Paddling Simulator?

-- Last Updated: Jun-25-07 1:33 PM EST --

Have any of you invented your own or converted old equipment into a paddling simulator?
I was reading an archived post from Grimloc, about a nordic track converted.
I would like to hear more about that concept if anyone has tried it.

With an extremely limited budget, there must be some way of making your own paddling simulator? Any ideas?

Smiles, Heather

its called the river near my house.

didnt cost me a dime and its ready whenever I am.

to me all the fun in paddling… is GETTING OUT AND PADDLING lol.

on a more serious note… a pool? or look into whatever competitive paddlers use to train. Im sure there is some sort of rowing machine… but good luck finding something cheap

ain’t nothing like the real thing.

Been laughed at for this one
here before, but it works. I have a three sectioned paddle. I ust remove the blades and replace them with a couple of cheap brooms I bought at the dollar store stuck into pieces of PVC pipe. Then I sit on the floor in front of the TV and paddle away. The brooms provide resistance as you sweep across the floor and you can vary that by how hard you press down. Since we have carpet in the family room I just put down one of those plastic floor covers that you use under an office chair. To make it more realistic you can have someone throw a glass of water at you every now and then :wink:

Just go paddle… Why would you want to sit in front of a TV and “pretend” paddle?

Cheapest one that I know…
…is what my wife does.

When the local lake is frozen over and I am on the bike wind trainer, she uses two one pound weights, sits on the floor and simulates the paddleing motion, while I laugh.

She started it after rotator cuff surgery, and has never given it up.

Since we paddle both canoes and kayaks, she alternates each day how she holds the weights.



Ain’t cheap…
Jackson Kayak sells “The Paddle Station” which uses your ww boat and resistance cords to provide a full paddlers’ workout - pretty amazing to watch Jessie Stone go through a guided workout on the video.

Also, EXTREMELY hard to find is the StairMaster Xrobic 2650 paddle machine. This is a gym quality machine which simulates the paddle motion with weights and motorized resistance. I have one and it took me almost 2 years of asking at every used exercise equipment store and gym that I went to until I finally found one.

There’s a couple of good suggestions here… I think the broom paddle idea is pretty cool!

There is just no way I can afford to buy one of the expensive simulators. And with the upcoming winter, I need to find a way to keep paddling in one way or another.

I am still convinced that the nordic track can be converted into a pretty good simulator… I guess I just need to buy an old used one and tear it apart and work on using the resistance wheels as the major components to make this work. Grimloc converted his nordic track and really thought it worked great, but he has not dug up his old photo’s for me yet. What one man can do, another can do… right? Hmmm… I’ll figure it out eventually.

If I do manage to come up with something that works, I’ll post it here.

Thankyou for your responses.

Happy Paddling… sweeping… or whatever it is you find that works for you. :slight_smile:


Could you post a photo of this Stairmaster thing? I googled but couldn’t find any references and now I’m curious.

Some time ago I build a simulator using a stretch tube and swissball. Not sure I’ll recommend it though.

Now I have unlimited access to real kayak ergometers and I wouldn’t dream of using them before winter and darkness strikes.


Nordic track paddling simulator

i wish to continue to use my cheap machine for full body exercise and so have embarked on a series of small steps:

1/ the first is to just use the machine as is. it gives good torso exercise as well as semi pertinent paddle pulling exercise. and comes with ower body workout, of course, as well.

2/ in order to get the line of the pulling exercise more like that of paddling, i have drilled a new pair of opposing holes in the upper arm yoke so that the arm can also go horizontal as well as inclined upward at 45 degrees. Now can simulate the skiing and if desired can exercise pulling muscles more in line with that of paddling. Switching back and forth takes 2 secs.

3/in order to simulate the push/pull of a paddle stroke, i intend (not done yet) to make an additional yoke that I mount halfway down the vertical shaft about inline with my knees. i will then replace the bolt that attaches the upper arm to the upper yoke with a slip cottered pin of the same diameter. i will then be able to quickly change the arm back and forth between the original upper yoke and the new lower yoke. The new lower yoke will hold the arm horizontally as well so that the primary pull action is toward my knees (or thereabout as the yoke can be fine tuned. i will then buy/make a paddle loom that is about mid blade to mid blade length, cut a small slot in each end, tie a long loop in the end of each line, insert the loop thru the slot and back over the shaft. to length adjust, i will just put a turn or 3 more around the shaft. i will then have a paddle/ski simulator (there’s no such thing) that will exercise the push pull of a paddle stroke as well as allowing good lower body exercise as well.

4/ and if really ever wanted, i could always put a little stool at the back of the machine with the arm in the low position and have an all out paddle simulator

that setup will allow quick interchange and increases the utility of the machine while still retaining its original purpose.

mick allen

nordictrak simulator cont’d
these are further steps that i probably won’t do, but are interesting to contemplate anyway: (continuing from #4 previous) - probably more whim than sim:

5/ buy/get another friction wheel and sling it from the door/wall/trackframe behind at lower friction and use in conjunction of the skier or horizontal pull setup. Could also be set up for the pseudo-paddle.

6/ actually buy an whole extra machine and mount all the new hardware backwards in one frame. that way get push/pull on both arms and legs and all is independently adjustable. this would be quite humorous to attempt. Some folding issues, but maybe raise one hingept to allow stacking.

anyway, ideas.

mick allen

A couple of men in Oriental, NC built one a couple of years ago that you could sit in with your paddle and actually canter back and forth to simulate the rolling motion of the water.

Don’t know what ever happened to it because it disappeared about the time he had fatal marital problems. Will check with to see where is now.

Any day on the water is a great day,


I invented a simulator (not an excersize machine) several years ago I called the DRY-YAK. It was good for practicing pretty much any move, except a roll. You can see it at , click on “products”. Sold a few, but I think it was ahead of it’s time!


nordic/other kayak simulator
maybe another real simple kayak simulator that would put the ctr of rotation up about where it would ordinarily be would be to simple suspend the yak from its endloops to the clg:

  • then suspend ones’ pseudo paddle from the clg w/ a stiff bungee from ea end and attach it to a nordic track friction wheel (OR 2 bungees to the front wall sp that it is at rest say just below hip level - to simulate the water surface.

    1/ the exercise simulator game would be to see how big an angle you can keep the yak from the vertical

    2/ the yak simulator would be to use brace recovery strokes on ea side using the vertical bungees at ea psuedo loom end. put in a successive resistance so that real deep braces will work.

    3/could vary (make) the ht of a rigid bow/stern loop attach to simulate real tippy yak - all the way to stable as you wish. (hi = stable, low = to unmanageable!)

    wouldn’t quite work for a roll but sameside or deep bracing possibly would work.

    cheap, just need a few bungees and room with a clg to bolt to. and maybe a nordictrak.

    ideas, anyway. good use for the old yak and the old barn. quick setup and/or store in the corner.

    mick allen

stability simulator for above
Over lunch, it just occurred to me that a semi ok stability simulator could be made for any basic yak profile - and would be combined with the previous simulator approach

-Say your typ yak displaced about 4in and using the yak profile at the 40% and 80% points, you get a waterline width of about 16 in (obviously varies by yak). Say the submerged arc length is 18 in or so.

  • make some sort of belt that consists of a whole bunch of needle/roller type bearings where each is fixed across the belt - say like a very wide bicycle chain or flex conveyor belt - maybe even a looped conveyor belt with just 2 rollers each end of the loop. Or a bike chain with very wide sideplates. Lots of choice.

  • then support the bearing belt or the conveyor belt at 16in separation – this could be played around with by using tension in the belts and wide spacing for safety – maybe both but have some flex in the 16in (or whatever) separators.

  • make 2 of them and put at the 40/80 % yak points and get in.

  • use the loom simulator as before and you’ll get support similar to the profile of yr yak.

  • the extension of this is to make a ‘ladder’ framewk like the gunwales of an sof , plunk a seat in the middle and cut out ANY pr of yak profiles you desire outa some ¾ in plywood – cut a slot in the middle the dimensions of the ladder. Thread them on the ladder to the 40/80 marks (choose whatever average you like) and start playing around

  • cut new profiles and play around with wide stable shapes and the skinniest little shapes you want.

    0h, yeah, put a few cushions down or raise up enough to use a seatbelt.

    Ideas, anyway.

    mick allen

here’s a couple …

– Last Updated: Jul-04-07 8:42 AM EST –

If you live up north you can't always paddle year round. Frozen rivers don't do you much good for paddling. Paddling simulators can help you maintain a little of your fitness.

I’m sorry, I found this w/ a websearch…

– Last Updated: Jul-04-07 9:39 AM EST –

.. for a "Paddling Stimulator".

My error.

-- B. Clinton, Ret. Exec. Chief, USA.

expensive simulators
(presume you didn’t mean to thread reply to the stability post - as neither of these are stability simulators) anyway:

they both look like good paddling simulators tho, but at $1000 bucks or so for either - are very expensive !! However the friction wheel of the ‘paddleone’ is semi similar to the nordictrak friction wheel (almost identical to the ski wheel friction approach) and could be set up in a similar fashion, however it (paddleone) looks like a lot of bucks for a little bit of machine - if paying the big bucks, i’d go with the stalwart concept and adapt.

(i think nordic track is mentioned as a basis as one can pick them up in 2nd hand good shape for only $100 plus/minus and just might give an acceptable result)

and as far as a stimulator is concerned, the topic seems to suffice!

mick allen

I was picturing an arcade like game !
where you paddle swirly hydraulics, gnarly drops and rapids interspersed with soft mellow fishing holes with wild life to photo while hooking up to big fish! All while sitting at a hands on work out station so you’re really working out paddling while dealing with “fish on” events. Now that’s my brave new world, (For stormy days and freezeout winters of coarse). I went down a sun baked, fish catching, and very windy five hour river run yesterday.

back to the back - on the nordic track.
(cut)6/ actually buy an whole extra machine and mount all the new hardware backwards in one frame. that way get push/pull on both arms and legs and all is independently adjustable. this would be quite humorous to attempt. Some folding issues, but maybe raise one hingept to allow stacking.(cut)

so i actually did this. I kept my eye out for another nordic track and managed to pick up an even better model ( the pro model - just a tiny diff) for only $25 compared to my original one at $75.

took off the back of the better one and redrilled to accept the front arm assembly of the lesser. put 2 casters on the added piece . reset the front arm to more horizontal (some holes) and connected the arm ropes to gether to form a continuous loop with 4’ of 1" dowel from one to the other to simulate the paddle. adjusted the rear friction rear so there is just a hint of push on the upper hand.

unfortunately - a qualified ‘so so’. a little too much flex in the whole ass’y so that a little too much jerkiness is present.

i’ll keep it as is, as the basics still work identically as before - and maybe fool around with it a bit to get it a bit better.

But basically flex will still be an issue no matter what.