What kind of issue?
- Speed readout too fast? Set your surf height preference to Face Height Traditional vs Face Height (Surf Height Preference)
- Tracked paths on the map don't reflect your rides?
- Distance travelled too short/far?
GPS data is used to track your Sessions rides.
Anything in between your watch and where the satellites are can interfere with the "lock" or signal strength. Namely, submerging your device below the water surface. Also, being indoors, under trees, at the bottom of a cliff...
Anything impacting GPS signal will have implications on the accuracy of data recorded because GPS points are used to calculate your speed and distance travelled.
How can I fix this?
The best tip here is to make sure your wrist is out the water as the wave is coming in. That should help the satellite lock in and capture your full ride.
We are not suggesting paddling with your wrist out the water! Just make sure your hands aren't below the surface when sitting or stationary.
GPS signal issues can be due to a variety of factors and how to "fix" it depends on the device you're wearing.
- Apple Watches tell you when "Location Services are being used", but don't indicate signal strength nor when they have a lock with satellites overhead
- Garmin and Rip Curl watches do show GPS signal strength while you record your surf!
If you suspect there to be an issue with GPS signal on your watch, your best bet is to contact the manufacturer to see if they have any way of testing/troubleshooting the issue.
- Try surfing different spots and seeing whether data quality improves
- Give your watch sufficient time to secure GPS signal before surfing.
- If wearing your watch beneath your wetsuit sleeve, try strapping it on top of your wetsuit.
- Inbetween waves, keep your device above the surface to maximise GPS signal exposure. Submerging the watch while surfing is unavoidable while surfing. Regardless, this tip may improve GPS accuracy. If it does, let email@example.com know.
Testing GPS signal on an Apple Watch
Instead of recording a Session, paddle out to the spot and open the Maps app.
If you have a lock on overhead satellites, GPS accuracy will be within a few meters and your position will be pinpointed with a small blue dot (righthand watch face in the image below).
A large circle (lefthand watch face) tells you your device cannot pinpoint your location accurately. If this happens, your next test is to head to an open space over land and see if this improves. If it doesn't, you might need to get the device checked.