I’m 5’9″ but weigh just a pound more than a boy’s coxswain. I’ve been asked several times if I cox guys and it’s sort of started making me think about making a switch which is utterly ridiculous cause of my height but coxing looks soooo interesting but at the same time … ROWING! Do you see my problem?
I do see what might be a problem but it’s actually not one at all. Are coxswains stereotypically short? Yes. Being short isn’t technically a requirement of coxing although it does make sitting in that tiny seat a lot more comfortable. The main requirement is your weight and how close you are to racing weight. We’re dead weight no matter how you look at it and obviously you want to have as little “dead weight” in the boat as possible.
Zach Vlahos (third from the right) is the current coxswain of the USA Men’s 8+ and he’s 5’9″ and 121lbs, which is the international racing weight for men. In college if you cox men the minimum is 125lbs so if you’re under that or up to 128-130ish, making the switch wouldn’t be that ridiculous.
If it’s something you want to try, talk to your coach about it. If you end up not liking it at least you can say you tried. If you end up liking it and wanting to switch over, who’s to say you can’t still row? Your coaches might tell you to pick one for the season, which is understandable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still do the other. If you’ve got a local rowing club near you that hosts learn to row or adult recreational leagues, you could get your feet wet with coxing there and use the rest of the summer and fall season to get your bearings, learn the how-to’s, etc. and then transition to coxing full-time with your team in the spring.