Actofit: Take II

Actofit just notified me that they are sending a replacement unit for my original device, the Gen 1 Actofit fitness tracker.

The new device is called the Actofit Rise and it looks good on paper with continuous heart rate, GPS and is IP67 waterproof.


The thing I liked most about this device in its first incarnation was its ability to track reps and sets in the gym along with the ability to train new exercises, such as kayak paddle strokes.  Unfortunately, the first release of this product was buggy and not quite ready for prime time.

If this new device delivers on gym tracking abilities and is a reasonable all-day, every day fitness tracker then it might displace the Amazfit Bip as my main device.

We shall see.

My next kayak

I’m developing the short list for my next boat. Think Evo 2, Epic (gasp) V8 Pro, Stellar SEL and Nelo 550. What else belongs in the consideration mix?

Let me know if you are interested in buying my: Phoenix Mini Slipper, Prijon Interceptor, Wenonah Orion, Phoenix Match II or, possibly even my Cobra Viper.

I need to free-up some cash.

The Thunderbolt-X now becomes my winter trainer, which is weird because not too many years ago I bought a winter trainer as an alternative to her.

Wye Island Regatta Kayak Challenge 2018

Yesterday I returned to Wye Mills, MD to compete in the Wye Island Regatta Kayak Challenge.

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It has been 5 years since I last raced this race, last in my Thunderbolt-X kayak in the Racing Single division which put me in with all the surfskis.

Prior to registering for this race I contacted the race coordinator to ask what class I should enter.  I explained my Nelo 510 is a surfski but plastic and 16’9″ long with a beam of 21.6″.

He replied and told me the technical specifications put me in the Recreational Kayak division so I grudgingly accepted that but told him that if anyone at all complained, to please bump me up a class or two, either into the Fast Touring or Racing Single.

Since my boat didn’t fit neatly into any category, I really didn’t know which division to choose.  I certainly did not belong with recreational kayaks but I certainly did not belong with composite racing skis either.

So I registered in the recreational kayak division and at the time I registered I was the only entry, which I thought was odd.

When I raced the first year of the Kayak Challenge, there was a plethora of kayaks in the event, so I figured maybe everyone was waiting for the last week before the event to register.

Sadly, there were only 4 or 5 true kayaks there plus myself, and the rest of the field were all males on racing skis.

I hope the organizers address this issue at some point and try to appeal to a broader range of kayakers in the future.  I realize this is primarily a rowing event, but if it wants to include kayaks then I think it ought to try to appeal to paddlers who are below the level of advanced or elite surfski paddler, perhaps with a reduced entry fee for true kayaks or some other level of recognition.

Trust me, the people who showed up in kayaks yesterday worked harder than anyone else.  It was a shame there weren’t more of them.

The organizers bumped up the starting times by 30 minutes to try to beat impending storms, but as luck would have it, as we launched at 8:30am it started raining before we even paddled to the starting line.  By the time the race started at ~8:45 the rain was coming down steadily and at times became very heavy with strong winds and choppy waves.  This lasted for much of the first 5 miles of the race.

By the time we rounded the far end of the island and started paddling back east, the headwinds were very strong and choppy waves were coming straight at us.  In fact, in this race, the wind and waves came from all different possible directions over the course of the race so those with the best balance and skills in a variety of conditions were rewarded.

wyecompositeMy Nelo 510, my tracks from GPS and step count

As I reached the far side of the island, the Kent Island Rowing Club in a 6-person outrigger canoe came up from behind be and slowly passed me into the wind.  We chatted back and forth and a couple times I was able to retake them over the next couples miles.  Their wind profile was so high it was holding them back so I was evenly matched with them under those conditions purely based on out-of-the-water wind profile.

I paddled very close to them for the final 3 miles and tried to catch the last of the composite surfskis toward the finished line, but still came in about 10 seconds behind him.

I ended up taking home the winner’s medal, but I did not feel good about it knowing I beat a really nice guy in a regular 16′ recreational kayak who poured his heart into it.

I felt like I brought a gun to a knife fight.

But there were no Fast Touring kayaks and only 3 men and 3 women in the Recreational Kayak division so even if I entered in the Fast Touring Kayak division (20″ beam or greater & 17′ or longer,) I would have been the only entrant and the race organizers would likely have combined kayak divisions

I wish there was more competition in the kayak divisions.

This was a much different scene from the early years of the Kayak Challenge when there were many more true kayakers. In 2010 there were at least 10 participants in the rec kayak division and more than that in the Fast Touring division.

I’ll probably not come back to this race unless I buy a composite surfski and compete with the more elite racers.  Lack of participation from other kayakers doesn’t make me feel very appropriate in this race.

The race organizers should either embrace kayaks or announced this race is for rowers and surfskis only.

I have my eye on the Think Evo, the Nelo 550, the Epic V8 Pro, or the Stellar SEI, but I would only use one of those boats in one or two races per year and they would not suit my needs for the vast majority of the paddling I do where rocks are an issue.

So I find myself in No Man’s Land with regard to the Wye Island Regatta as I don’t want to invest 3 or 4 grand into a boat that is only suited to a couple races per year, and I don’t feel good about competing with far superior plastic against a limited field.

I wish there was a more affordable option to get into a composite surfski.

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Below is my video from the race.  I had two cameras but the rain was so heavy and the water so choppy there was water on the lenses for much of the race so much of the video is unusable.




Lemfo LT02 Fitness Tracker Review

20180828_161806The Lemfo LT02 Fitness Tracker

Lemfo reached out to me and offered me a free device in exchange for a fair and honest review and that’s exactly what this is.

In my never-ending quest for the perfect fitness tracking device for kayaking, this device ranks highly in that it counts paddle strokes as steps.  Other than the Amiigo that I had to “train” to recognize paddle strokes, this is the first device I’ve had that actually counts paddle strokes as steps.

That’s a good thing.

Step counting seems accurate, sleep tracking is awesome and it can be set to automatically measure heart rate and automatically illuminate the display when you lift your wrist (I turn this latter feature off to prolong battery life.)

The band detaches and the device is charged directly on a USB port so no charging cable is included or required, which is a huge positive to me. One less thing to break or need to be replaced.

I ordered the black and green band and it also came with a spare grey/black one, which is very good to have a spare or switchable band.

The only downsides I see so far are the fact that sleep tracking can only take place during the hours of 10pm and 8am, so if you sleep outside of those hours or take naps, that sleep will not be tracked.  Also the device does not have built-in GPS.

But you probably don’t expect GPS in a device under $40, do you?

I like the looks of the tracker and it fits well on my wrist.

If you are on a budget or are looking for a basic tracker for steps, sleep and heart rate then I think this is a good option for you.

Readers of this blog get a special discount from Lemfo on this device.  Click the Amazon link below and enter code LEM66V88 and save $12.95.  That means you can get this device, regularly priced at $36.99, for only $24.04.  Exclusively for you reading this blog right now.

Farewell to the Prijon Beluga

My trusty Prijon Beluga joined a new fleet today.  I’m somewhat sad to see her go but am happy she found a good home with a new paddler who appreciates her for what she is.

Before I said goodbye, I took one last photo of her next to the Cobra Viper since I realized I didn’t have that comparison shot.

CobraandBelugaThe Prijon Beluga and the Cobra Viper kayaks

I guess my boat liquidation sale has officially begun.

I need to make room in the garage (and I need to free up some cash) for something new.

My review of the Amazfit Bip

I’ve owned the Amazfit Bip smartwatch for well over 1 month now and it is the device that resides on my left wrist.

The battery life is phenomenal at greater than 30 days (I only use GPS minimally,) it has various different watch faces that can be installed (with many others available from 3rd party sources available for download and installation,) and it is stylish and comfortable to wear.

It has continuous heart rate mode that can be turned off or set to automatically measure at 1, 10 or 30 minute intervals or can be set to “Sleep assistant” mode which only measures while you are sleeping to improve sleep tracking accuracy.

It has become my main device, although it still comes off and the Atlas 2 goes one when I’m in the gym.

Definitely a great watch at its price point.

Amazfit Bip Smartwatch by Huami with All-day Heart Rate and Activity Tracking, Sleep Monitoring, GPS, Ultra-Long Battery Life, Bluetooth, US Service and Warranty (A1608 Black)

Great for kayaking in terms of GPS tracks and total mileage, but it does not count paddle strokes as steps, unfortunately.  For that I wear the Lemfo LT02 on my right wrist while paddling.



Rivanna River: S. Rivanna Reservoir dam/Rio Mills Rd. to Riverview Park, Charlottesville, VA


I hopped on the Nelo 510 today to do a quick training run down the Rivanna River since the reservoir itself has an algae bloom that neither I nor my allergies wanted to deal with.

I paddled at a constant, brisk pace and captured my GPS trace and measured the distance at just about 8.8 miles and covered that in 1hr 25min.

It was my first fast run down the Rivanna this year since I did not participate in the annual Regatta/river race.

I passed many kayakers and tubers along the way and it was great to see so many people out enjoying the Rivanna.

The water was relatively low (the reading at Palmyra was ~500cfs) and I bumped a few rocks along the way, but the 510 performed beautifully through numerous rapids and there was plenty of water to have a great run.

The 510 is rock solid and might be my new whitewater boat.




Renpho Smart scale review

I’ve discovered a new product that is already blowing me away on its first day in terms of affordability and utility.

I just got my Renpho Smart Scale today and it links with an accompanying app via BLE to provide a variety of body parameters including body weight, BMI, BMR, Body Fat %, and muscle mass, among other parameters, using bio-impedance and it is FDA approved.

It cost me under $30 and I’ll bring you along with me on my journey to shed body fat over the next 8 weeks.  I’m backing off the weights in the gym and subsequently will go full-on NSNG next week and reduce my caloric intake slightly to get ready for my last couple kayaking races and kayak adventures for the year.

But first I will relax my diet and enjoy myself this weekend to see what happens.

So far the scale seems like an amazing tool for tracking my body progress.

And yes, I bought it with my own money because I researched the category and sought out this particular product so this is a completely independent and objective review.  I have no connection to the company or product whatsoever, but I am providing a link below through my affiliate’s account on Amazon should you wish to buy one for yourself.




My first day and initial measurement with my new smart scale

Buy the Renpho Smart Scale through my affiliate account on Amazon

Update 8/31/18:

This Renpho Smart Scale is simply amazing.

When you step on the scale all you get is your weight, which doesn’t seem special, but synch it with the app and a variety of useful parameters are available to you.

I’m 1 week into it and in the name of science I binged last weekend to see what would happen with my body and if the scale would detect any changes.

My initial weight was 178.8 and then I shot up to 184.6 over the weekend and now I’m down to 177 after starting strict NSNG (no sugars, no grains) on Monday.

I learned two things:

  1. It will take your body an entire week to recover from a bad weekend, assuming you get back to clean eating right away.
  2. This Renpho scale sees subtle changes and is a very useful and affordable tool for tracking body transformation.

I’ve said from the start of my fitness journey that I don’t much care what my weight is as long as I am gaining muscle mass and losing body fat.

Now I know with confidence that is happening.

This scale is a great way to get deeper insights over and above body weight.  It allows you to track weight, BMR, body fat percentage, muscle mass and more over time.

Below are some screen shots from my first week with the scale.




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Overview, weight, body fat %, and BMI tracked over 1 week with the Renpho Smart Scale

In short, I highly recommend this scale.  It is an incredible, affordable tool for tracking what is happening with your body.  As I write this it is selling on Amazon for $23.79 which boggles my mind.  Don’t just buy a scale, buy this thing.

I’ll check in with you again next week when I’m under 13% body fat.

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Buy the Renpho Smart Scale through my affiliate account on Amazon