Our Story of Rowing in Open Water

The origin story of the Echo Open Water Rowing Shell

Arthur Martin paddling his first sea kayak with son Douglas and daughter Lorna.

Arthur Martin, friends and family at the Chauncey Creek Boathouse, Kittery Point Maine

Arthur Martin experimenting in an early sea kayak

Over 50 years of rowing knowledge and tradition has created the Echo rowing shell, with its timeless design and innovative features.  Arthur Martin, the father of recreational rowing and the Alden Ocean Shell, designed his first rowing shell in his living room with the help of two of his children, Douglas and Lorna.  Over the years, the Alden Ocean Shell became the hallmark of recreational rowing shells around the world.  Arthur’s son Douglas and daughter Lorna preserved their father's passion for rowing by continuing to build Alden Ocean Shells for many years after his death.  In 1975, Douglas designed and built his first boat while apprenticing at the Strawbery Banke Dory shop in Portsmouth, NH. Later, Douglas applied his life learned knowledge of boat building, sculpture, and violin design to improve on the overall design of open water rowing shells.  More than ten years after his father's passing, Douglas designed the Echo rowing shell as a “next generation” of all water rowing boat, taking what he had learned from his father and coupling his own innovations with modern boat building techniques.

In 2002, Douglas co-founded Echo Rowing with his sister Lorna and her husband Ted. Doug’s design process combines practical experience, sound principles of physics, beauty, strength and practicality. These principles are manifested in the simplicity of the unique and proprietary "Echo Folding Rigger System" and the strength and stability of all of the Echo Rowing shell designs. The boat is buoyant and does not have an open cockpit so it is very seaworthy compared to its earlier cousins. The self bailing system quickly drains the cockpit and the elongated keel is both perfectly designed to surf heavier seas and tracks well in calm water. Today these rowing shells are classified as “all water rowing shells”, meaning they can be rowed in most reasonable conditions from calm waters to hard core open water racing.

This makes the Echo a perfect boat for those that want to spend more days on the water while worrying less about weather and water conditions.

We like to call the Echo the “mountain bike of rowing shells”.

The Echo Rowing Company is known for building a high quality product, with an incredibly loyal owner base and a strong history of success in the recreational and open water categories.  

The new owners of Echo Rowing continue to bring the same quality construction and client service that has been a tradition at Echo Rowing.

Our Partnership with Vespoli USA

In February of 2021, Echo Rowing entered into a partnership
with Vespoli USA to build our unique open water recreational rowing
shells.  Vespoli USA is a manufacturer of
world class racing shells.  We were
attracted to Vespoli because of their 40-year tradition of building high
quality boats and their technical expertise in racing shell composites, repairs,
and service.  We also like the fact that
Vespoli Boats are made in America.  Vespoli
was attracted to the partnership after they looked at the hull design and the
patented folding rigger design of the Echo boats.  Open water and recreational rowing is a growing
category and the fact that the Echo can be car topped and stored easily makes
it stand apart from the competition.

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