No more shoulder checks – RowVista gets rowers facing forward
Rowing is a great form of exercise, not to mention a highly efficient means of traveling across the water, but … you're facing backwards the whole time. The RowVista system changes that, getting rowers facing in the direction they're headed.
Manufactured by Austrian company Row&Sail, RowVista takes the form of a kit that can be mounted on an existing rowing/sculling boat, stand-up paddleboard, kayak or canoe. It's also offered as part of a ROWonAIR package that includes a system-specific inflatable paddleboard.
The RowVista user plants their butt on a seat that slides along an aluminum roller rail with foot supports at the front. A yoke-like carbon fiber outrigger beam is connected to that rail, passing through it at right angles so that its two ends extend out past either side of the watercraft. Located at each of those ends is a linkage mechanism that works with an integrated two-piece carbon fiber oar.
When the forward-facing user pulls back on the oars' handles, the oars themselves are drawn through the water, moving from the front of the watercraft to the rear. Pushing the handles forward brings the oars out of the water and swings them back forward, ready for another power stroke. A YouTube video provides a detailed look at how the linkage works.
As is the case with traditional oars, the user moves them up and down simply by moving the handles up and down, and adjusts the angle (or "feathering") of their blades by twisting the handles accordingly. Row&Sail founder/CEO Jochum Bierma tells us that this ability to adjust the feathering sets RowVista apart from other forward rowing systems.
What's more, the linkage boosts the twisting action to the extent that a 65-degree twist of the wrist produces an 85-degree twist of the blade. Bierma says this arrangement results in less wrist fatigue than a regular set of oars.
The whole setup can reportedly be assembled on an existing watercraft in just two minutes, without any tools. Pricing for a full kit starts at €3,876 (about US$4,096).
You can see RowVista in use, in the video below.