My top 5 tools every rower needs in their tool kit:


If you’ve ever played with meccano you might know how important it is to have tools the right size and shape as the pieces you are working with. You might also know just how frustrating it is when those tools fall down the side of the couch and you can’t tighten any of the pieces anymore (is meccano still a thing or am I too much of a millenial?). 

Rowing’s pretty similar. 

Think of a boat and oars like one giant meccano set, the right tools and you’re happy playing but when you can’t find them, making adjustments (or just putting the riggers on) gets a bit tricky. 

Seeing as they don’t come pre-packaged with the box, what tools do you actually need for rowing?


Tool #1: 10 millimeter spanner

Make that 10x10mil spanners. These things are THE most useful in building your boat meccano set but often the most elusive. I’m convinced we have a 10mil eating gremlin at Rowing NZ. Top tip here is to name your 10mil friends, if they are named then sometimes the gremlin gives them back… sometimes. Also bonus points of you can get a ratchet version, makes things much faster and they are fun to play with. 


Tool #2: A 13 millimeter spanner

Absolutely key if you have a Filippi, these are easily the second most handy tool. They fit the nuts holding the gate bolt so if this isn’t tight your gate is going to get the wobbles in the water. Also a favourite of the tool eating gremlin at Rowing NZ but potentially not as tasty and not used QUITE as often as the 10mil. 


Tool #3: The concept 2 cross tool

This tool I have only discovered in the last few years but it combines 4 of the most essential tools for adjusting concept 2 oars into one tool. It’s a star, 6mil, 8mil and philips head all in one! If you use concepts GO AND GET ONE OF THESE! Extra awesome is the part that is sort of like a cone with a 6mil opening which lets you loosen/tighten the handle screw even if it’s threaded. The philips head can be used on the shoe screws #efficiency.


Tool #4: Tape measure

As athletes we use this mainly for oars but it’s often pinched to do gate heights and spans. Kind of self explanatory but very useful. Bonus tip is to get one with a thick metal tab at the end so you can hook it on the blade and it won’t ping off.This tends to make measuring the oars significantly easier to do by yourself. 


Tool #5: Electrical tape

Crazy handy ESPECIALLY at a regatta. Need to keep your backstays together? Name your oars? Decorate the rental van? Fix a ding in your boat? (obviously if its really bad don’t tape it up but you get the point). This stuff disappears fast so get lots! And if someone can find me some in the colour pink or purple hit me up, I’ve been trying to find some fun coloured tape rolls for years. 

So that’s it! My top 5 tools every rower needs in their toolkit. And If anyone finds the gremlin let me know, he has a few of my spanners!

RNZ Headshots

Jackie Kiddle

Jackie Kiddle has been a member of the NZ Rowing Team since 2017. She has won a World Rowing Championship Gold, Silver and Bronze in the LW2x and LW1x. Jackie also has a BSc and MSc(Research) from the University of Waikato.