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Paddling the kayak

against HydroStar

Can you actually use BINDER turbine swimming systems for kayak training? That’s what a customer asked our sales department recently. Admittedly, our colleagues unfortunately had to give that question a pass. But of course we wanted to find out – and we asked a kayak pro to test it.

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Thomas Hannig

Whether marathon running, boomerang throwing, road cycling, mountain biking or inline skating: Thomas Hannig has already tried out many sports in his life. The sports teacher is really familiar with the kayak too: it all started more than 30 years ago with kayak touring on the Weser. Since then, Hannig has mostly participated in whitewater kayaking in the Allgäu region.

The 60-year-old from Kalletal in North Rhine-Westphalia regularly takes part in kayaking camps and has also run courses himself for 17 years (

So if anyone knows about kayaks, it’s Thomas Hannig.

Testing in sub-zero temperatures

For our experiment to see whether you can also train kayaking with a counter-current system, we arranged to meet Thomas Hannig in the garden of BINDER managing director Felix Binder. In his pool he has two HydroStar systems installed that have flow rates of 1,200 m3 and 430 m3 per hour respectively. This ensures optimal conditions for the kayak test.

On the day of the test, the temperature was an icy -2 °C. No problem for Thomas Hannig; as an outdoor sportsman, he’s used to rough conditions. Hannig took his kayak off the trailer and carried it to the pool. Then they were almost ready to start: they just had to quickly attach a pool noodle to the bow of the boat to increase the surface area for the current. Then everything was ready and the excitement level was high. Do the turbines have a strong enough flow rate for kayak training?

Many kayakers train in a swimming pool in winter

When we contacted the avid sportsman for our little test, he was enthusiastic and immediately agreed. Hannig was not surprised at the customer request, because he knows from experience: “Many kayakers train in a swimming pool in winter.” So why shouldn’t this also be possible in a pool? A completely different matter, though, is whether the current from the turbine swimming systems is suitable for kayak training.

Paddling was more strenuous than expected

Thomas Hannig lowered the kayak into the water and positioned himself with the boat in the middle of the two turbines. First the BGA 430 was started. After just a few paddle strokes, the kayak pro noticed how strong the current was. “That’s enough,” he called out. “I have to make a real effort to move the boat forward.”

With the BGA 1200 Thomas Hannig paddled even faster so that he wouldn’t get pushed back in the kayak. Only with powerful paddle strokes could the extremely fit water sports enthusiast cope with the turbine swimming system’s flow rate. So what’s his conclusion after the test? “The flow of HydroStar feels like a river. It’s well suited to daily fitness training.”

The pool doesn’t have to be big

BINDER’s turbine-powered counter-current systems not only offer ideal conditions for endurance swimming, but also optimal circumstances for kayak training in your own pool.

In Thomas Hannig’s opinion, a small swimming pool is sufficient. For kayak training, it doesn’t matter whether you choose the permanently installed HydroStar turbine swimming system or the EasyStar retrofit system. With both models, paddling in the pool feels like being in a natural environment.  

Test it yourself?

Have we piqued your interest? Would you like to try out the turbine-driven counter-current system for yourself? No problem: You can go for a test swim and try out the HydroStar and EasyStar in our showroom in Frankfurt.

The BINDER team looks forward to your visit!

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