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.



South Africa Schools Rowing Union > Home

Homestead Regatta

The club attended the Homestead regatta in Benoni held on the 19th of February 2022. This was a junior regatta only ( u14 and u15). Despite heavy delays due to lightning and rain, the club completed all their races and gained valuable regatta experience which will stand them in good stead with years to come. Unfortunately, there were no overall club points calculated by the officials at the regatta but the juniors achieved the following results:

U15C 1x 1st and 4th
U15B 1x 2nd , 4th and 9th
U14 B 2x 2nd
U14 B 8X 5th
U15 A 1x 10th and 12th
U14 B 1x 1st, 2nd and 3rd
U14 A 1x 3rd, 4th, 10th and 11th
U14 C 4x 4th
U14 B 4x 9th
U14 A 4x 2nd and 8th
U15 B 4x 1st and 6th
U15 A 4x 8th
U15 A 2x 3rd and 5th
U15 A 8x 5th

Congrats to all the athletes and coaches on a great regatta!

SA Champs Prelude

SA Champs will be held on 4, 5, 6 March at Victoria Lake, Germiston as Roodeplaat is unfortunately still suffering from the hyacinth issue. The club is particularly excited to race the 1st SASRU SA Champs since March 2020. To put it in perspective, boys who are currently racing in the u19 age group were in u15 when they last raced at SA Schools Champs. This year we are entering 13 u14 crews, 12 u15 crews, 8 u16 crews, 4, 2nd team, and 7 1st team crews to total 44 crew entries from Jeppe. The club has shown growth compared to the 2020 SA Champs where there were 37 crews entered. With many schools having lost big rowing numbers due to COVID and therefore having fewer entries in 2022 compared to 2020, our club is especially proud that we were able to grow numbers and put bums on seats despite the COVID related difficulties. The main contributor to this was the JBB fund raising initiative which purchased additional boats and equipment, allowing the club to accommodate more athletes.
We are very excited for the upcoming championship and hope to see as many Jeppe supporters on the banks of VLC as possible!

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

With Omicron numbers increasing at the rate of knots and South Africa experiencing one of the wettest Summers I can remember it really was touch and go as to whether this January Orkney camp would go ahead. I have never known so much about the water level of the Vaal Dam or how many sluice gates were open as I do now. Thank goodness, even though the Jetty at Orkney was under water it was decided it was still safe for the boys to train on the river. So, on Tuesday 04 January 66 boys, 9 coaches and 8 camp Moms set off to what has become hallowed ground for Jeppe Rowing.

After a 2.5-hour bus drive in the heat, the boys hit the ground running and made short work of setting up their tents, had a quick lunch and it was straight into a very intense 1km or 2km erg trial. Let’s just say that not everyone managed to hold onto their lunch, but I am told that this is normal and had nothing to do with my cooking abilities. This level of intense training continued throughout the next few days with water sessions starting at 5am and some finishing only at 7pm. If they were not on the water, they were on the ergo only stopping to consume 10kgs of bacon and 150 eggs for breakfast and 20kgs of meat for dinner. And not to mention the numerous blisters that needed to be lanced and cleaned.

I now understand where the brotherhood in this club starts, it is at Orkney. Even though the training was next level there was still time for the seniors to make sure the traditions were passed onto the juniors and to make sure that they felt part of this great club. The induction ceremony for the new U14 rowers brought all the Mom’s and even some of the Dad’s to tears. It is an incredibly special and touching tradition, and it is I believe the foundation of the Jeppe Rowing Club.

Last but by no means least I got to experience firsthand the passion and dedication of Simon Moore and his amazing team of coaches, they went above and beyond to make sure that these boys were not only physically prepared for the season but that they become one team from the youngest academy rower to the oldest senior rower. Never has the term “you are only as strong as your weakest link” been more apt as in one short camp, I could see lifelong bonds being formed.

The entire experience for a spectator was amazing but for the boys involved it was life changing and I have no doubt it will form the basis of many a story that is shared in the future. I must admit that I enjoyed every minute and if they will have me, I will definitely be back next year. However, one of my favorite moments was the Coaches vs 1st 8 race on the Saturday evening. Below is the link to the video of the race that sparked very many debates but all I kept hearing was “a win is a win.”

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


The SASRU Boat Race Challenges …

“That once each year, the gentlemanly pride of each of South Africa’s leading schools for boys
convene at an agreed venue in a trial of strength and wits,
to participate in a race for eight-oared boats over a distance of six-and-one-third kilometres.”

“That once each year representative ladies from South Africa’s leading schools for girls
convene at an agreed venue in a trial of strength and wits,
to participate in a quadruple sculls race over a distance of four-and-one-half kilometres”

The SASRU Schools Boat Race takes place in response to the “Boat Race Challenge”

That once each year …

The SASRU BOAT RACE takes place on a suitable Saturday as close to the first weekend, as possible in December. This falls early in the school holidays of all provincial and independent schools – towards the middle of the South African rowing season when schools’ should be nearing the end of the endurance-training and strength-training part of the season, before the 2000m sprints season which culminates in the Schools’ Rowing Championships in March.

The pride of South Africa’s schools …

When the BOAT RACE started in 2000 there were ten South African schools that rowed eights. All but one of these participated in the inaugural BOAT RACE in Cape Town in 2000. The Girls race was introduced in 2001.

A race for eight-oared boats …

Entries are confined to each school’s First VIII and First Quad. Composite crews are not permitted, however Schools that do not normally row eights/quads are nevertheless invited to put together an eight/quad for the SA SCHOOLS BOAT RACE. The Challenge is an event for schools only.
As for the annual SA Universities Boat Race, the race takes the form of a head-race, to determine “pairings” (with the two fastest crews going to the A-Final; the next two to the B-Final etc). Once “pairings” have been determined, the Challenges are issued by the Captains and two-boat racing over the same course and distance determines the winner and final rankings.

At an agreed venue.

The original idea was that the SA Schools Boat Race should be hosted in turn by the four main rowing provinces at a local provincial venue selected by the host province. However, after the first SA Schools Boat Race in Cape Town, the second in Port Alfred was so successful, that it is was believed the race should alternate between these two venues. Currently the BOAT RACE takes place at Port Alfred each year, this venue has become the traditional Boat Race venue since 2001. 

Floating Trophies

Four magnificent Boat Race Floating Trophies have been provided:

  • for the winning school eight and quad
  • for the second-placed school eight and quad


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