The seat is fixed in place, and instead of a small handle you have a paddle shaft. A clever arrangement of ropes and pulleys gives you the same motion and feel as paddling in a kayak (albeit a very, very stable kayak - see later).
The first location - over the office at the end of the shop - was far from ideal as it was baking hot before you even picked up the paddle! It is currently located on the main floor of Deep Cove Outdoors at the cooler end of the shop. We have added a 4’ x 6’ mirror on the wall which helps for technique awareness.
So why was I interested in using the Speedstroke? Three reasons:
1. I want to improve my stroke. I want an efficient and consistent stroke that gives me more power out of each stroke than I’m currently getting. I want a stroke that, combined with the appropriate level of fitness, will see me through a strong Round Bowen race in June. I started working on my stroke last season while I was guiding and playing in a variety of boats (Sirocco, Gulfstream, surf skis, Nomad, Looksha Elite, Epic 18x - I like variety!) and it seemed to get better. It certainly felt like I got better but it’s a difficult thing to judge. I’ve read the books, I’ve watched the DVD’s, I’ve talked to Bob, and I now have a better understanding of stroke mechanics. Using the machine in front of the mirror allows me to see if I’m applying the technique correctly.
2. I’m always up for a good workout! I really enjoy my sessions on the rowing machine at the gym and thought if this could give me as good a workout and throw in a bit of stroke improvement at the same time then I’d be on a winner.
3. I’m starting my prep for a couple of races this year: Tour de Indian Arm (May), Round Bowen (June), and some of the Tuesday Night Races in The Cove. The Speedstroke allows me to do some paddling-specific training whatever the weather’s doing.
So has it worked? Has my stroke improved?
Absolutely. I can see that now. Technically it’s definitely improved; I’m getting more rotation, my power output is staying constant throughout each session. I’m now working less on the style and more on the power.
It’s an awesome workout! At the moment I’ll do one long session of an hour, and a shorter session of thirty minutes with more resistance. I’m starting to do some interval sessions, and I’m aiming for a two-hour session soon. The real-time information allows me to monitor my power output of each stroke. If the output drops I bring it back up. Consistency.
How does it compare to being in a boat?
I went for a paddle after I’d been using the machine for a couple of weeks and I can’t deny I got a bit of a shock. As I dropped back in the seat and pushed away from the beach I almost tipped the boat. I’d forgotten how tippy a kayak can be! It only took a few minutes though and I was away, and feeling the new improved stroke. A couple of weeks after that I took the Epic 18x up to Granite Falls and recorded my best time so far, so it seems to be having a positive effect.
If you want to improve your stroke or just want a different workout that will directly benefit your paddling, I definitely recommend having a go on this machine. We’re currently talking with Burnaby Canoe and Kayak Club as they’re interested in running stroke improvement sessions at DCO. They came in to see the Speedstroke and they’re very excited about the possibilities that it provides.
To encourage other people to give the Speedstroke a go we’re offering a few enticements:
A new rental structure.
Now you can get a ½ hour session for $7 (inc. tax). A one hour session costs $12 (inc. tax). Call the shop, see if the machine is available, come over and train.
More flexible hours
Can’t get here before our closing time of 6:00 pm to train? Too shy to sweat in front of the shoppers or our staff? We’ll be open until 8:30 pm for Speedstroke training. No shoppers, just paddlers. You have to pre-book and pre-pay for these sessions. If you ask nicely we may even open early in the morning.
Stroke Improvement Clinic
Spend an hour on the Speedstroke being coached by Bob Putnam. He’ll give you all the instruction, feedback, and tools you need to improve. Whether you want to improve your racing or your touring, this clinic will definitely yield results!
Information and feedback
We’ve linked the Speedstroke to a computer to provide realtime information:
- Stroke number
- Stroke rate
- Stroke length
- Heart rate (only with a compatible HRM)
- Avg Watts
- Graphic Power curves
Motivation on tap
Somebody has to be there to open/close the building. That same person (i.e me) will be available for you to call on during your session. I will happily supply motivation, helping you to stay at your target pace, monitoring your stroke, power output, speed, calling out your intervals, whatever....it’s up to you. I’ll also make myself scarce and read a book if you’d prefer to be left alone. Just be aware that if you do ask for my input I won’t accept whining about a hard day at work, under the weather...... I’m not a coach and you’re not paying coaching fees, I’m just the best training partner you’ll ever get for free.