Kayak exercise machines


I am looking for info. on kayak exercise machines. I am intrigued by Vasa Kayak Ergometer, but it’s way to expensive to buy. I’d love too try it though.

I was wondering if anyone here had used one and would like feedback on how they liked it. Did it help your technique, get you in shape?

Do any gyms have equipment like this, specifically for paddling?

Thanks in advance for your replies!

SpeedStroke erg
I have the KayakPro SpeedStroke that is slightly more expensive than the Vasa ($2500). The least expensive erg that I’m aware of is the Paddle One, that sells for about $1,300. The better ergs are expensive, but they should last you for many years. As to price, think of these as a kayak that is used indoors.

You might be able to find one used. I have never seen a kayak erg in a gym, although any gym will have a rowing machine. While not kayaking-specific, a rowing machine does offer the benefit of cross-training, and developing different muscle groups.

If you search the web you can also find ideas on DIY ergs, especially from old converted NordicTrack units.

I have used only the SpeedStroke and Dansprint ergs. Both of them have a very realistic feel and you can definitely use them to improve technique, although there are some things, such as the actual catch, and balance, that can only be improved by time on the water (some people have added an unstable seat to their erg to help develop balance).

Although I live in Florida and can paddle year-round, I find an erg great for training and coaching. In the same time it takes me to drive to the water and back, I could have a long session on the erg. I use an erg more for short, high-intensity sessions as spending a long time on an erg gets very boring. To help avoid this, SpeedStroke allows you to hookup your erg to a laptop/big screen, collect stroke data or race against generated paddlers and with different scenery options, but for long paddles I would much rather be outside.

For coaching it’s a plus to work with someone on an erg because you can stand right next to them, see what the torso and especially the feet/legs are doing, and offer hands-on coaching.

Greg Stamer

FYI, in the interests of full disclosure I am NOT sponsored by any erg manufacturers

Thanks for much for your most helpful reply!

Vasa lists a number of locations where you can try one on their website. They also offer a 90-day return period if you are not happy with it.

re: Kayak exercise machines
I think it all depends what you want to do and what you want to get out of it.

If you are a competitive kayaker and are truly fine tuning your stroke, technique, and endurance, then these machines are great for that during those times when you simply cannot get on the water. I built my own and absolutely love it during the winter months. It is a great way to stay in the routine, practice balance, and get a cardio workout at the same time.

If you simply want to build strength as a recreational kayaker, then there are any number of exercises that are probably more effective than a full blown kayak ergometer. A kettelbell and some dumbbells would be a much cheaper way to go.

Again, it depends on your goal.

Hey, I just spotted this one

kayak paddling
I had a landscape company in the last part of my career. I used to move a lot dirt around, grading with a large rake, and raking bark. I was paddling a lot then and used to imitate my paddle strokes. It really helped the lat development and shoulder muscles. I rarely ever get sore from even long difficult trips. Save yourself lots of money and do some yard work. In the winter you can do the same thing with snow.

kayak erg from old nordic track
Full manual on how to convert a used nordic track ski machine to a fully functional kayak erg

The erg works great and is just as fluid and water like as any commercial unit.


And a sleeker, compact design is coming soon.

Missouri’s design works great! I did modify it with some small Harken sailing blocks (pulleys) to smooth the action and reduce wear on the lines. It turns a clothes rack, whoops, I mean Nordic Track, into something useful. I gave mine to a friend as I’ve been using the backyard gym this winter (huge wood pile to move, split, stack)

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