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Purchasing Rowing Equipment Part 2

Purchasing Rowing Equipment Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of our series on Purchasing Rowing Equipment.

Read Part 1

Read Part 3

Step 3 Money, and How Much?

Purchasing rowing equipment can leave a meteor sized dent in your wallet. Depending on what you want/need to buy, you could be looking at a massive amount of money. For instance an elite-level men’s eight used to compete at the World Rowing Championships may cost between $25,000 and $40,000, and that’s just for the shell. Then there are the electronics, oars, and transportation to the event. All this can add up to a large price tag. So grab a pen and some paper and let’s work out exactly how much money you may spend.

The main thing to remember at this stage is that it is very easy to buy the rowing equipment you want, but don’t necessarily need. Yes, it may make you go a little faster or allow you to look a little cooler, but what is the point if you don’t have time to row because you had to get a second job to pay off your purchases.

The easiest way to work out how much you have to spend is to take a sheet of paper, draw up two columns, one side being expenses and one side being budget. This should give you a basic idea of how much money you can spend on your rowing equipment.

If you are purchasing for yourself, crew or club and the funds are looking tight, fund raising is always a great way to lift that bank account to the level you need. Space Saver Rowing Systems has put together a great list of ideas and tips on fund raising, you can purchase the downloadable document here, or sign up to the SSRS mailing list and you will be emailed the document for free.


Step 4 Brands what make of equipment to buy.

By this point you should have a solid idea of what rowing equipment you need to buy and how much you have to spend on it. So whose stuff do you purchase? There are several important items you now need to review.


If you look at quality from this standpoint of how an item compares to an accepted standard, this trait then becomes one of the most important things to consider when purchasing sporting equipment. Get the best quality that you can within your price range. Quality lasts, sub quality annoys-and breaks, and injuries can result. The information that follows should help you determine the quality of a piece of rowing equipment.


  • Look at the seams where the material is joined together, they should be finished well (clean and sanded).
  • Check the welds on the rigger, they should be solid and not show any signs of cracking.
  • The ribs of the boat should be solid and form a solid joint with the gunwale.
  • The paint should be first rate in application and quality.
  • All fasteners should be non-corrosive. For example stainless steel or plastic.

Oars —

  • Look at the seams where the material is joined together, they should be finished well (clean and sanded).
  • Attachment of blade to shaft should be solid and watertight.
  • Look at the grips and the wood used in the handle; they should be of the best materials.
  • Adjustable handles should be attached solidly, yet be easy to adjust when needed.


One key thing to remember is not to buy into the notion that expensive always equals excellence. Depending on what sort of item you are looking for, you may well find that the lower priced items are better suited for your needs.

There might be ways to lower the price of your purchase. Some manufactures offer special prices on older equipment or refurbished items. It’s something worth checking, but consider the warranty. You might also find packages where a manufacturer will sell a boat and many items with it (electronics, slings, oars) for a reduced price. This may limit your selection but reduce your price.


A main concern when looking at equipment is the comfort level. When people row long distances the equipment has got to be as comfortable as possible for the rowers. Without that comfort level, boat speed will suffer and injuries will occur. The two main areas of equipment where comfort is essential are they seats in the shells and the grips on the oars.


To get your money’s worth out of your equipment, you want it to last. But how long should rowing equipment actually last? One year? 3 years? 5 years? Longer? Well, depending on how well the equipment is made and how well it is contained, it should last longer, much longer. Space Saver Rowing Systems have created a great ‘How To’ guide for maintaining and looking after your rowing equipment, click here to read ‘Caring for your Rowing Equipment’.

Ease of Adjustment:

Adjustments can be made quite often and frequently they are made while on the water, so your equipment needs to be able to be adjusted easily.

Many shells now come with spacers which allow rowers to adjust the height themselves even on the water. Make sure to keep an eye out for riggers which take a large amount of involvement to adjust. The more complex the equipment is to adjust, the higher chance that the adjustment won’t be carried out correctly and this may cause damage to the equipment or injuries to the athletes.

Speed Design:

How fast a piece of equipment is depends on many factors, including the abilities of the athlete using it. Be cautious about buying into the hype of advertising about a piece of equipment making a great difference in speed. A piece of equipment that was used to win a world championship might not be the best choice of equipment for a novice high school crew.


There have been few, if any developments of safety in rowing equipment over the last few years. Rowing is not an overly hazardous sport, but there are still many hidden dangers which can injure athletes and wreck equipment. There are a few simple items which can make a huge difference when it comes to safety. These include; heel ties, quick release shoes, bow balls and lights, if you are doing any night rowing. When making a purchase, make sure that these items are included and ask if there are any new safety features available.


Some dealers or manufactures will have test equipment that they will lend out if you ask for it. Testing equipment is a great service, and shows that the dealer has faith in the product and thinks that it is so good it will sell itself. One key thing to remember when testing rowing equipment is to make sure you insure it. Accidents happen and you don’t want to be on the wrong end of a large repair bill. When testing a piece of equipment, gather as much information on it as you can, for and against the product.

After taking all the previous steps into account, and comparing each brand against all the criteria, you will now be able to make an informed decision on which brand to purchase.

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