I recently completed the instructional video on how to build your own kayak ergometer from a Nordic Track ski machine. The plans and part list for this new, more compact design are available at the link below for $20 as I promised on Jan. 16, 2018:
And here is the final result:
Once you purchase, I’ll send you an email with links to the parts list and instructional video.
I’m the same guy who built and shared the original design online in 2013 and since then I’ve gone through several iterations of the design to get it as short and smooth as possible.
You will find other such DIY ergometers online but many of them are very long and look like they have bed frames attached to the front of the device which causes ropes to rub, require a lot of space, and are not really portable.
Don’t be fooled. Buy the plans from the original designer!
Be sure to allow email from dave (at} cvillepaddlers.com.
Some of you know that back in 2013 I shared a YouTube video that showed my design for a kayak ergometer made from a Nordic Track ski machine. It was the first such design, to my knowledge, that introduced rockers to the ergometer.
It actually combined elements from both my first kayak ergometer “bench” style design along with my balance trainer. All of which I also shared. You can see all three in the video below.
Since then I’ve been refining and redesigning the ergometer.
And also since then people have used my videos to build their own units and now some of these people are actually trying to sell the plans to MY design that I freely shared with the kayaking community.
I feel that’s not right. Maybe not illegal but certainly not right.
Toward the end of last year I built a new design for celebrity fitness trainer Vinnie Tortorich so he could do indoor training in his office in preparation for a 100-mile trip down Bayou LaFourche in Louisiana this Spring. I knew he had limited space in his office so I set out to make the ergometer much shorter in overall length.
I accomplished that mission by moving the flywheel under the paddler’s legs which also had the side benefit of making the feel of the device much smoother while paddling.
My “kayaker’s selfie” with Vinnie Tortorich upon delivery of his ergometer
Later I heard from Vinnie that he started to have some troubles with the forward rollers. Vinnie is a legendary ultra athlete and generally an animal when it comes to training so I knew he would put wear and tear on the unit like it has never seen before.
So after mulling that over in my brain for a while, I went back into my garage over the weekend with a new design for the forward rollers in mind, and built two more kayak ergometers with subtle variations in the design between the two to see which is better and/or easier to build. These happened to be the 5th and 6th units I’ve ever built. (Well, honestly, I probably built and rebuilt the first two at least 10 times each until I was happy with them!) I’ve only made a few of these for close paddling friends.
These two new units have square legs so mere mortals can paddle them, but this design allows rockers to be easily attached and detached as desired.
The result of my weekend in the garage. 1 unit complete and the other one 90% complete
I spent hours in the garage not only building the two units but also recording video of each build so I can edit and produce a “how to” video and then make it available for sale since so many people have reached out to me over the years to inquire about either purchasing a unit or buying the instructions from me.
I’ve greatly simplified the design and now use only hardware and parts that are stock and can be bought off-the-shelf at most hardware stores. The build is much, much simpler than the first few so I feel now the design is at a point where I can effectively communicate how to build your own and you can build one from those instructions rather easily.
It is also the first design I feel is so unique and innovative in the way its built that I’m not so willing to freely share it because there is a little “secret sauce” that I’ve learned through years of trial and error.
Now for the hard part.
With hours and hours of video you can imagine it will take me a few weeks to edit, possibly re-shoot steps that weren’t clear, and then produce a final video.
When the “How to build it” video is ready I will sell it for $20 since that is the price most people have told me is reasonable and that they’d expect to pay. I believe that is a fair price based on the number of hours I’ve spent building and refining the design to make it as compact as possible, easy to build, and fun to paddle.
I’m also accepting donations and to anyone who donates at least $5 before Feb. 1, 2018, I will make the video available to them as soon as it is ready. After that initial group the price will go up to $20.
Let me know what you think and please let me know if you would like to buy one of these units (Central mid-Atlantic of the U.S. only.)
PS – The second one is now complete (1-24-18) and it will be THE design since it is easier to build and by far the best design I’ve ever devised.
Update March 2, 2018:
The “How to build” video is now ready for purchase!
I’ve completed my new, more compact design for the kayak ergometer. I call this model “The Tortorich Model” because this one was specifically built for Vinnie Tortorich to train on.
This design is some 15 inches shorter than the original and the flywheel is now brought much further back on the device so it resides under the knees of the paddler. This makes it much smoother and better balanced.
In researching what it would take to ship one of these things I have decided that shipping these is simply cost prohibitive.
So now that I’ve engineered this better design, I will build another one very soon and take detailed measurements, photos, and step-by-step videos along with a part list so you will have the basic specifications needed to build your own. I’ll then make the training video and e-book instructions available for a nominal fee.
In the meantime, here are some photos that should give you a pretty good look at how to build one for yourself.
Now that it is the off-season for kayaking, this evening I started building the next kayak ergometer from a NordicTrack ski machine.
I’m going for a further refinement of the last design and placing the flywheel more toward the center of the device, underneath the bend in the knees of the paddler. This will allow me to shorten the overall length of the machine while also creating a device with better balance characteristics while also allowing for a smoother feel.
When complete, I will disassemble it and create step-by-step plans and a “build your own” video for all of you who have been asking since the original design.
This model will be know as The Tortorich.
The weather in Central Virginia was very hot today and I was pressed for time to squeeze in a workout so I decided to head to the basement do some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) on the kayak ergometer that I built from an old Nordic Track ski machine. It was a great way to get my cardio in for the day while watching the Olympic K1 kayak races on TV.
I’ve been able to collect 3 or 4 more Nordic Track ski machines over the past months and will soon be building my next kayak ergometer. (If you’ve got an old ski machine that you’d like to donate for the cause, please contact me.)
I’ve been thinking about a new design that will place the flywheel toward the middle of the device under my knees and this will help make the device both shorter, thus more portable, and assist in balance since the flywheel placement will act more like a gyro.
When I say thinking about a redesign, I mean just that.
I’m not an engineer and do not work through any aspect of the design on paper first. Rather, I just think about what will go where and visualize it in my head until I’ve mentally gotten most of the details worked out. Then I start building and modify the design as needed.
My plan is to video record the building of the next ergometer and then share the step-by-step instructions so others may build their own. Since I posted my first design on YouTube, I’ve been contacted by many people around the world asking for instructions on how to build their own.
The challenge is I have no written instructions and just about every old Nordic Track ski machine I start with is slightly different so I start with slightly different parts each time.
If you are interested in a step-by-step video or would like to purchase an ergometer from me then please contact me. I build these things one at a time in my spare time so there is no production schedule or inventory, but having a buyer certainly helps motivate me to build the next one.