The WaterRower Classic makes an appearance in House of Cards.
The WaterRower Classic makes an appearance in House of Cards. (Inga Hendrickson)

Row Like You’re in ‘House of Cards’

A stately machine that’s fit for a king—or a conniving president


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The first thing I did after assembling the WaterRower Classic was not use it. I let it sit there in proud homage to Francis “Frank” Underwood, Kevin Spacey’s character in House of Cards, who receives the machine from his wife with all the excitement of a filibuster. But then, just as Underwood’s power-grab schemes start to gain momentum, he ditches the button-down for an undershirt and starts rowing. And so did I.

The 3.5 gallons of water in the reservoir deliver a satisfying whoosh with every pull—perfect for getting your head right before a long day of backroom maneuvering, or, in my case, cataloging gear. The monitor displays time, distance, power, and stroke count. And what POTUS could fail to approve of the Classic’s American provenance and sleek look? The oil-sealed black walnut, sustainably harvested in the Appalachian Mountains, gleams as the water circles inside the tank. It’s just the ticket for an ambitious politician—or editorial assistant—plotting his next move.


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