If you have a coxswain in your life, it’s a safe bet that life is never dull. It’s amazing how much personality – and volume – you can pack into a tiny frame. All that sass and shoutiness needs to be regularly rewarded with generous gifts, though. This is where I come in. Here’s my exceptionally well-informed Christmas gift guide for coxes. You’re welcome.
1. Cox box, from OarSport, from £465
I’m going to go right out there with the extravagant present first, because let’s face it, this would make your cox JUST. SO. HAPPY. No more fighting over the best cox box. No more last-minute panics before a race when someone has swapped the cox box your pint-sized wonder had so carefully selected with the crappy one everybody KNOWS has a dodgy connection. Be aware, though, that if you are going to splash out on a cox box, you’ll need lots of extras like a perfectly-fitting headset, a case and a charger, but hey, that sorts out the aunties and uncles who are looking for suggestions.
Note: this is probably not a gift for a novice cox, by the way. All the gear and no idea, etc..
2. Event torrential jacket, from Crewroom, £199
There is nothing more miserable than getting wet when you’re coxing, but the problem with most fully waterproof kit is that it’s either ugly or sweaty or both. This jacket – also available for women – is waterproof but also breathable and pretty nice looking. Consider sizing up to give them room for the 15 layers they’ll need to wear underneath on a chilly day.
3. Classic bum bag, from Gaynor Sports, £15 (currently reduced to £9.99)
Most rowers have no idea how many bits and pieces coxes carry around, especially on race day. You’re expected to produce, at a moment’s notice, any of the following (in addition to your race number, course map and weight certificate): rigger jigger, washers, safety pins, plasters, hair elastics, tissues, sweets, lip balm, painkillers… and so it goes on. A decent bum bag is essential. This one is considerably more attractive than most (and you can get it in a larger size if you have a really conscientious cox who considers my list to be just entry level).
4. Sheepskin wellies, by Thorn & Field, £92
A cold cox is an unhappy cox, and you’ll know, if you share your life with a coxswain, how bad an unhappy cox is for everybody concerned. These beauties will make her (and with this one it’s probably going to be her rather than him) warm and, consequently, sweet and delightful. Obviously not for wearing in the boat (you do know that, coxes, don’t you?) but off the water it’s a different story. Imagine her skipping happily around on race day, with her feet dry and warm and comfortable. Worth every penny.
5. Waterproof gloves, by Sealskinz, £35 (reduced to £17.50 until midday on 9th December)
These are on my own Christmas list, as it happens, as I consider them to have all the properties of a perfect coxing glove. Waterproof. Breathable. Windproof. Thin enough to feel the wires. A bit of grip. Even touchscreen-friendly fingers. I’ve been faffing around with inadequate gloves for a while now and have become convinced of the need to upgrade. If your pocket rocket already has great gloves, I’m sure pretty much anything on the Sealskinz site would do instead. It’s all fab.
So that’s the presents for your miniature dynamo sorted. And if he or she goes nuclear this Christmas, at least it won’t be the fault of the gifts.