For those who love all things rowing and social media, the Just Rowing brand will be very familiar. However, those of us unlucky enough not to hold these two passions in equal measure, Just Rowing is one of those rare things: an extremely popular social media brand that is all about rowing! We at Adé Lang know a fellow rowing geek when we see one and so we had to find out more.
Rowing can be - and pls excuse the pun - a dry subject, but Andres Hernandez the founder of Just Rowing, has caught the imagination of the world wide rowing community and beyond. Posts on his Just Rowing Instagram page, where Andres shares photographs of people training and rowing around the world, genuinely tell a rowing story. With every shot, he conveys the hard work, tough training regimes of winning athletes and somehow also captures the context of our daily lives. Even as I sit and write, somebody, somewhere is putting in the miles.
Given the diaspora of contributors, it would not unreasonable to assume that Andres must be based slap-bang in the middle of the rowing scene. Surely he boats from Henley on Thames, or Boston, Hamburg, or Amsterdam?
Errrr, no. Andres lives in Mexico City. Yes, Mexico - not the most obvious home for a rowing enthusiast, or so I thought. “ I was doing sport almost all of my life”, Andres told me. He had played football for a number of years at school and then at high school he competed in athletics. “I was really good and then for the first time I found rowing”. Andres explained, “I tried to combine the two sports but I really like rowing.”
The rowing bug has well and truly bitten Andres and he now combines training with studying politics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Andres spends a lot of time rowing. You only have to talk to him for a few minutes before you catch his enthusiasm for the sport. “I want to row at the Olympics [in Tokyo].” This is quite an ambition for a young man from a place with only a handful of rowing clubs in the whole country but I have no doubt Andres will do it.
Andres Hernandez and the UNAM crew
As Andres explained to me, rowing in Mexico is not very popular. “I want to promote the rowing in Mexico but I looked and we don’t have a lot of things [in rowing] to promote”. Just Rowing was born. With a goal to promote rowing in his own country, Andres turned to the rest of the world for inspiration. Over the last five years he has worked with a partner in Brazil Lucas Verthein and a fellow countryman Santiago Kurt to build up the Just Rowing brand and its number of followers. Andres’ network is not to be underestimated. Last summer it enable him to travel around Europe visiting the great and the good of European rowing as guests of his Just Rowing followers.
This experience revealed to Andres that rowing, training and racing is not the same around the world and it gave a further purpose to pushing his Just Rowing brand. “ My goal”, he revealed, “is to show everyone that rowing is not the same thing around the world.”
Andres is not taking the success of Just Rowing for granted. This is only the beginning of the story and he is pushing his rowing enthusiasm further and further into the digital landscape. There is already a YouTube channel, a facebook page and with his ambitions to row at the Tokyo Olympics, another Instagram feed @project_tokyo_america. This one follows athletes from the Americas on their road to Tokyo. This year there are plans for a blog that reveals the life of a full time athlete, showing the sacrifices that have to be made to reach the top of the rowing tree. There will also be more video blogs, more travel and of course more rowing!
Project Tokyo America
It was Andres’ drive and initiative that first caught the eye of Adé Lang and his enthusiasm is certainly uplifting. With the style and design of Adé Lang and Andres vision for the future of Just Rowing, our collaboration is going from strength to strength. We have lots of plans to work together in 2018 so watch this space.