College Sport

1970 Westlake Boys' High School Senior Rowing Eight

The Westlake Boys’ High School Rowing Society was first established in 1970 when a dedicated group of parents decided to assist a number of students who were keen to get involved in rowing. The Society was incorporated in 1991. From a small beginning of 8 rowers, the Westlake Boys’ Rowing Society has now grown to a typical size of 50-60 rowers per year – one of the largest and best known school squads in the country. Our vision is to create champion rowers and champion young men.

Rowing as a sport does not start until Year 9, so everyone is starting from scratch. Our Learn to Row course takes place during the winter, with training held at school in the purpose-built rowing gym and on a custom-made ‘learn to row’ barge at Lake Pupuke, after school during the week. After the boys have mastered the basics and are proficient at rowing, they progress to become a member of the U15/novice squad and begin their racing career in Term 4. Boys in the U15-U18 crews will train 6-8 times per week, before and after school and over the weekend. Training for these boys takes place both at school, at Lake Pupuke and out of the Hobsonville Point facility. All boys will be racing throughout Terms 1 and 4, mainly at Lake Karapiro and Lake Pupuke.

Westlake Boys’ Rowing has received many awards at the many regattas held throughout the rowing season, including the Maadi Cup Regatta, the annual national school championships held alternately at Lake Karapiro and Lake Ruataniwha in Twizel. Our first Maadi Cup win was in 1976 and then again in 1983 and 1984. In addition the school has won many medals in the different championship titles. In the 2017-18 season, our U18 coxless pair, Blake Bradshaw and Angus Shotter won the national championship at Maadi Cup. A list of secondary school rowing events can be found at

Athletes who started their rowing careers at Westlake and who progressed to represent New Zealand in successful crews include:

  • Sam Jones – U23 World Rowing Championships 2018, silver medallist in coxed four
  • Cameron Webster – current New Zealand representative in the Elite men’s eight squad
  • Michael Brake – current NZ representative in elite men’s pair, Olympian in Rio 2016 in the New Zealand men’s eight
  • Finn Howard– 2013 U23 World Rowing Championships – Gold in the Eight and 2010  Junior World Championships
  • Marty Davenport – 2013 Junior World Championships -Silver medal in the coxed quad
  • Mike Stanley –Gold Medallist at 1982, 1983 World Championships
  • Barrie Mabbott –Gold Medallist at 1983 World Championships
  • Andrew Hay – Coxswain of the 1982, 1983 Gold Medal-winning Eights at the World Championships
  • Eric Verdonk – Medallist at 1988 Olympics

For more information and plenty of updates about WBHS Rowing, check out our Facebook page –

Learn To Row Programme

Westlake Boys High School has a strong and popular learn to row programme (LTR), based at the North Shore Rowing Club on Lake Pupuke.

LTR takes place in Term 2/3 and culminates in a selection process. The programme is generally attended by Year 9 students, but boys in Years 10-12 are more than welcome to participate – the school rowing programme incorporates novice events specifically for these older first-year rowers.

The LTR sessions will take place at Lake Pupuke directly after school 2-3 times a week. While it is not necessary to attend every session, the boys are encouraged to do as much as possible so that they are well-prepared for the selection process in October. Students who play a winter sport should speak to the Director of Rowing.

During the LTR sessions students will:

  • Learn the names and functions of the various boat parts and oars.
  • Learn how to safely conduct yourself in the boat house and training area.
  • Master the basic rowing stroke firstly on the rowing machine (erg) and in the training barge/rowing boats
  • Learn how to correctly handle the training barge and rowing boats into and out of the water.
  • Learn how to row in crews in competitive boats
  • Learn what is physically required to become a competitive and successful rower.

What do I need to bring/wear?

  • Close fitting and warm exercise clothing (ideally thermals/lycra/skins) which won’t restrict movement.
  • Hat and Sunscreen.
  • Running shoes and socks.
  • Water bottle.

What’s next after Learn To Row?

On completion of the LTR programme, those selected attend the Spring Camp. Camp takes place at Lake Karapiro with the full WBHS rowing squad in attendance, so boys will have the opportunity to train against our senior rowers. Upon selection into the under-15/novice squad, boys will join the full WBHS rowing programme.

Westlake Boys High School puts much emphasis on its success in rowing. Positions in the squad are keenly sought after and the enthusiasm and dedication of the rowers and coaches are immense. Leading up to the North Island Champs and the Nationals, weekly training session times can add up to over 20 hours. The boys will attend the Spring training camp in October and the Summer training camp in January at Epworth, in order to prepare them for the racing season ahead. Here the boys will cement their technique, friendship and team spirit and learn what it really takes to adhere to disciplined hard work. Boys who row together at Westlake form life-long friendships.

Teacher in Charge: Miss N Marriott
Head Coach: Mrs J Shotter  

WBHS Rowing Health and Safety Manual_March 2018_(signed)