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First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR Adjustable Resistance Fluid Rower Review

Last Updated on February 10, 2021 by Jeff

First-Degree-Fitness-Pacific-Challenge-AR-Adjustable-Resistance-Fluid-RowerRower Overview:

The Pacific Challenge AR Rower from First Degree Fitness captures the sensory and physically demanding aspects that make outdoor rowing one of the most fun and effective workouts ever now totally realized in the comforts of home. This water rower applies fluid resistance technology for one of the toughest and most realistic rowing experiences available. The First Degree Fitness rower’s fluid resistance is not only increased or decreased based on your intensity, but also by making adjustments to the MIN/MAX controls. This provides a broad range of resistance suitable for any fitness level.

First Degree Fitness designed the Pacific Challenge AR with the user in mind. They provide a strong anodized aluminum rail, strong polycarbonate water tank, stainless steel impeller and precision bearings and rollers. There is also a super comfortable seat, ergonomic handle designed to prevent arm, wrist and hand strain and adjustable strapped footplates that will fit any user. First Degree Fitness backs their design with a 5 year frame warranty, 3 year tank warranty, 2 year mechanical warranty and 1 year warranty on wear parts.

Click here to see the price of the First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR Adjustable Resistance Fluid Rower on Amazon.

Technical Info:


  • Length: 77.8”
  • Width: 20.9”
  • Height: 20.1”
  • Max user weight: 300 lbs


  • Highest quality anodized aluminum seat rail for smoothness, appearance, strength and durability.
  • Adjustable fluid resistance delivers a broad range of resistance suitable for any fitness level at the turn of a dial.
  • Unique triple blade impeller and baffled tank internals deliver instant catch and consistent resistance throughout the whole stroke.
  • Improved pulley system greatly increases the range of resistance with no dead spots while retaining constant tension and recoil action.
  • Height adjustable footplates and straps to ensure optimal foot placement and comfortable rowing position.
  • Super comfortable seat running on precision bearings and Delrin® low friction seat rollers along a concealed track for cleaner, smoother and safer operation.
  • Durable drive is smooth, clean, quiet and maintenance-free.
  • Ergonomic handle designed to prevent strain on arms, wrists and hands.
  • Built-in transit wheels make it easy to move and store.
  • The ability to store upright in just 21”x20” of space.

Computer Features:

  • Multilevel computer complete with USB port.
  • USB allows you to connect to NetAthlon 2XF for Fluid Rowers where you can race against other connected rowers in a virtual reality 3D environment or train solo.
  • You can also connect to Fluid Coach and LogsItAll to analyze rowing statistics.
  • Workout data includes:
    • Time
    • Distance
    • 500M Split Time
    • Strokes per Minute
    • Calories per Hour
    • Watts
    • Heart Rate


  • Frame: 5 years
  • Polycarbonate Tank & Seals: 3 years
  • Mechanical Components: 2 years
  • All Other Components: 1 year

Shipping and Assembly:

Shipping costs will vary for the First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR depending on where you purchase from and what type of delivery you prefer. However, some retailers, such as Amazon.com, will provide free shipping.

Assembly of the Pacific Challenge AR is pretty easy. You’ll need to install the seat and rear leg to the rail, and then the rail to the main frame. Other than that there’s a little fine tuning. Using the instructions and tools that are included, one person can put this machine together in less than an hour.

What We Love About the First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR:


First Degree Fitness has built a quality machine in the Pacific Challenge AR. This rowing machine has a heavy duty anodized aluminum rail, a maintenance-free drive and precision bearings and rollers. Its best feature however is the water resistance system. This system utilizes a tough polycarbonate tank shell with a triple-bladed stainless steel impeller to provide adjustable resistance that remains consistent throughout the rowing stroke. The machine is also designed for comfort with an ergonomic handle and adjustable footplates. Finally, First Degree Fitness equips the Pacific Challenge AR with a great computer with PC interface where you can connect with programs to race against other users or analyze your workout statistics.

What Isn’t So Great:

The First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR does have the ability to monitor your heart rate while exercising, but you’re going to have to buy the chest strap on your won. They do not include it in the purchase of the machine. This is the biggest drawback of the Pacific Challenge AR and really, the only drawback that we can identify. A chest strap heart rate monitor will run you another $50 on top of the initial purchase price. Believe it or not, a lot of high-end rowing machines exclude heart rate monitors with the machine itself. We’re not sure of the reason behind this when you can find them included on cheaper models.

Final Word on the First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR:

Coming in under $1,000, this is one of the cheaper water resistance rowers on the market, but it doesn’t lack in quality. You can find cheaper water rowing machines, but the First Degree Fitness Pacific Challenge AR is comparable to top of the line models put out by companies like WaterRower. This machine is built well and has quality components including a great computer. Our biggest complaint is that it doesn’t include a heart rate monitor though one can be used. For whatever reason, you’ll find this is a common complaint of most high-end rowing machines.