SUP Surfing with the Garmin Fenix 3

I managed to squeeze in a nice little SUP Surfing session on Monday and decided to try out the Surf Tracker app on my Garmin Fenix 3. The conditions were nice, a gentle SW breeze and 2 foot surf rolling into the beach at Ynyslas. The sun was shining, the temperature was almost 20ºC but I had the entire beach to myself. It was nice to be out in the surf wearing just shorts and a rash vest even if the water was still a little chilly at around 13ºC.

The Surf Tracker app worked flawlessly as well. Every time I caught a wave it detected it and added 1 to my wave tally count. It also recorded the ride, tracking the distance covered on that ride, the time spent on that ride and the speed of the ride. It’s all pretty clever really.

Surf Tracker App

Surf Tracker App

The only shortcoming really is the fact that Garmin Connect, or any of the other online apps such as Strava or Training Peaks doesn’t have any way of displaying this info so it’s really just for you to see during the surf session. The activity is still recorded and uploaded to these services though so you can at least see where you’ve been and what you did and see the usual stats such as distance covered and max speed. You just don’t get a breakdown of each wave that you caught recorded.

Here’s my Session from yesterday:

The other good news is that I’m getting better at SUP surfing too. My first few attempts were OK but I wasn’t so good at catching the waves whilst standing up. If I paddled into them in a normal surf fashion and then jumped to my feet I was OK, but catching them by stand-up paddling into them put me off balance. No such issues yesterday though so I’m improving thanks to a few flat water SUP touring sessions.

8 Responses

  1. Avatar forComment Author Nikolaj Hviid says:


    Quick question. I can’t seem to find the app you are using in the IQ store. What is the name of it?

    Thank you.


  2. On the surf app you can find instructions to at least be able to log all surf runds to a text file on the fenix.
    Have not tried it, but found the info today 🙂

    • Avatar forComment Author Alan Cole says:

      I have tried that… To save a txt file with your wave data in it you just need to create a textfile in the /GARMIN/APPS/LOGS folder on your device, This text file has to be called the same as the Big Wave Dave app program file. So, the best way to find out what to call this txt file is to remove the Big Wave Dave App from yur Fenix 3, then take a look in the /GARMIN/APPS folder on your Fenix 3 device (you can do this by simply browsing through the drive that mounts on your computer when you plug it in via USB.

      Next, reinstall the Big Wave Dave app and find the new App file that has been created in the /GARMIN/APPS folder. It should be around 8Kb in size and is named with a random sequence of numbers and letters. Mine is 418EC811.PRG.

      Armed with this knowledge I then create a blank .txt file in the /GARMIN/APPS/LOGS folder on my Fenix 3 and give it the same name but with the .TXT suffix. e.g. 418EC811.TXT
      All of the data from the Big Wave Dave app will now be written to this file which you can browse at your leisure

      The data in it will look something like this

      1 15:26 18 24.8 91.2
      2 15:42 14 22.8 71.2
      3 15:49 21 24.2 111.2

      each line is a separate wave with the data arranged as follows;
      Wave Number, Time of Day, Wave Ride Time (sec), Wave Ride Max Speed(kph), Wave Ride Distance(m)

      Kind of interesting but it is a little crude. Mind you it wouldn’t take much programming to make something useful from the data, and it would be nicer if it could be presented in a better, graphical format but I don’t know of anyone who has done this yet.


      • Avatar forComment Author Magnus says:

        Ive hade some wave sup sessions (when the ice has finally left here) and tried the function and seems to work, but as you say a bit awkward. As software developer myself i understand it would be very easy to improve the format 🙂

        Another thing I noticed, it seems like I dont get as many big spikes, like 200kph max speeds.
        Do you know if they have improved the filtering of unrealistic data?
        Seems so…

  3. Avatar forComment Author Simon Raath says:

    Hi I just purchased the Garmin Fenix3 HR and can’t seem to find the surf tracker app to start it before i go surfing, very confused as it show its on my watch but where? How does it work?

    • Avatar forComment Author Alan Cole says:

      Once you have the Surf Tracker App on the watch it’s actually a data screen. So, you need to create a new Sports profile – I called mine ‘Surf’. Once you’ve done that, edit the data screens for that sports profile and make the first data screen layout into the layout with a single data field. You then need to select the Surf Tracker Data field to be displayed here.

      Hope that makes sense.

  1. Saturday, January 23rd, 2021

    […] kayaking, surf-skiing or paddle-boarding. I also use it whilst windsurfing and surfing. It even counts the waves that I catch and tells me how long they were! I’ll have it connected to my heart rate strap for […]

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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