Gear Review: The New Speed Coach SUP2

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Speed Coach SUP2

By Steve Dullack

I jumped on board the Speed Coach train when they first introduced the Speed Coach SUP last year. NK is an established American company with the rowing version of the Speed Coach being the standard in coxswain’s seats for decades now. The first generation Speed Coach SUP was great and NK solicited a lot of feedback for the new version. Here is where is gets really crazy…they actually listened. The bottom line is NK hit a homerun with the new version.

Here are the features of the Speed Coach SUP 2:

Speed Coach SUP2 Features Review

There are two MAJOR improvements/features of the SUP 2 from the first generation Speed Coach SUP that make it a must-buy for me.

1. The SUP 2 is programmable. Distance workouts, timed workouts, simple interval workouts and complex multi-variable workouts can all be programmed and it is very easy once you get a hang of how the buttons work. I have been getting my workouts from Mick DeBetta at Paddle Power Trainer (more on that in a future article) and the program he has me on is a LOT of intervals. It is great to program my SUP2 and not have to do any mental math while my brain is oxygen depleted and I am puking all over my board in the 5th of 6 intervals. Here was my workout yesterday and I was able to program the entire practice into my new SUP2 in about 3 minutes:

  • 3min max effort/30seconds rest
  • 2 min max effort/30 seconds rest
  • 1 min max effort/30 seconds rest
  • 3 min at 70% max effort/2 min rest
  • Repeat 6 times

That is a pretty complex routine to keep track of and a crusher of a workout. My speed coach did it all, my role was just to paddle and puke. But wait…it gets better….

2. The SUP 2 will transfer your workout data wirelessly to your PC. Super athlete nerds REJOICE!!! Seriously, this is pretty great and I have never been a big fan of downloading workout data. NK does this with their Link software downloadable from their website and a little USB dongle about the size of a nickel. You can export the data to Excel and make graphs, charts, and tables to your heart’s content.

Speed Coach SUP2 data example

NK also modified the attachment bracket too so it is much more likely to stay on your board through surf and heavy chop. It utilizes a standard Go-Pro mount. It comes with all the new Speed Coaches and can fit any of the first generation ones too. NK needs to change the base mount that comes with it though, it is curved wrong. A flat base from a Go-Pro grab bag worked best for me.

Speed Coach SUP2 Review base

There are some drawbacks on this little gem however, and the biggest is price. It is not cheap. However, I do think you are getting what you pay for. The full package for the SUP2 with the training software and the HR monitor is consistent with other top of the line downloadable GPS/HRMs. In fact it is the exact same price as the Garmin 910XT and SUP2 gives you SUP specific metrics (stroke rate, distance per stroke, etc) and the readouts from a standing position are much much better. The other drawback, although minor, is it takes several minutes to download the workouts. I have a feeling this is operator error and as I learn to use and delete old workouts it will download faster.

So in summary, I am super super happy with my SUP2.

It makes my workouts easier to plan, easier to execute, and easier to analyze. My next article will discuss how I use all this fantastic data to fine tune and analyze my workouts. Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Nielsen-Kellerman, I just like their stuff and their products are all sourced and made in the USA. I paid full price for my SUP2 at the Carolina Cup.

SpeedCoach SUP 2 Features:

Programmable Workouts (Training Pack Only)- Program your workout right on the unit based on time or distance. Workouts are easy to set up, save and run. Unit comes pre-programmed with 5 editable workouts.

Compatible with LiNK – NK’s Connected Environment of Apps, Web Analytics and Sensors (Training Pack Only) – Expand the performance improving capabilities of the SpeedCoach SUP platform. LiNK includes Bluetooth® Smart wireless connectivity to heart rate belts, sensors, phones, tablets, PCs (dongle required) and Macs (coming soon!) as well as cloud connectivity, web analytics and real-time tracking via third party training apps.

Wireless Data Transfer (Training Pack Only) – Transfer data via LiNK to your PC for review. Export data as a CSV file to Excel for more detailed analysis and charting options. Or export data as a FIT file to enable transfer to most third-party training websites, such as Endomondo, Strava and Training Peaks. Map your paddling course, share your results with friends or coaches via Facebook and Twitter, even challenge your fellow paddlers to a battle to improve on your results.

Heart Rate Belt Compatible (Training Pack Only) – Compatible with any Bluetooth® Smart (Also called Bluetooth 4.0 or BLE) heart rate belt. SUP-specific calorie equation incorporates heart rate feature to provide the most accurate energy expenditure calculation for intense paddlers.

Wirelessly Upgradeable Firmware – Build on the LiNK connected environment when upgrades become available. Note: Bluetooth® Smart Dongle Required

Real-Time Measurements –Speed, Stroke Rate, Glide, Distance Per Stroke, Heart Rate, Calories Burned – Get all the real-time measurements you need to improve you paddling and reach your racing or fitness goals.
SUP-Specific Calories Burned – View Total Calories Burned and Calorie Burn per Hour based on NK’s proprietary SUP-specific calorie equation. Take your training further by tracking energy expenditure in the form of calories. Enter your base metrics of height, weight and age, and the SpeedCoach SUP uses your raw data and a propriety algorithm for calculation of submaximal oxygen consumption (VO2) to determine energy expenditure.
Enhanced ON-Unit Data Recall – Easy-to-view screens with interval summaries and 25 hours of memory.
Wirelessly Updateable Firmware (Dongle Required)

Two Flex Fields – Organize your display with the fields you want to see.

Clock

Auto Backlight

Crisp, High Resolution Graphical Display – View your display night or day without having to adjust your paddling technique. Large digits are bold and easy to read.

Rechargeable Batteries – 5-8 hours of paddling time (based on backlight usage)

SpeedCoach SUP 2

SpeedCoach SUP 2 Includes:

  • Lanyard
  • Adjustable surface mount
  • Floating key fob
  • Charger
  • Carry case
  • Bluetooth® Smart Dongle(Included with Training Pack purchase)

Where to buy

Two local vendors that we know have them:

Carolina Paddleboard Company in Wilmington, NC

Tula Adventure Sport in Virginia Beach, VA

Buy it online at NK

If you are a retailer an carry NK, Speed Coach SUP2, leave your info in the comments.