet from the app’s writers about whether they have tested it in a paddling environment.

Any other suggestions?


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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Graham Cawood

    Google ‘Metrownome’ for an app to give you an audible rating for the crew to follow. It can also give you varied in/out sounds for rowing.

  2. Elizabeth

    I have power row and that is good for distance but not for spm. It connects to the Apple Watch and can be used on the erg and water.

    1. Rebecca Caroe

      Elizabeth – thanks for the feedback.

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