Zach & Jerry: It’s all about having “Fun!”

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Two blokes embark on a journey to learn, share and include others in experiencing the wonders of ocean surf ski paddling, captured through entertaining videos.

There’s no better feeling than the tingle of the wind on your neck, the taste of salt on your lips and spray peppering your face while riding ocean swells. Total euphoria; this is downwind paddling.

Since our first appearance in 2019, the Zach and Jerry T.E.A.M. has been making waves. Whatever the weather, you’ll find us on the ocean. Join us in experiencing a unique lifestyle, paddling, traveling, making new friends and embodying the true meaning of ‘FUN’ for our sport surf ski.

Humble Beginnings

2019, Fish Hoek beach, Cape Town, on an overcast and cold day, Zach, had just found out that his friend wasn’t going to make the race 5min before the starters whistle. Disappointed he was about to call it a day when Jeremy Valerga skidded into the parking lot. He dashed over to his boat rack. It was at this moment, Zach called out,” Jeremy howzit mate, want to go in the double for the race? “

Without hesitation and a quick arm flick Jeremy’s ski slid back into its rack. “Why not man! Let’s go!” They paddled exceptionally well together and bonded well, sparking a friendship that would strengthen tenfold.

A few weeks later, both friends ventured onto the icy winter waters for their first millers run together and had a brilliant brainwave to film it. The paddling community loved the video, which inspired them to persevere and make another video. Then another and another.

Fast forward to 2020, following continued success, everything was made official. The Zach & Jerry brand was established. Now Z&J have become a household name amongst the paddling community; with a thriving YouTube channel showcasing thrilling downwind videos, a new series called “Friends of Z&J,” races and more. Sharing in their adventures with others overseas and connecting with communities, growing the sport and their big family.

Their story has only begun; Zach & Jerry is here to stay.

Our goal is to share the spirit, the gees (Afrikaans for energy/liveliness) of surf ski paddling and embody the true meaning of having fun. We chose the acronym T.E.A.M. to be our moVo and it sums up what we’re all about and the message we strive to live by.
Together Everyone Achieves More.”

My name is Zach. The young, upbeat, and long-haired guy in his 20’s who loves seeking out new adventures. Being part of the Zach & Jerry team isn’t my full-time job but certainly fills my free time with immense joy. I’m a surf ski coach and spend my days nurturing newcomers, intermediate level paddlers and individuals who aspire in becoming pro-athletes. If I’m not coaching, you can find me indulging myself in my hobbies; film making & editing, calisthenics, yoga, and music.

I’ve been paddling for more than 10 years now and along the way I have been blessed to have many other interests and passions:

  • Springbok Scout (Highest Scouting Award in RSA)
  • National Colours for Marathon Canoeing
  • Senior Lifeguard at Fish Hoek Surf Lifesaving Club (Completed 10 years of voluntary service)
  •  Duke of Edinburgh Award
  • Country representative at the Peace summit for the 70th Anniversary of the Atomic Bombingsin Nagasaki, Japan.

Hi, the name’s Jerry; 25 going on 49 and FEELING GREAT!!

It’s probably hard to believe that I too have a day job. I’m a landscaping contractor and have run my own company JJ Landscapes since 1999. I started dabbling in paddling at age 25 and spent a lot of time swimming next to my boat! For the last 10 years I’ve taken it more seriously and can’t believe how awesome this sport is. The more skilled you become, the more you can call most sea conditions your “playground”.

I also enjoy trail running, cycling, and swimming. I particularly enjoy working on my lathe making wooden bowls in my spare time and I strumming a tuneful melody on my guitar.

Meeting Zach and starting our terrific journey together has been an honour and a privilege. We relish in sharing the “stoke” of surf ski paddling and encouraging others to be their best, whether it be paddling socially, for health and fitness or racing.

Get out there and LIVE LIFE MAN!