Robbie Manson started rowing at Marlborough Boys’ College in Blenheim in 2003.
He moved to St Andrew’s College in Christchurch in 2007 before returning home and joining Central Rowing Performance Centre under the Wairau Rowing Club colours for the 2007/08 summer. This helped him earn a spot in his first New Zealand team with the U21 Youth Cup team. The following year was Robbie’s breakthrough season in which he was selected in the U23 men’s double sculls alongside Joe Sullivan. The duo blew their competition out of the water, winning by an impressive four seconds at the World Rowing U23 Championships in Racice, Czech Republic. Robbie then joined the men’s elite quad for 2010 and stroked the boat at the Olympic Games in London 2012, where they placed 7th.
Following the Olympics Games he made the switch to the elite men’s double sculls where he stayed through the next entire Olympic cycle. His highlights during that time include winning multiple World Rowing Cups and an impressive bronze medal with Chris Harris at the 2015 World Rowing Championships in Aiguebelette, France. The duo placed 11thin Rio, after which Robbie moved to the men’s single in 2017.
After returning from Rio Robbie had his sights firmly set on the men’s single sculls, and achieved selection for this class in 2017. He set the world alight when he won gold at the 2017 World Rowing Cup II in Poznan, Poland, in a new world-best time of 6:30.74. After remaining undefeated in the World Rowing Cup campaign, he finished in 5th place in Sarasota, Florida, at the World Rowing Championships. The following domestic summer saw the return of Olympic gold medalist Mahé Drysdale, which meant Robbie had to fight for his spot at home and at the World Rowing Cups in 2018. Robbie dominated at the World Rowing Cups, but again this impressive field kept him in 5th place at the World Rowing Championships.
In 2019 Robbie returned to the single and was able to qualify the boat for the Olympics, coming in at 7th at the World Rowing Championships.