Robbie Manson started rowing at Marlborough Boys’ College in Blenheim in 2005.
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 alongside Joe Sullivan. The duo blew their competition out of the water, winning by an impressive four seconds at the 2009 World Rowing U23 Championships in Racice, Czech Republic. Robbie also competed in the same field again a year later with his brother - Karl Manson. He then joined the Men’s Elite Quad in the same year in 2010, he solidified his spot in the boat 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 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 11th in 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, 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 season 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. At the end of 2020, Robbie took a break from rowing coming back in 2022.
Robbie has a staggering Nineteen Premier National Titles, most of which were won with Wairau Rowing Club. But in his latest results this year, he won the Premier Men's Quad and Double at the 2023 NZ National Rowing Championship with Waikato Rowing Club. Robbie's impressive comeback has earned him a spot in the 2023 Elite Men's Sculling Squad. Robbie teamed up with young gun Ben Mason in the Elite Men's Double, at the 2023 World Rowing Cup III in Lucerne, Switzerland - claiming 6th in the A-Final for the newly formed crew. An outstanding result with a lot of potential for the duo pushing forward to the World Championship.
Off the water, Robbie is an online coach and PT. He was a full-time coach at Westend Rowing Club in 2021-2022. Robbie has two brothers, he has won multiple National Titles and represented NZ with younger brother Karl Manson. Robbie's mother Kaye Surgenor, is a NZ representative coach and Father Greg Manson, represented NZ in the Lightweight single at the 1985 World Champs.