I have just started using FitBit. I am not much of a runner but I do kayak a lot. I was just curious whether anyone has experience using it while paddling and whether it clock each paddle stroke as a step.
I just got back from kayaking, while wearing my "One" Fitbit - in three different positions. First I velcroed it to my wrist, and counted 100 paddle strokes. I counted L-R-L-R as 1-2-3-4. The Fitbit reported 82 steps. I repeated it, and got 90 steps. Next I velcroed it to my upper arm, just above my elbow - a bit uncomfortable. I got 150 steps. Next I put it in my shirt breast pocket. I got 27 steps. So the wrist seems to be the most accurate.
Based on the FitBit website, it appears that the device goes to great lengths to solely detect steps, rather than other motion:
Fitbit trackers have a finely tuned algorithm for step counting. The algorithm is designed to look for motion patterns most indicative of people walking. One condition for a motion pattern to be recognized as a step is the motion must be large enough.
They website makes mention of a 3-axis accelerometer used for detection - this tool, in conjunction with the "finely tuned algorithm", make it unlikely that kayaking will register as steps, especially where the kayaking motion is "smaller" than most steps. It appears that this is the case, as vidstige documented in his answer.
If you're looking to have the kayaking register, a normal pedometer, with a 1-axis accelerometer, would likely work better, as it will log most motion rather than calculating whether that motion was a step.
I just got back from a 10k kayak session, but my Fitbit logged is as ~5k. It was in a calm lake with hardly any wind any obviously no water streams. I had the Fitbit on my non-dominant hand as per usual.
I don't know how they log it exactly, but it does not seem to have any explicit kayaking support.
I just went out for a kayak with a fitbit surge on. It said that my 24.6km kayak was only 6.2km. When I uploaded the data it had the route correct but the distance was well off. I don't know how it can be so wrong when the PGS was running (which it was before I started) and it had the route right. FYI I checked the actual distance on Google earth to determine the 24.6km. There was no problem with the GPS signal all day and the batteries were good.
I have been kayaking quite a bit with my Fitbit flex. No it is not accurate as far as actual steps since obviously paddling isn't walking. I don't think there's a way around it unless Fitbit makes an option for it. But, it's still nice to use the activity tracker to see where you went. Also, the question about mileage- What I think is that even though it's tracking the entire route as say 10 miles, it's only tracking the actual distance you paddled and not the part where you are drifting. It's like going on a 10 mile walking trip but floating for half of it. I apologize if my answer is in the wrong place or format. I'm not experienced in this forum and was looking for kayaking/Fitbit tips myself and thought maybe my input would help someone.