Customer Reviews for First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR Water Rowing Machine

First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR Water Rowing Machine

The Pacific Challenge AR (Adjustable Resistance) by First Degree Fitness is designed and engineered by professional rowers and craftsman using only the highest degree of quality components – ensuring complete satisfaction in function, performance, and reliability.  With its patented Fluid Technology, First Degree Fitness has incorporated the truest emulation of sensation, sight, and sound of real on-water rowing captured in the private setting of your own home. The Pacific Challenge AR has the capability to allow the rower to control and adjust the resistance from “Feather light” to “Olympic sprint” delivering a silky smooth resistance to the user’s effort and instantaneous response to input with no “flat sport”.  With water resistance being the most accurate manner in which to simulate actual outdoor rowing, the Pacific Challenge AR provides a smooth and consistent sensation throughout the range of motion of the exercise experience.   The Pacific Challenge AR features an advanced computer monitor providing the rower with measurable performance output, an ergonomically designed seat that rides on precision bearings and rollers for absolute smoothness, an upgraded footboard with advanced heel support, and an innovative soft grip handle to eliminate stress on the hands and wrist during the comfortable, but physical workout. Features and Benefits : Improved pulley system greatly increases the resistance, tension, and recoil action.   Applies fluid resistance technology: Water – nature’s perfect resistance.  More resistance than most single resistance level competitors.   Ergonomic handle: Designed to prevent strain on the arms, wrists, and hands.   Built-in transit wheels: Built to be light and easy to move around.  Stores in just 21” x 20”.   Super comfortable seat that rides on precision bearings and rollers for absolute smoothness.   Highest quality anodized aluminum seat rail for smoothness, appearance, strength, and durability.   No dead spots: Our rowers offer instant catch due to our triple-bladed impeller system.  Most other rowers have dead spots which greatly impede on the stroke and flow of a workout.   Simple assembly and virtually maintenance free.   Computer displays: Time, distance, 500m split time, strokes per minute, calories per hour, watts, interval training, and optional heart rate reception.   Durable belt drive: Smooth, clean, quiet (no whirring noises), and built to last.   Solid construction makes this perfect for home gym applications.   Footboard offers a unique heel support system.  Instantly adjusts to foot size.  You can row in trainers, sneakers, socks, or bare feet.   Tank is made of tough polycarbonate shell with a triple-bladed stainless steel paddle.  Variable water volume from 9 to 17 liters.  This is built to last.   Length: 1975 mm (77.8”), Width: 530 mm (20.9”), Height: 510 mm (20.1”).   Maximum user weight: 136 kg (300 lbs). Warranty: Frame: 5 years; Tank and seals: 2 years; Components: 1 year Model: FDF-PACIFIC-CAR-12
Average Customer Rating:
4.294 out of 5
 out of 
(17 Reviews) 17
(out of 17 reviews)
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot (17 reviews)
5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star
13 of 17(76%)customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR Water Rowing Machine
Review 1 for First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR Water Rowing Machine
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
Location:Orange County, CA
Date:June 3, 2015

Good machine, horrible company

Pros: good value for money until something breaks
Cons: absolutely abysmal customer service, needs higher resistance settings, seat is not comfortable enough
Model Number: PACAR
" My wife and I purchased this rower 2 years ago and despite having a defective bungee cord it worked well until last week. After the bungee cord broke I spent several days attempting to order a replacement from First Degree Fitness. It took a week to finally get an order form emailed to me.
To complete the order for a 5 dollar part I had to print out the order form and a credit card authorization form, fill them out by hand, then scan them, then attach them to an email and send that to a company called Fitness Brokers USA. Two days later I still have not received a confirmation for my order! Now I am worried about credit card fraud.
You cannot contact anyone at First Degree Fitness or Fitness Brokers USA by phone. Email parts ordering is beyond ridiculous. Who in the world makes customers do that?
If you value customer service at all DO NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM FIRST DEGREE FITNESS! You will be ignored, irritated and frustrated beyond belief. This rowing machine is now a very large paper weight and is going back to the local Costco for a full refund tomorrow. WHAT A MISTAKE! "
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Review 2 for First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR Water Rowing Machine
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Location:Alexandria, VA
Date:February 17, 2015

Easy setup except connecting the long bar

Pros: easy setup, fun to use, strong straps
Cons: inaccurate calorie count, seat will get uncomfy in 10mins+, difficult to setup the long bar (used hammer)
Model Number: Pacific Challenge AR Water Rowing Machine
" I like it. Gives a good workout rowing. I'm 5'9 and my knees touch the bar when pulling back sometimes so that can be annoying and I don't think it does an accuarate calories count (only shows one hour). Price is higher on Costco that competitors but I call that the 'Costco Insurance' should it ever break down "
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Review 3 for First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR Water Rowing Machine
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:June 22, 2014

Excellent workout !!!!

" Easy assembly, moves around very easily, and best of all a great cardio workout, especially rowing with the water. "
Review 4 for First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR Water Rowing Machine
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Location:Chester Springs, PA
Date:June 21, 2014

LCD display broke after one year

Pros: mechanically sound.
Cons: electronics don't last.
Model Number: FDF-PACIFIC-CAR-12
" The machine still functions well after 2 years of use, but the electronic display stopped working after 1 year. I replaced the batteries, but it won't work.
I would return it, but it's such a pain to take it apart. I use a kitchen timer for my workouts.
Review 5 for First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR Water Rowing Machine
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Irvine, CA
Date:April 10, 2014

Definitely Recommended!

Pros: solidly constructed, works out your whole body, stores in a small area
Cons: needed assembly (about an hour for me), only very brief instructions on proper form
" I hesitated to buy a piece of exercise equipment, having bought many over the years and not using them so much. But, this one has been great! I followed instructions, starting at 5 minutes the first day, increasing one minute a day until I got to 20-30 minutes a day. I could feel soreness...but it was never overwhelming. I am 58 years old.
I am able to use this and then tilt it up and it stores nicely in a corner of the room, with very little effort.
Assembly took me about an hour, but I'm better than most at instructions. The only "wish list" I have is that I wish there was more attention to instructing on proper form while exercising.
At last -- a piece of exercise equipment I actually use regularly! "
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Review 6 for First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR Water Rowing Machine
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Washington state
Date:January 18, 2014

Good value for a water rower

Pros: well built, quiet, smooth operation
Cons: seat appears a little loose on rail
Model Number: Pacific Challenge
" My previous experience with rowing machines was limited to using the Concept 2 rowers at the YMCA. I liked rowing as an exercise and considered purchasing a Concept 2 for home use but didn't because the machine had to be broken down into two pieces for storage. I felt that disassembly and reassembling would be an obstacle to my using it so it would probably end up sitting in a corner with little use.
When I saw the Pacific Challenge rower on Costco's website I liked the idea that it could be stored by simply standing it up. I researched rowing machines regarding the different types of resistance and found that water rowers were considered to most closely match actual rowing conditions. The reviews also mentioned that water rowers did not have the catch up lag which occurs with many air resistance rowers. I have found that to be true with the Pacific Challenge rower. I like the belt drive on this machine compared to the chain drive on the Concept 2 machine as it appears to be quieter and smoother.
The machine appears to be well built and I'm certain that it will stand up to home use. My only concern so far is that the seat fits somewhat loosely on the rail and I'm somewhat concerned with the durability of the plastic seat rollers.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Review 7 for First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR Water Rowing Machine
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Atlanta, GA
Date:January 17, 2014

Perfect addition to home gym

Pros: short enough to fit easy to store upright., rugged and comfortable, smooth operation with no lag.
Cons: would like a built in ipad holder.
" I have wanted a rower for my home gym but the length of the fan/flywheel units were prohibitive. This unit is short enough to fit and is easily stored in a very small space - even with the water in it. BTW, I worried about leaks but when you tip it up, the water does not cover the filling holes - so it will not leak.
The operation is very good with no "lag" like with other rowers, very smooth. The seat is very comfortable (I am over 250lbs). I keep the difficulty on the top level and it is perfect for an aerobic 20 minute workout. I set my iPad next to the rower with a bluetooth speaker and it is perfect to avoid the boredom.
This rower fits perfectly to round out my gym with my elliptical, bike and weights. I highly recommend this unit.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Review 8 for First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR Water Rowing Machine
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Location:Fort Mill, SC
Date:November 13, 2013

Solid machine with some drawbacks

Pros: solid.
Cons: even with treatment water started to get moldy.
" Let me first start by saying I just returned this rower. I am not an exercise person - so perhaps my review isn't the most valid. The rower was easy to put together and sturdy. I have tendonitis in my thumbs and found the rowing movement much more taxing on my hands than I wanted to risk. I thought the lowest setting was even tough, but again, I exercise with no regularity. And now that we've returned it, even less so. If you're sure a rowing machine is the way you want to go, this is one worth considering. "
4 of 20 people found this review helpful.
Review 9 for First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR Water Rowing Machine
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Albany, Oregon!
Date:May 9, 2013

Best exercise equipment evr purchased!

Pros: built like a "sherman" army tank
Cons: foot straps are only 1 inch wide.
Model Number: Pacific Challenge AR Rower, FDF-PACIFIC-CAR-12
" I have had my rower about six weeks now (purch.3/28/2013). And I love it! I made some mistakes however and here they are: 1. I used tap water which they say is ok but I didn't add a chlorine tablet. The water turned brownish in no time. So if everything else fails read the instructions, dummy. Upon reading a little closer, this sentence "glared" out at me "Note: Where water quality is known to be poor, FDF recommends the use of distilled water! So I purchased about 4 gallons of distilled water & added the included chlorine tablet. 2. While researching rowers with a water tank, And one more hint, I 'stole" from other reviews, is that I cover the tank with a dark cloth when not in use. This keeps the daylight from the water and the quality of the water lasts longer! I also made a small label as to when to change the water & taped it to the bar that goes over the water tank. And I was off "to the races!" My biggest irration, if your will, is the 1 inch shoe straps to hold your feet in place. On my previous rower my wife constructed foot straps for me that were 2 inches wide and held my feet/shoes much better. On his rower 1 inch size straps are about all you can use. I know I am nit-picking but for this amount of $$$, I like everything to be perfect.
Another hint that might help is that any kind of exercising is b-o-r-i-n-g. But if you get a DVD entitled "Power 10-The Rowing Machine Companion", it gives you about 23 minutes of rowing out on the water, add the sound from this water rower and nothing could be finer!! The DVD shows you correct posture and breathing, And 9 sets of rowing repetitions. I have lost weight, gained more "punch" to my walking, and stengthened my stomach muscles!
I am age 71 by the way.
34 of 35 people found this review helpful.
Review 10 for First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR Water Rowing Machine
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Hillsboro, Oregon
Date:March 21, 2013


Pros: smooth stroke. easy to adjust. folds up to store.
Cons: can't find one i tried. oh we have to take turns
Model Number: Pacific Challenge AR
" We love it! Two adults with different strengths and abilities use the machine easily. It's an excellent workout for both of us. Seat is comfortable. Foot straps are not a problem and here's the fix: Adjust the foot pads to your foot size by moving the pegs to different holes. The water sound is fantastic; yet not so loud that it interferes with music, TV, or voices. We cover the water tank with fabric to keep the sun off it. "
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
Review 11 for First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR Water Rowing Machine
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Alpharetta/Milton Georgia
Date:January 11, 2013

Excellent Quality/Fantastic Value

Pros: quality construction, easy assembly, has usb interface built-in, has heart rate capability, compact for a rower, stores upright, smooth operation, fabulous value
Cons: blisters from handle (wear workout gloves), must buy additional equipment for hr function, wish it was made in the usa
Model Number: Pacific Challenge AR Water Rower
" I did extensive research prior to purchasing a rower. My experience with rowing machines had been limited to what was available at various gyms over the years. I have used both magnetic/wind resitance types and water resistance types. I prefer a water resistance rower - no slack at all, just smooth motion throughout the entire stroke and I find the sound of the water swishing very motivating. You can still hear a TV or music while using this machine. The quality of the construction is excellent. It is a solid and durable piece of equipment. I've started with 10 litres of water and with the adjustable resistance knob am able to do interval training that has me working hard in no time. The seat is comfortable for me. Great computer with an on-line community you can row with (while connected to your PC). The computer is large and easy to see. Not the "prettiest" rower out there, but a great value (thanks, Costco!) and it isn't 8' long like many other machines. I would prefer a handle that wasn't completely round, but more flat. Wear workout gloves to prevent blisters. The seat does move just a bit from side to side, which is expected with a mono-rail design and is similar to the feel of a boat. I couldn't be happier. This is a fabulous, total body workout for anyone of any fitness level or age. It is completely up to you how hard you work. I love it and my elliptical will probably be gathering dust from now on. "
11 of 11 people found this review helpful.
Review 12 for First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR Water Rowing Machine
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Location:Eudora, KS
Date:November 6, 2012

I made a good choice

Pros: great price great customer support., smooth stroke good glide nice seat, easy to assemble, pleasant exercise nice water sound, easy to store takes up little space
Cons: foot adjustments pop loose easily, foot straps work loose while rowing
Model Number: Pacific Challenge AR
" The rower was easy to assemble. My son and I had it done in 45 minutes. The computer did not work. A contact with customer service quickly took care of that and a new one arrived by UPS and works well.
I do not like the foot size adjustments. They pop out of position and slide down while rowing. I had to tape them down to keep them from popping out. The foot straps also loosen as you row, maybe Velcro on the straps would help?
Overall, I think its a very good purchase. I like that I can increase the resistance as I progress. It has a smooth stroke and glide, great seat too. I have already lost 8 lbs in 2 1/2 weeks and I don't even feel like I'm working that hard!
Costo's price was great. Very reassuring that if I didn't like it I could return it and get ALL my money back, shipping included.
I like that I can store it upright, the wheels on the end are great.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful.
Review 13 for First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR Water Rowing Machine
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Salem, Oregon
Date:October 16, 2012
Pros: love the water sounds
Cons: would like a pacer to race with
Model Number: Pacific Challenge AR
" Great machine for the price, simple straightforward operation. Excellent customer service. Best overall workout for health and flexibility. I use it with other machines for cross training. I am 67 years young "
Review 14 for First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR Water Rowing Machine
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Chicago IL
Date:May 17, 2012

This is a super workout

Model Number: Pacific Challenge
" I've had this rower for 8 months and I'm very satisfied. I researched different models and brands and am confident that I made the best choice and best value with Costco's price. It's a great overall cardio workout. It mimics an actual water rowing experience down to the sound of the water. "
14 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Review 15 for First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR Water Rowing Machine
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Location:Boston, MA
Date:December 23, 2011

Received used

Pros: decent work out
Cons: squeaky seat, need to treat water periodically
Model Number: Pacific Ch
" When I received it, the carton box was carelessly packing tape sealed, instead of original carton box staples. That was the first sign of a used rower. After opening the carton box, I found footprints on the footpads. Definitely a sign of being used before. The rower had had already some parts assembled. (a brand new unit should not). I could have returned it as this is against COSTCO policy that a vendor cannot ship a used unit even if it is fully functional.
Frankly speaking, no parts were broken. So I decided to keep it.
Generally speaking, it gives you decent work out. Easy to use.
Downside of it: The seat is not robust, and it gives squeaky sounds when you work on it. You have to periodically treat the water in the tank. "
4 of 6 people found this review helpful.
Review 16 for First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR Water Rowing Machine
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Date:November 26, 2011

Great machine at a great price

Pros: easy to use, great adjustable resistance.
Cons: none
Model Number: Pacific AR
" As advertised. The AR is easy to set up and use. The adjustable resistance feature is very handy for interval training or warm up / cool down. Have had this machine for 1 month and so far I am very pleased. You will not find a better rower at a lower price. "
2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
Review 17 for First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR Water Rowing Machine
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Location:Lansing, MI
Date:November 15, 2011

Water rower

Cons: no instruction manual was included.
Model Number: Pacific Challenge
" Well designed, well built water rower. Smooth operation.
Bought for indoor exercise without stress on joints. Great, fun, work-out. The sound of rushing water is the best. Appears to be Costco version of national manufacturer model that I believe looks even better than the regular one costing much more.
Instruction manual was not included, had to find on line, and was slightly difficult to follow.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful.