FDF Daytona Challenge AR Water Rower: Honorable Mention 2019


The FDF Daytona Challenge AR Water Rower makes ingenious use of the unique physical properties of water. Just as a wave can be anything from a gentle ripple to raging ocean surf, so the Daytona Challenge AR Rower instantly adapts from a light warm-up to a fierce workout, by adjusting the resistance level.

That’s because with water, the harder you exercise, the tougher it gets. Ask any rower! FDF Daytona Challenge AR Water Rower has been developed in collaboration with professional rowers to deliver the feel, sight, and sound of real on-water rowing.

The multiple chambers, ribbed tank internals provide natural ‘catch’ at the start of the stroke, and the most smooth and consistent resistance you will find on any rowing ergometer. The water level is easily varied through the adjustable resistance system to change the overall resistance profile to suit every user perfectly.

Learn more in my complete review below…

Daytona Challenge AR Rower
FDF Daytona Challenge AR Water Rower

Product: FDF Daytona Challenge AR Water Rower

Price: For a great deal on this rower, merely go here on Amazon

Warranty: Frame 5 years / Tank and seals two years / Mechanical 2 years / Wear parts one year

My rating: 9.6

Affiliate Disclosure: We may earn commissions from purchases made through links in this post.

(Available in Red -Newport Edition, Gunmetal – Pacific Edition, and Yellow – Daytona Edition)

Daytona Challenge Frame

The machine’s structure is a combination of aluminum, steel and acrylic parts. The main beam of the frame is aluminum made, the front part that sustains the water tank along with the rear stabilizer is made of steel alloy, while the tank is a highly durable acrylic polymer.

Overall, the machine has a sturdy construction, similar to the ones made for commercial gymsIt’s beam can support users up to 300 lbs (136 kg).

The rower’s frame is relatively long, featuring an assembled footprint of 77.8″L x 20.9″W (197 x 53 cm). This means it’s long enough to accommodate users with an inseam up to 38″ (96.5 cm), or differently put, users up to 6’7″ (201 cm). The frame doesn’t have a folding design however the frame can be stored in a vertical position.

The front part of the structure integrates a set of two small stabilizers and a set of small wheels, meant to facilitate the machine’s vertical storage and relocation. When stored vertically, its footprint becomes 20.9″L x 21″W (53 x 51 cm). Also, in case you’re wondering, the water can remain in the tank when the rower is stored in a vertical position.

In the horizontal position, the frame rests on three main bases; all of them finished with adjustable round caps, which act as stabilizers. As opposed to other rowers, the gliding beam of the seat is fully horizontal, promoting a natural rowing motion.

FDF Daytona Challenge AR Water Rower

Footrest, Seat, and Rowing Handle

The footrests equipped on this rower don’t have angle-adjustability. They’re placed on a plate at an angle of approx. 45°, providing a natural position for the feet during rowing. They’re size-adjustable though, accommodating athletic shoes of all sizes and also integrate adjustable straps.

The seat supplied with this First Degree Fitness rower is highly-durable PVC material, featuring a molded design, for maximum ergonomics. It glides on low friction, Delrin® rollers with precision bearings, along a concealed track for safe and smooth operation.

The rowing handle features a soft curvature, designed to prevent strain on the arms, and promote a natural grip position for hands and wrists. It’s coated with rubber foam material, for a firm grip and for the prevention of any damage to the hands, which may occur due to prolonged rowing sessions.

The handlebar is attached to a highly-durable nylon strap, 1″ (2.5 cm) wide, but the pulling mechanism also features a sheathed bungee cord for return.

Daytona Challenge Water Tank, Drive and Resistance Systems

To begin with, the water tank supplied with this First Degree Fitness rowing machine features a different construction from other fluid rowers. It has two chambers: the “storage” chamber and the “active” chamber. There’s a dial on top of the tank, that allows water to move between these chambers, depending on the resistance setting.

For example, if you set the resistance to “MIN” on the tank adjuster, it will take about ten strokes to fill the central (storage) tank, leaving only a minimum amount of water in the main (active) tank, resulting in less demanding strokes. As opposed to that, if you set the resistance to “MAX,” the water will pass into the active tank, providing the user with higher resistance.

There are four resistance settings specified on the tank. The lowest setting generates feather-light resistance, for a light cardio training, while the top setting provides Olympic sprint resistance.

The tank’s capacity is 17 liters (4.5 gals), and to be functional, it requires to hold a water quantity between 2.3 and 4.5 gals (9 – 17 liters). It has a 3-blade impeller, connected to a bungee cord which facilitates its recovery. The pulling handle is attached to a durable nylon strap, designed for many years of use.

Daytona Challenge AR Rower
FDF Daytona Challenge AR Water Rower

Overall, the FDF Daytona Challenge AR rower generates rowing feel almost identical to the rowing of a real boat. Not only that its overall resistance has four difficulty levels since it’s a fluid rower the resistance put behind each stroke is conditioned by how hard / fast you pull.

Also, the movement of the impeller in the water tank doesn’t generate a lot of noise, such as various air rowing machines. The sound produced with each stroke is a soft, soothing “woosh.”

Fitness Computer

The console is much more than a basic unit. To begin with, it features an 8-panel display, which covers time, 500M time, distance, strokes per minute, calories per hour, wattage and pulse. To track your heart rate, an HR chest strap transmitter is required (sold separately)

For distance, the computer offers the possibility to add 1000m for each press of the largest button. Also, this button covers the unit’s reset function. By holding it down for three sec., the unit will reset. It requires 2x AA batteries (included).

Also, it auto-pauses five sec. after ceasing the activity on the rower. It also automatically shuts down after 5 minutes of inactivity, and all the values are reset to zero.

Just as the water tank, the console has four difficulty levels. Therefore, depending on which level you have selected on the tank, you should choose the corresponding level on the console, for it to provide optimal tracking of the stats displayed.

One last aspect to mention regarding the fitness computer unit of this fluid rower is its USB function. It features a USB slot which allows it to connect via cable to a PC, laptop or smart device, to work with various FDF apps. These apps offer the possibility to track your progress online, or even compete with other users.

Daytona Challenge Assembly and Maintenance

The machine’s water tank and resistance system come fully assembled and attached to the front metallic part of the frame. However, some assembly is still required. You will have to attach the seat to rower’s rail, add the rear stabilizer, then connect the track to the front part of the frame. This shouldn’t take more than 30 min. The manual provides pretty clear step-by-step instructions and all the tools required for assembly (included).

FDF Daytona Challenge AR Water Rower

When it comes to maintenance, there are two main aspects to mention. One, you will need to add a chlorine pill into the water tank, to prevent the formation of algae. Two, before each use you should make sure that the gliding beams are clear of any small objects that may cause them damage. In other words, wipe the gliding beams clean before each use.

Technical Details and Specifications

  • Assembled dimensions: 77.8L x 20.9W x 20.1H inches (197L x 53W x 51H cm)
  • Product weight: 55 lbs (25 kg) w/o water; 92.5 (42 kg) with water
  • Supported weight: 300 lbs (136 kg)
  • Frame: Aluminum / steel / acrylic combo
  • Footrests: Adjustable, with straps
  • Resistance type: Water, adjustable (4 levels)
  • Fitness computer: Time, distance, strokes per minute, watts, calories/hour, 500m split time, HR capable, USB port
  • Warranty: Frame 5 years / Tank and seals two years / Mechanical 2 years / Wear parts one year


  • Sturdy frame, built by commercial standards;
  • High user capacity, up to 300 lbs (136 kg);
  • Superior aesthetics, aluminum, and steel frame;
  • Can be stored vertically, and the water doesn’t require to be drained for storage;
  • Easy to handle and transport;
  • Water-resistance system, providing the most natural rowing feel that you can get;
  • Dual-chamber water tank, with four distinctive water resistance levels;
  • Contoured, ergonomically designed seat;
  • Advanced, 8-panel fitness computer that tracks time, 500m time, pulse, distance, strokes per minute, calories per hour and watts;

    Daytona Challenge AR Rower
    FDF Daytona Challenge AR Water Rower
  • The USB connection, for online workout data tracking, or competing with other rowers;
  • Smooth and quiet operation;
  • Rower for users of all levels;
  • Little maintenance required;
  • Easy to assemble;
  • Great warranty package.


  • Chest strap transmitter for monitoring pulse (not included).

FDF Daytona Challenge AR Rower Summary

The First Degree Fitness Daytona Challenge AR is a rowing machine with adjustable water resistance. It features a dual-chamber water tank offering four unique settings for its overall resistance. It has a solid frame, its aluminum rail, and seat being able to withstand users up to 300 lbs.

The Daytona Challenge AR has an advanced computer unit for tracking your workout values. The computer unit also has online connectivity. It’s a rower designed for users of all levels, from beginner to pro, providing a consistent cardio workout that involves multiple muscle groups.

It’s also great for stamina and interval training, and evidently for losing weight. Even though it’s not exactly an affordable rowing machine, due to the quality in its components and construction, and its range of features, it stands up to the price.

I hope you found this article helpful and informative. If you have anything that you’d like to share or any opinions on any of the content on my site, please do speak up. I look forward to your comments, questions and the sharing of ideas.

Note: Thank you for all the support you’ve given to our website. I truly appreciate it.
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