The Dear Novice Rower Ultimate, Stupendous Gift Guide, Part I

You may be off the water for the winter (*sniff), but likely rowing isn’t too far from your mind. If your friends and family truly get you this holiday season, they will be looking for Red Ryder BB gun of rowing gifts.

If I’ve done my job, they’ll find it here. Tomorrow we'll have some more expensive items--for those at the top of the "Nice List." Today, we'll look at ideas that ring in at less than $30.

Yes, The Boys in the Boat was good, but frankly, I liked The Amateurs even better. Gripping nonfiction that features rowers who are still active in our sport, it describes rowing so well you might get splashed a little bit when you turn the pages. 


Bite marks on your calves annoy the daylights out of me. While you can cut up tube socks and cover your calves with them, or pair bite guards with your normal socks, these one-step woolen wonders are oh-so-posh. A smart invention that makes you slap your forehead and say, “Why didn’t I think of that?!”


This may be the least expensive gift on the list, but it's one of the most valuable. Most rigging on boats is attached with 7/16th inch nuts and bolts. So 7/16th inch wrenches are gold when rowers are taking boats apart for transport or adjusting. Ratchet versions are good, nut drivers rock too. Consider buying two or three. Get creative and paint them different colors so they won’t walk off during late night or early morning regatta boat rigging.


I can't say enough about these water bottles. They check all my boxes--keep your water super cold, BPA- and Phthalate-free, made in the U.S.A., completely recyclable (although they really don't wear out), and if you lose the cap, they'll send a free replacement. It's soft and won't rattle around in the boat. It also doesn’t scar the boat interior like some bottles (Nalgene, I’m looking at you). Handy carrying strap keeps you from stuffing it down your pants on the way to and from the dock. Lots of nifty designs, too.


This little device is new to me this year, and I’m kinda smitten. It helps you loosen and adjust just about any part of your boat—even foot stretchers and oarlock spacers. There’s a bottle opener for your apres rowing root beer, too. Great for coxswains, great for rowers.


What do wrist wraps have to do with rowing, you ask? Rowing with flat wrists makes your stroke more powerful and prevents injury. If you have trouble keeping your wrists flat, wear wrist wraps and ta-da. Problem solved. They also do double duty when you lift weights. (I own the Wonder Woman version of these. They are machine washable, they look tough, and they sport some glitter. Nice.)


Waterproof. With a lanyard. And it floats. Boom. If you ever row without a coach, a cell phone case is for you. I kinda like this colorful version, since so much electronic stuff is black. Row safer, gang. 


Coming tomorrow--the more expensive rowing bling that truly dazzles.

photo credit: Powerhouse Museum Season's Greetings via photopin (license)