This New Rowing Boat Actually Has Rowers Facing Forward

Rowing is an excellent form of exercise and an efficient way to move across the water, but it often involves facing backward. The RowVista system, created by Austrian company Row&Sail, changes this by allowing rowers to face the direction they’re heading.

This innovative system can be easily mounted on existing rowing, sculling boats, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, or canoes. It’s also available as part of a ROWonAIR package, which includes a system-specific inflatable paddleboard.

With RowVista, users sit on a seat that moves along an aluminum roller rail equipped with front foot supports. The system features a yoke-like carbon fiber outrigger beam attached to the rail, extending out on both sides of the watercraft.

At the ends of this beam, there’s a mechanism that connects to a two-piece carbon fiber oar. When users pull back on the oar handles, the oars move through the water from the front to the rear, propelling the watercraft. Pushing the handles forward takes the oars out of the water and prepares them for the next power stroke.

What sets RowVista apart from other forward rowing systems is its ability to adjust the feathering (the angle of the oar blade) by twisting the handles. This adjustment is made easier by the system’s linkage, which amplifies the twisting action. With a 65-degree twist of the wrist, the oar blade twists by 85 degrees, reducing wrist fatigue compared to regular oars.

One of the most attractive features of RowVista is its ease of assembly. It can reportedly be set up on an existing watercraft in just two minutes, without requiring any tools. The starting price for a complete RowVista kit is €3,876 (about US$4,096).

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