We've seen cycle trainers that allow you to do an indoor workout with your outdoor bike. We've seen stationary training machines that replicate swimming, rowing, skiing and skating.
Now comes a trainer designed to tuck under and around your kayak or canoe and create a dryland training system that turns your outdoor boat into an indoor gym.
Developed by Jackson Kayak's Eric Jackson and Manhattan Kayak Company's Eric Stiller, the Paddle Station trainer is designed not only for paddlers frustrated by an inability to get in the water for training on a daily or sometimes weekly basis, but also for those just interested in all-around fitness training. The idea, of course, sprang from their own frustration with not getting consistent training.
"Your average kayakers can't kayak all year long, or during the work week normally," Jackson told SNEWSÂ®. "Therefore, they aren't in the kind of condition they want to be in when the do go kayaking, unless they go to the gym or do some kind of home workout."
In addition, Jackson said most dryland trainers are not only bulky and expensive, but also aren't necessarily truly able to simulate all the strokes needed in the water -- and therefore can't really simulate well-balanced, full-body training. He should know the frustrations. He is a three-time and reigning world kayak champion and a former Olympic Games slalom kayaker who at 41 is still racing and winning.
So Jackson and Stiller, who has a company that runs fitness programs using kayaks in Manhattan, got to work, creating a system that used bungees to allow someone to use their own boat -- canoe or any kind of kayak -- to do the full range of strokes from the correct paddling position without slipping and sliding around. In addition, discs included with a package allow someone to incline or decline the boat for additional types of training, and the bungees can be adjusted to increase or decrease resistance.
Since the workout system has the person seated in the boat, it could also be used for anybody who may not have full use of their lower body, either because of a spinal cord injury or other disease, if they are comfortable sitting in a boat.
In first order, the station, ready now for delivery, will be promoted and sold in the outdoor industry to kayakers interested in training when they can't get to the water. But Jackson and Stiller have bigger plans and are already at work to move the stations into health clubs and other facilities that can operate indoor paddle fitness programs by late 2006. An instructional video is already in the works to go with the station that retails for $395. Promotion will include paddling's ability to strengthen arms, back, chest, torso, abs and even legs, all while seated in a boat.
"Step two is to sell to fitness clubs, recreation departments, etc. to reach a new audience that has not experienced kayaking yet," Jackson said. "We intend to develop the kind of program that a club can use our Paddle Station for the workout, and the boats in their pools and for outings. It is a long-term project that will take three years to really see it in action."