row2k Features
Trailer Trick: The Handle Handler
June 25, 2020
John FX Flynn

Time for a bit of a Rowing Hacker Confession: we don't make all of this up ­ and some of our most interesting Hacks are straight up, um, borrowed from way smarter folk.

On the borrowing front, our tried-and-true method is just to snap photos of the more interesting things we see at regattas (remember those?) and on visits to boathouse and boat yards around the rowing world (when traveling, that is ­was a thing). Nowadays, it is usually just a trip through the vast backlog of never-posted row2k photos that live on our hard drives.

Every once in a while, this not-so-scientific-method leads us to a photo like the subject of this week's hack: it looks like a neat idea, clearly took some hacking, and might well be an innovative game-changer we will see everywhere soon but, in all honesty, we have no idea what it is or does.

So, in these cases, we absolutely do just make something up­ and we hope you will enjoy this ride as we explore this must-be-clever-or-they-wouldna-done-it Trailer Trick: The Handle Handler.

This hack was discovered in the wild, as it were: a trailer mod we stumbled on in an empty boat yard, so there was no one around to ask. Not to worry, we will not let this lack of inside knowledge slow us down here.

The What here is pretty simple: a strip of deep-pile astroturf affixed to the back wall of the trailer bed. This was in the long bay of this trailer, the one the oars go in, so that makes us think that the Why of this Hack is to protect the handles of the oars once they are heaped into the bed and strapped down. The turf would be a pretty a pretty effective cushion between the metal of the trailer and the softer wood or more fragile plastic of the oar handles, eliminating in a single, super-lush non-blow the kind of wear and wearing-down that you find on handles that do a lot of trailer miles.

OR, it is for the blades, to keep the tips from banging against the trailer and these oars were just put in the wrong way? Sure, maybe, but frankly Handle Handler is just a way better title than Blade Buffer or Blade Bumper. Or is it? Perhaps we will have to check back and see if this enterprising Rowing Hacker ever winds up turfing BOTH sides of the oar bay on that trailer. Stay Tuned, Hack Fans.

All joking and wild speculating aside, this is clearly a rowing coach thinking outside the (trailer) box and looking for a way to do things just a bit better, which is the essence of a great Rowing Hack, no matter what its actual original purpose ­ plus, of course, you know we are big fans of using any tool or DIY material that has zero rowing applications and then using it to create one. I mean, astroturf? Really?? That is super well-hacked, Coach!

Have any theories on what this Hack does, or another idea we should mod onto our trailers? Share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.

Have a great rowing hack to suggest for future inclusion here? Send it to us!

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