After announcing the establishment of a new rowing centre in New York City last year, TopRow has decided to expand into the UK market by opening a rowing centre in London. This will be a collaborative project with the prestigious London Rowing Club (LRC), which was founded in 1856 for the purpose of promoting rowing on the River Thames.
“It all happened pretty much by coincidence. In response to an article on our rowing centre in New York City, which had been published on the Dutch rowing website NLroei, someone sent me an email regarding business opportunities in London. – Rowing is a very popular sport in England and many people are looking for a gateway to rowing. We believe that we provide an easy access to the sport with our unique concept of offering private rowing lessons”, says Jasper Smink, owner of TopRow company, which has its headquarters in Amsterdam.
London Rowing Club
After a short time contact was established with London Rowing Club (LRC), which is situated on Putney Embankment, where the famous Boat Race between Oxford and Cambridge starts. LRC is the second-oldest of non-academic active rowing clubs in London and one of the founders of the oldest regatta in the world, the Henley Royal Regatta. Smink says: “We are looking forward to work with LRC and I believe the Club’s board is interested in benefiting from our collaboration.”
The founder of TopRow, has successfully taken over ‘Roeicentrum Berlagebrug’ in Amsterdam four years ago and believes that he and his team of employees offer what it takes to make the London establishment a big success. “We’re going to hire spaces in the boathouse of LRC. Chances are high that LRC will benefit from the collaboration in the future since clients might choose for a membership with them – in Amsterdam we regularly see that people transfer to one of the clubs after they have picked up rowing with us.”
Smink is convinced that there is a growing market for rowing in London. “Rowing is already well-known in England – much more than in the Netherlands. Kids grow up with the sport during school. That makes a big difference. If you are looking for an easy access to this incredibly beautiful sport then the concept of enrolling for a certain number of rowing lessons should work perfectly – minimizing all your efforts to simply showing up for the lesson and enjoy the sport.”
More locations to come
TopRow’s ambition is to expand to other cities within Europe. “I think we have a great concept, which we can also implement elsewhere. Nevertheless, we will start by evaluating if our rowing centres in London and New York operate successfully. Key to maintaining standards and delivering high quality rowing lessons is training new instructors thoroughly. It’s important that we explain and show how we work at our headquarters in Amsterdam. We are even planning an exchange of our instructors so that our London instructors can do an internship in Amsterdam before they start in London.”
Opening end of July 2018
TopRow London will open its doors and offer lessons from the end of July 2018 onwards. People can row on Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays. Lessons are offered for beginners and more experienced rowers. You can also book private lessons and row in a single to improve your rowing technique as much as possible. TopRow will use the safe and stable rowing shells of Liteboat. Safety is important at the Thames because it is, due to the tide and currents, one of the most challenging stretches of water. Therefore, TopRow makes safety a top priority. You can find more information on our website.