WaterRower (UK) Ltd was formed in 1991 to market and distribute the WaterRower throughout Europe under license to WaterRower Inc. Initially with offices in Fulham, London, a 1993 agreement provided WaterRower (UK) Ltd with the additional right to manufacture the WaterRower for Europe. Workshops were established in the idyllic stately home of the Earl and Countess of Sandwich, Mapperton Manor
Originally made from wood, shells are now almost always made from a composite material (usually a double skin of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic with a sandwich of honeycomb material) for strength and weight advantages. FISA rules specify minimum weights for each class of boat so that no individual team will gain a great advantage from the use of expensive materials or technology.
Outside of resistance type, we found the number-one arbiter of ride feel to be cord quality. Water ergometers tend to employ nylon cords, while air ergometers feature metal chains — a durability factor we anticipated would result in our favoring air. But while all three water rowers aced our expectation of smooth, high-tension strokes, perfecting the chain seems to be more difficult: Some tug with just a slight rumble, others feature bouncy, grinding chains that are incredibly loud, something akin to angry snoring. As for nylon, the best wind and unwind like elastic silk — no slack, no sound, no catching, just perfectly even tension throughout the stroke.