Learn to row

The Learn to Row Programme provides a taster for Takapuna Grammar School and Belmont Intermediate School students to experience rowing or coxing at Takapuna Grammar School Rowing club.

We had an amazing season last year, achieving 22 bronze medals, 23 silver medals and 11 gold medals, including podium finishes and gold medals at both the North Island Secondary School Championships and the Maadi Cup National Rowing Championships, and we are now opening our doors to recruit for the 2018/19 season.

Our Learn to Row programme runs over three months, and includes one on water session, one Erg session and one fitness session a week, and all training will be led by our experienced and qualified coaching team.  

The first training session of our programme is Saturday 2nd June, with the final session being Saturday 25th August . We appreciate that some students will have winter sport commitments during this time, and this will not preclude anyone from being selected into our 2018/19 competitive squad.

What are we looking for?


We are looking for year 8 to year 12 students from both Belmont Intermediate School and Takapuna Grammar School who are enthusiastic and have a willingness to learn. Rowing is a physical endurance sport, which requires commitment, teamwork, discipline, strength, technique and fitness.


This is a very important role and requires a very special kind of person who would be able to commit to at least two and preferably more seasons. We are looking for competitive boys and girls with leadership skills.

They need to be small (under 55kg) but with a big personality, to stay calm under pressure, motivate and take control of older, bigger athletes.

This represents an amazing and exciting opportunity for young people to be involved in this wonderful sport at all levels in a very unique role.

Why Row?

Rowing is a fantastic team sport and will help you develop fitness and strength. There are lots of trips away including Rotorua, Mangakino and Cambridge for races and training camps, and Lake Karapiro for major regattas including the North Island Secondary Schools Champs (NISS) and on alternative years Lake Ruataniwha in the South Island for Maadi (NZ Secondary School Champs).

 Rowing can make you fitter and stronger for next year’s winter sport season.

Our Coaching Team

The coaching team is made up of Eric Verdonk (Head Coach), Mike Tolhurst, Adrian Riepen, Kevin Herbison, Katie Halliday and Alex Davey.

All of our coaching team are experienced rowers, coxswains and coaches, and all have represented their club at national finals, and some have represented New Zealand and won medals at both the Rowing World Championships and the Olympic Games.

All of our coaches are fully qualified first aiders, and all are also qualified to drive our coach and safety boats and use VHF's when out on the water.

The aim of our coaches is to produce an athlete centred environment that all of our Crew Members enjoy, as well as helping all of our rowers and coxswains to maximise their potential.

Our role is to support all of our Crew Members to develop self-belief, and the life skills of teamwork, responsibility, time management, self-directed learning and motivation in addition to introducing them to the sport of rowing.


The cost for the Learn to Row programme is $300. This fee is payable in the first week of June, and is non refundable. If you continue beyond the programme and choose to join the club for the 2018/19 season, $200 will be deducted from your full subscription.

We are providing a free Have a Go session for those that want to see what we are all about on Saturday 26 May at our Rowing Performance Centre in Bayswater, after this names will be confirmed and parents will need to pay the $300 fee for the Learn to Row Programme.

What does the Learn to Row programme involve?

  • Safety information
  • Be introduced to rowing terminology and equipment
  • Learning how to carry and launch a boat
  • Practice getting in and out of the boat
  • Learning the fundamentals of the rowing stroke
  • Training out on the water in our learner boats to start with, moving to rowing in our competition boats with some of our senior Crew Members and  progressing to rowing out in Learn to Row crews in our competition boats.
  • Work on overall fitness

Learn to Row Training Schedule