“In some ways,” said Hugh Laurie when he appeared on the David Letterman show in 2006, “it’s the most interesting aspect of [rowing].”

He was, of course, talking about the fact that rowers face backwards – an insane notion, really, if you think about it..

Until now. Enter the Front Rower – a nifty design that enables rowers to face the way they are going.

I implore you to watch the videos both on the home page and below for their boldness and downright craziness:

Of course these aren’t rowing shells as we know them, but there’s no reason I can see why fine rowing boats shouldn’t be adapted to face forwards.

Ah, just think of the benefits. No more crashing into the bank. No more cries of “SCULLEEEEEEEERRRRR!” No more cricks in your neck from craning round to see what’s behind you or distractions from the serious business of making the boat go faster.

And yet, I just can’t help thinking it would take all of the fun and the poetry out of it. Call me a Luddite, but you can keep your forward rowing. I’ll stick to the backwards version. LOOK OUT!!!…. CRASH!!!