Standing on a Bosu ball, in SUP mode the trainer really works stability muscles and core rotation. It is a great tool to have for those situations you can't get out on the water. Additionally, my wife uses it in her rehab from an accident. She had major injuries to her tailbone, several vertebrae, pelvis, and nerve damage. The Vasa Erg provides the ability to strengthen her core to not just recover, but to regain a lot of the strength and flexibility she had prior to the accident. Using the handles and leg straps there are several great movements she just couldn't get with our home free weight setup.
Great quality and great service... what are you waiting for?
Great for coaches when teaching because the athlete is right there, head above water not down the pool or river. This allows for instant feedback and with some simple verbal cues, allows the athlete to make the necessary stroke corrections to improve efficiency. If time and conditions permit, try ten to fifteen minutes on the Vasa Erg for technique work, then into the water later in the day for swim or paddle. Great way to see if what you are working on while on the Vasa Erg, translates into more efficiency (Faster) in the water.
I imported the Vasa on the strength of the reviews and have not been disappointed at all. The feel is great, very realistic unlike one other I tried, this is something that should not be compromised on. I have found it great for building my core strength and working on my rotation.
The hardest thing about using a ergo is the boredom -trying to use it for 10 mins looking at yourself in a mirror is mind numbing but setting up a TV and watching episodes of the TV series "24" training for 40 mins is not a problem. There have been no mechanical issues so far but I would suggest buying the K1 seat option.
Living in the northeast can limit the time out on the water, but with the Vasa I'm able to maintain my training and prepare for early season races. I would say the Vasa is one of the most important training tools I own.
Then I discovered kayaking, so I got the kayak attachment to the Vasa ergometer. The machine is equally fantastic for kayak training. It feels very much like actual kayaking and there a bunch of different resistance settings to simulate paddling into the wind or current. I do not own my own kayak, but by training on the Vasa I am still in shape to go on day long organized kayak trips with an outfitter.
My Vasa Erg, that I've had for about 3 years, has been an exciting addition to my collection. It provides me with an incredible workout with a real feel of being on the water, except that there aren't any waves. I set my distance between 1,000 and 5,000 meters and compete with myself for time.
If you are interested in getting into the best physical shape of your life, this is the tool to get you there. Additionally, there are literally dozens of other exercises to condition every muscle in your body. The isokinetic resistance is appropriate for any fitness level.
In addition to using it for my own fitness program, I regularly rehabilitate my patients on this device and have recommended many of them to purchase one for home.
If you're looking for a real sport specific substitute for being on the water, this is it. I love mine.
I live only 5km from the river but taking into consideration the time needed to take my kayak out of the shed, tie it on, untie it and repeat it after a paddle, I save myself about 40 minutes each night by jumping on the VASA in the basement. I also found the swim option last winter gave me a good workout of different muscle groups... and the chance to compare best times on the internet over different distances is addictive!
In addition to the kayak mode, one can replicate canoe paddling (especially good if you buy a wall mount, which allows you to switch sides without worrying about a central support shaft getting in the way. The computer monitor is excellent, and calibrated to monitor kayak specific distances and speeds. The point that distinguishes the VASA unit from other top-level units is its versatility. The unit can also be used for swim training, and with the right options (ask the company about this when ordering) it can be used for cross-country ski double-pole training as well. Finally, Rob and Karen at VASA are fantastic- they really care about the needs of athletes, and want to do everything they can that helps the unit meet those needs.
In sum, the VASA trainer has a great water-like feel, it's very well made, and it's extremely versatile. It really is a great investment.
The ergometer, I am pleased to report, still works, feels and sounds exactly the same as on the first day. There is no noticeable wear and tear whatsoever. It's been inside my garage for all this time with no maintenance whatsoever. Dust, etc., seems to have no ill effects on the machine. Best of all, the Vasa ergometer has allowed me to train consistently year around and gradually increase my paddling range to the point where I am able to paddle about 20 miles - in a Scupper Pro sit-on-top kayak, that is, not a fast sea kayak.
Last summer I finally fulfilled my dream of paddling/sailing to and circumnavigating Catalina Island, which involves a 22-mile open water crossing. Since then, I have gone two more times, each time paddling longer distances. (see http://www.topkayaker.net/Articles/Destinations/CatalinaIsle.html)
I feel that without the Vasa kayak ergometer the crossings to Catalina Island may never have happened or would at least be much harder or less predictable in outcome. I don't even train more than once or twice a week, but I ALWAYS paddle at least once a week, rain or shine, sick or healthy. And when I do train, I can set the resistance of the machine to match the conditions (e.g., head winds) I will encounter in the open ocean.
All around, I feel that the Vasa kayak ergometer was one of the best investments I've ever made. As the saying goes, "You get what you pay for."
This machine really gives a good workout and I never feel it lacking in any way. I always feel I am better conditioned than my usual competition in the early spring races. I would highly recommend the Vasa to anyone looking to maintain kayaking fitness or just wanting a good winter workout. The folks at Vasa are great to work with and sent me a better suited seat in the beginning when I felt the usual seat did not work for me.
When I first set it up and began paddling, I closed my eyes and it felt about as close to the resistance and feel of real paddling, minus the water splash sounds and the instability of a boat. I opened my eyes to view the electronic display, which really is a great power meter, and I got excited. Talk about motivational. Pretty soon, I was doing full on paddling workouts in my home, any time I wanted and in any kind of weather. Thanks to this incredible training tool, this spring paddling on the water I am stronger, faster and smoother than ever - all because I did not miss a single paddling workout from October until May.
Oh, and another thing - I got a chance to paddle on another kayak paddling machine - I think it was called stroke speed or something like that. I have to say it was good, but it does not come close to being as good my Vasa Kayak machine. Plus, I use mine to do a circuit of 10 exercises to strengthen my upper body and prevent shoulder injury, which gives more value to the device. The company offers a swimming option, so we are thinking of getting that for the kids, who just joined swim team.
If anyone out there is looking for a great training machine, I highly recommend the Vasa Kayak Ergometer.
As the previous reviewer said, the stroke is surprisingly similar to the real thing, and with multiple settings, from very light resistance to a lot of resistance, I can simulate paddling in different types of conditions. The standard padded seat is very comfortable, and a new non-padded, but contoured seat is now available.
The whole unit is extremely sturdy, can easily be moved around on wheels below the main unit, and can also be used for swimming exercises (that's what the Vasa trainer was originally designed for), as well as for general strength and endurance exercises. Great versatility not shared by other kayak ergometers.
Perhaps best of all is the company itself. I met the owner, Rob Sleamaker, at a San Diego Swim Coach Convention, and I must say he's the nicest, most sincere person I have ever met in a business context. He listened very carefully to my specific training requirements and needs, and repeatedly assured me that I can return the machine within 90 days if I don't like it for any reason. The same goes for his front office - super nice, responsive, very good to deal with. No sales pitches, pressure, etc. Just straightforward information.
Whenever the paddling bug bites me midweek, I just jump on my machine now and go for a quick "paddle" in the garage - very therapeutic in more than one way.
In short: I can strongly recommend the Vasa Ergometer. It's not cheap, but it's worth every penny.
The best part is I can easily switch from kayak paddling, to canoe paddling and even to swimming mode. Since I surf, paddle board, kayak and race outriggers & dragon boats, the versatility of the Vasa makes it 4 machines for the price of one. I love the range of resistance options to feel like fast water, suck water, or tough current. Plus, the display shows your watts and it can show you force for each side, right and left, which is so useful to me since I hurt my left shoulder and am still weak there.
Check it out: vasatrainer.com