It’s with a sense of wonder that I walk through the Payne Hall with its aged wood floors and high ceiling. Each photo lining the walls acknowledging the rich sporting history of Jeppe.

Why Are you here, I hear you ask? The reason is the launch of the book “History of Jeppe Rowing”.  This coffee table book of over 200 pages celebrates the history of Jeppe rowing from its inception.

While the weather was cold and most of the boys were on their way back to school from the annual Northwood sports and cultural tour, we gathered to hear Terry Marsh describe how his labour of love, supported by Greg Le Roux and the crew of ’64, is coming to fruition. The first Jeppe Rowing Old Boy Martin Maine who started rowing under the tutelage of Dr J.R.D. Tomlinson in 1958 was in attendance with his son Brian and members of the 1964 crew that Terry was a member of.

The energy behind the book is to raise funds for the future of rowing at Jeppe and to have a documented record of the rich history of rowing at the school. The hope is that the book, a full colour, hard cover coffee table edition, will be ready for distribution by the end of July.

The book talks about the beginnings of rowing in South Africa and then details school and specifically Jeppe rowing, beginning with the formation of the Jeppe Rowing Club in 1959 and taking a scenic journey through time, with the help of many past rowers and rowing captains, all the way to 2022.

The price of the book will be between R450 and R500 and anyone interested in sponsoring a page in the book can do so at the cost of R1,500 that will see the sponsors name at the bottom of the page and a complimentary copy of “History of Jeppe Rowing”.

To pre-order your copy of the book or to sponsor a page please CLICK HERE


The story of the addition of 13 new boats to the Jeppe Rowing fleet began with 5 eager Jeppe representatives sitting on an auction site in November 2020, bidding on pre-selected boats.

Still basking in the success of having purchased the new Swift Carbon Elite for the 1st VIII, the opportunity of acquiring a fleet of smaller boats in one sitting was a dream come true. With the help of the school, the dream became a reality and we walked away with 3 x 4+’s, 4 Pairs, 6 Skulls and their blades for R220k.  This was a bittersweet moment, as Jeppe Boats and Blades, we had accomplished a 5 + year plan in 1 day but it came at the expense of Bishop Bavin and its Rowing Club having to close their doors.

This Decision Tree reveals the path to ultimate happiness and in many ways should be seen as the mantra for Jeppe Old Boy Rowers.

What makes you Happy

Evidence of the impact that these boats have already made is that many of them contributed to the points tally at the 2022 SA Schools Rowing Championships that saw Jeppe come 2nd overall.  Take a minute to let that sink in… YES, a government school beat all but 1 school in the country in the most expensive school sport.  And YES, your support helped make this possible.

This achievement in itself is staggering, but this is not the whole story. Reflecting on what Jeppe Boats and Blades and the wider Jeppe Rowing Community has achieved in the last 2 years, in the midst of a global pandemic and challenging times, beggars belief.  Here are some notable achievements:

Purchased a new Swift Carbon Elite – R500k

Acquired 14 other boats (13 on auction and 1 gifted by an Old Boy) – R222K

Helped 3 Jeppe boys compete at events – 2 of them at international level – R45k

Launched the ‘Jeppe Rowing’ coffee table book with the crew of ‘64Established 2 Social Media forums for Jeppe Old Boy Rowers to re-connect and engage with the school and the sport that we all love (WhatsApp and Facebook).

This speaks volumes about who we are, and the school Motto ‘Forti nihil difficilius’ is as true for an Old Boy as it is for those wearing the black and white now. I for one am a proud Jeppe Old Boy Rower.


Like many, this weekend saw me glued to my laptop watching SA champs deliver nail biting finishes and results that made me proud to be a Jeppe Old Boy.

The rise of Jeppe Rowing over the past years has been nothing short of astonishing and it’s difficult to believe that only a few seasons ago, the club was hard pressed to enter crews into any race with confidence of even finishing the race.  It must be said that this was not due to the resolve of the crews themselves but rather the lack of race worthy equipment putting Jeppe Rowing in a dire situation.

Fast track to Jeppe coming second overall in this year’s SA Schools Championships and the question that must be asked is, ‘what’s changed’?  

My personal thought is that this is down to investment. Investment in people is paramount and throughout the years, this has been constant with the school and club investing in coaches, coaches investing in the oarsmen both as individuals and crews, and parents investing their time and money into their boys.

A key area of investment that was struggling was the need for good equipment for all age groups.     

The old boy community have risen to address this, helping make it possible for Jeppe as a government school to achieve second place at SA champs. The significance of this for the school and indeed the sport cannot be overstated.

Having achieved these results, we cannot not sit back and think that the job is done, the need for financial support will always be there. Jeppe Boats and Blades is a means through which you can invest in equipment to ensure Jeppe Rowing continues to flourish.  

I am pleased to announce that the results of the weekend we have already prompted a response and we have received the R2,000 needed to pay off a pair.  We felt it a fitting tribute that the U19 boys finishing this year should name the boat.  We still need R70k to pay off what we have already purchased, and all contributions are welcome.  Section 18A tax certs are available to those who require these.   

To find out about the “Adopt a Boat” scheme and other ways to contribute please do get in touch with us.



Those who know the story of Jeppe Boats and Blades will know that in 2020, in the midst of COVID lockdowns and worldwide uncertainty, the Jeppe Rowing Community comprising of current and former oarsmen, coaches, parents and the school were able to acquire 15 Boats for the club, including Damascus, the new 8+.

There have been many successful initiatives in the past to acquire equipment, but I do not believe any of them have had the support from the wider Jeppe rowing community many of whom are living in other countries.

In addition to acquiring equipment, we have seen the community thrive, with the WhatsApp group being the most recent epicentre of this.  If you are not on the group yet and would like to join, please let me know.

Together we have all been able to celebrate the amazing results that Jeppe is achieving in the current season.  The ingredients that make this success possible is the grit of our oarsmen, the commitment of the coaches and the unwavering support from parents and family.

The old boy community has also played a part by purchasing equipment that makes it possible for these crews to compete at the highest level.

But there is still work to do.  We still need R72k to pay off the last of the boats purchased in 2020 and, if we want Jeppe to continue to grow the club and stay on its current upward trajectory, there will always be the need for financial support.  

Boat Barometer as at Jan 2022

So where do we start and how can you help?  That’s a great question, and I am glad you asked.

Let’s start by paying off the 2nd pair that is shown in the boat barometer (above) with 1 gold and 1 silver seat.  We only need R2k to pay this off, lets aim to have this paid off by SA champs in a weeks’ time.  

If you are able to purchase a boat outright at R10k a seat, that’s amazing, we have had several people support the club in this way. You can also make a monthly contribution of R100 to the club safe in the knowledge that 100% of your money will go towards equipping the crews.

Remember, its not about how much you are able to give but that you are part of Jeppe Rowing success.   With more race worthy boats, more boys will get the opportunity to experience rowing for themselves. 

Together we can make this happen please contact me to get more info on any of this

Section 18A Tax certs available

If you’ve watched any of the interviews we have done as Boats and Blades, you will know that one of the key questions we ask is: ‘What impact has rowing had on your adult life’?  Without exception, we have heard the positive life lessons people have learnt as oarsmen.

With 2021 drawing to an end, many will be feeling battered after a tough year. Using the analogy of a race, I want to share a life lesson that rowing taught me and hope it will encourage you. The life lesson I want to share is Finishing Strong.

As oarsmen, we know the feeling of being at the starting line, anxiously awaiting the umpire’s starting orders. This is followed by an explosion of power as you work on getting the boat moving.  In a very short period of time, every part of your body testifies to the fact that you are now racing, and there is no thought of pausing until you cross that finish line.  

Regardless of the distance, or how many pushes you’ve had over the course of the race, it is often the last 300 meters (only 30 strokes) that determine the outcome of your race. With this in mind, coxswains the world over know that no-matter how tough the race has been, the crew would rather give more, than regret being pipped at the post. So, regardless of the pain, every oarsman responds to the call for the final push, and no matter what the outcome, there is a deep satisfaction that comes from knowing that you gave it your all. 

This is as true in life as it is in rowing, and I am grateful that even in the hard times I can draw on this analogy.

As testimony to finishing strong, I want to thank everyone who has been a part of the JBB story over the past 2 years.  We are seeing and hearing that the success of the JBB initiative is getting attention from the wider rowing community. What it speaks of is the fact that when a group of like-minded people come together, there is very little that can stand in their way.

Many will already know that it is our mission to make Jeppe Rowing a leading force in school rowing and making it possible for every boy at Jeppe to experience the sport through the provision of good equipment and support. If this year has shown us anything, it is that everyone’s contribution counts, no matter the amount.

If 2021 was a race, the result is one we can be proud of.  In the context of JBB, we have funds and commitments that have allowed us to pay back over 65% of the loan for the 13 boats purchased at the end of 2020, we have seen the community grow in terms of numbers and engagement and are well on the way to having a keepsake coffee table book that will represent the collective experience of Jeppe Rowing over the decades.  

Thank you


Many people in the Jeppe Rowing Community will be aware of the opportunity given to name the 4+ that was paid for through their contributions.  This is the first 4+ in the fleet that has been paid for through collective contributions and at R40,000 (R10,000 a seat) this is a significant achievement.   

For the boat naming challenge, a total of 14 great options were submitted.  The votes determined that the boat is be named Sgian-dubh after the small, single-edged knife worn as part of traditional Scottish Highland dress. The blade is traditionally tucked into the top of the kilt hose with only the upper portion of the hilt visible and is normally worn on the same side as the dominant hand.

It’s not the first time a Jeppe boat has been named Sgian-dubh and there are fond memories of the first John Waugh, J Shape scull that was purchased in the 1995/96 season that bore the same name. The name also serves as a reminder of the strong connection that Jeppe Rowing has with the Jeppe Pipe Band.

Looking at the boat Barometer below you will note that the community are now also well on the way to paying for the first seat of a pair (silver seat shown on the boat barometer). We are putting out a challenge to raise R12,000 to pay for this boat by Christmas. Once paid for, the pair will also be put forward for naming.

Should you want to find out more about what we are about and how to get involved please contact us on the same email address or visit the website or contact us, if you don’t have details you can simply email



In my pre-Gauteng champs’ article, I spoke about the steady rise of Jeppe Rowing (read here) and spoke about the clubs quest for podium position.

The crews delivered this result at the Gauteng Champs held last weekend where the boy’s school table placed Jeppe second overall: 

  • St Benedict’s (602 points)
  • Jeppe (292 points)
  • St Stithians (270 points)
  • St John’s (261 points)
  • St Albans (190 points)
  • KES (184 points)
  • Parktown (138 points)

There are several remarkable achievements here.  The first being that with St Benedict’s domination of the sport over recent years through the number of crews they are able to put on the water.  It would be fair to say that second overall place is really the new first place with competition being for this position.  Having achieved second place, Jeppe are not only on the podium at this point in the season but are also in a leading position.

The other notable achievement is the fact that the club has shown that government schools are still a force to be reckoned with.

First VIII rowing up to the start in Damascus sporting their new trisuits

A further encouragement is the way the global Jeppe Rowing Community is supporting the club.  Simon Moore’s (Director of Jeppe Rowing) reporting and pictures from the water edge via the WhatsApp group is invaluable in keeping the community up to date with real time results. This is being responded to with active engagement from Old Boys going from strength to strength.

Evidence of the impact that the community’s contribution to equipment is making is that of the 292 points awarded to Jeppe, 95 points came from boats acquired through the JBB initiative. Here are the details:

BoatNo of placementsPoints Awarded
JRD Tomlinson217
Unnammed 2x526
  Total Points95

You will note that there is an unnamed pair that did very well.  This boat is still up for adoption and naming. If you would like more info on the adoption process or how you can get involved, please get in touch with us at



Over this coming weekend Jeppe crews will be testing their metal against other schools at the Gauteng School and Junior Rowing Championships.  The event will be held at VLC due to continued contaminated water issues at Roodeplaat dam.

Regardless of venue, the weekend is set to hold some exciting racing. As usual, we invite you to follow the results of the Jeppe crews on the Jeppe Rowing Old Boys WhatsApp group.  If you are not signed up to this yet and would like to join, please send us your mobile number ( ) and we will get you set up. You can also watch the action of day 2 live on this link: .

After the great results achieved by Jeppe crews last weekend we can be sure that the weekend will deliver some exciting racing.  It will also be the first time since the expansion of Jeppe’s boat fleet that there will be an overall school ranking and given the fantastic progress made, we are hoping that the club achieves a podium position.  

The journey to getting back onto the podium as a school has been a steady one and records from the South African Schools Rowing union (SASRU) show the progress made.  Given the current results it’s difficult to believe that in 2013 Jeppe was placed 13th out of 15 boys’ schools competing at SA Champs. Since then, the club has shown a steady improvement and by 2017 Jeppe was placed 6th

By 2020, Jeppe was placed 4th overall with only 7 points separating them from a 3rd position and 14 points for 2nd, making the school the highest-ranking government boys’ school in the country.  Further evidence of a remarkable comeback that the school and its oarsmen can be proud of.  

As part of this, Jeppe is well represented in the 2021 Gauteng Champs with 38 crews competing in the 58 races (primarily heats at this stage) in the boy’s school category. We look forward to cheering all the teams on.


Jeppe Boats and Blades (JBB) are excited to announce that the Jeppe Rowing community has paid for one of the 4’s we acquired for the Rowing Club.

This is the first boat in the fleet that has been paid for through collective contributions. At R40,000 (R10,000 a seat) this is a significant achievement and makes a positive impact on the overall payment of the fleet.  The community are now also well on the way to paying for the first seat of a pair (silver seat shown on the boat barometer).

We are grateful for your continued support and in recognition of this, we are opening up the naming of the 4.

We are calling on suggestions of a suitable name for the boat. In keeping with tradition, boats are often named after blades, but should you want to submit alternative names, these will be considered.

Please send your suggestions to We will collate them and present a selection of these back to you to vote on.

This is a great way to engage with Jeppe Rowing and we look forward to your proposed names.

Should you want to find out more about what we are about and how to get involved please contact us on the same email address or visit the website



The Homestead Knockout Regatta that took place over the weekend of the 9/10 October 2021 was significant for a number of reasons. In addition to getting the season underway and the first regatta that some of the oarsmen had participated in, it was also the inaugural regatta for Damascus.

Jeppe oarsmen came to the regatta straight from their October camp with many of the crew selections taking place in the week. Looking at the results, it’s clear that the coaches have done a great job in selecting the crews and seat positions. The 1st 8 crew were no exception and the newly formed crew delivered. 

After a convincing win against St Johns in the heats the 1st 8 went through to the finals where they came second being narrowly beaten by St Benedict’s.

Jeppe Rowing looks to be well placed for a remarkable season and we look forward to supporting them.