The horizontal movement of the water when a wave passes is approximately equal to the up and down movement of the water. If you are on flat water and are parallel to waves made by a passing boat, your boat will move side-to-side as much as up-and–down as the wave passes under you. The side-to-side movement actually creates most of the difficulty in balancing the boat in such a situation. However, under typical conditions in the bay there can be such varied wave action that you can’t easily distinguish horizontal and vertical motion.
The rowing machine itself is unlike any other on the market with its patented water filled flywheel. It is hard to exactly copy the action of a scull on the water, but the mechanics of the flywheel spinning in water comes in a close second on dry land. The fact that the water is 800 times denser than air means that there is no need for any extra resistance or dampening that you will find in normal air rowers. The faster you pull, the more resistance is generated giving it infinite variability. However, if you want to be able to practice rowing with a faster stroke, you will have to reduce the amount of water in the tank unlike an air rower where you just have to adjust the baffle.