Submitted: 02-18-2005 by Dave Kay
I first tried the Kayakpro Speedstroke ergometer at the Canadian Sprint Racing Canoe/Kayak Championships in Wellend, Ontario in August of 2003, and couldn't believe how well it simulates the real thing. I bought one a couple months ago and my only regret is not buying one earlier.
The Speedstroke is not only great for specific strength and fitness training, but also for technique. I have set mine up with a mirror in front of me so I can practice technique and watch what I'm doing to ensure I am paddling technically correct. With no requirement for balance, no worry about wind and waves, it is a perfect tool to practice technique.
In the two months I've had the Speedstroke I've trained on it most days and I am amazed at the quality and workmanship of this machine. I can't see how anything will breakdown in the next 10 years - it really is well made. It is also equipped with a really handy computer that is a great training aid. It can be calibrated for different types of boats so it can be used by everyone. It tracks speed, distance and time, and it is amazing how close the times are to my times on the water, thanks to Grayson's calibration tips which come free with the purchase. The computer is perfect for long paddles or short intervals or even time trials - it's like having a coach in the room with you.
Living in Ottawa, Canada, the season is short (6 months). I believe that paddling year round is going to make a huge difference in my sprint racing results. I can also see how I will use the Speedstroke during the summer for a second short workout after an on-water workout, or on days when it is +2°C and windy in October. I may just say "not worth it, I'm going down stairs".
It is an amazing time-saver. For a one hour workout on the water, it takes me about 3 hours including travel to the canoe club and a shower. On the Speedstroke it takes 1:10 for the same workout.
Finally, the help and advice I've received from Grayson Bourne has made this purchase a great experience. I still E-mail Gray regularly and he is always helpful and a lot of fun to chat with about paddling. It's a lot of fun for a hacker like me to chat with a 5 time Olympian. His advice is priceless.
Do not hesitate to buy this machine. It is the best exercise equipment I've ever seen - for paddlers it's a necessity.