A little about Ash

I had to have a wee chat with his mum Raanj about this.  In short, Ash started paddling when he could hold a paddle.  And did his first sprint nationals at the age of five years old.  He has a pretty impressive paddling, and sports resume.  Just facebook stalk him or google him to find out more lol.

What drives you to do your best?

The thought of making my family/friends proud of my achievements and to become better than the day before

Whats your approach to training? and Race day?

My approach to training is dependent on time because I work random hours.  I don’t have a big ritual for training or racing.  My approach to a race will be just making sure I am ready and knowing what I need to do.

Is there anything you are afraid of and if yes how do you deal with it?

Not that I know of just yet haha

What are your top 3 tips for performing at your best?

My 3 tips are pretty basic and everyone should know them.

1. Focus on technique a lot.

2. Train smart not hard

3. Have fun with it


It’s not easy talking about oneself so thanks Ash for having the courage to share what you have.

I remember Ash doing the James Moore Memorial 35km coast run when he was about  about 14 or 15 years old.  I wasn’t actually paddling in waka then, I was still surfing and doing the SUP circuit.

I have seen him paddle his was through the ranks as a really strong junior paddler to opens where he was challenged even further.  He also does Crossfit and many people said he couldn’t do both.  From the outside his transition into Opens looked pretty tough, as the level of competition was crazy.  But this year Ash proved all the naysayers wrong and made podium in both the 250m Premiere Mens Dash and 500m sprints earning himself a spot in the Premiere V1 at world sprints in Tahiti this coming July.

Way to smash your goals Ash.  keep doing what you are doing.  you are inspiring so many of us to keep pushing too.

If anything in here resonated with you drop him a message or thanks for sharing.

Hiria x


Remember to stay in the loop ‘like’ and follow my social media pages and subscribe to this blog.  Thanks for the support whanau.

Hiria Rolleston Mindset Trainer – to help take you to the next level in your paddling, and life

Eastcoast Paddler Aotearoa – for all your paddle gear, canoes and instructional vids

Hiria Rolleston on insta – to follow where my paddle takes me


INSPIRED SERIES – Go hundy, or go home! With Marama Elkington


For those who don’t know me, normally I’m just an idiot.  I joke around at practically everything, and I’m always laughing or smiling.  But when it comes to racing I take it serious.

I go into what I like to call race mode.  It starts from when I wake to after my races are finished.  Everything I do during the day has a purpose, which keeps my focus on racing and winning.


Throughout race days and the week before I hydrate as much as I can, making sure to drink at least 4 Litres per day.  I cut out takeaways, idea cream and all the bad stuff leading up to a big event.  Recently I tried a diet and frick those are hard, but it works so I endorse them I guess.

Come race week I eat depending on my races.  When I have a long wait  between races I usually eat a lot.  If my races are soon I snack on carbs or glucose.  The same goes for sleeping.  If I have the time I have a long nap.

Otherwise I’m always lying down in the shade relaxing, not expending my energy walking around or in the sun.  during the day I’m usually quiet.

I observe the weather conditions, starting flags, race calls, and other things pertaining to racing.


WINNERS Premiere women 250m Dash NZ Waka Ama Sprints Nationals 2018. From left to right: silver medal Kiwi Campbell, Gold medal Marama Elkington, Bronze medal Cory Campbell



In the loading bay I don’t like to talk because I think it takes away from my focus on my race.  I make it a point of always giving a high-five to the other competitors from my race after racing.

I thinks its good to always do this no matter where you come, just to show respect.

Post race I stretch down, and roll out my muscles with a roller or massaging ball.  Then relax, eat, and repeat for my other races.


“go hungry or go home” is my motto that I abide by.  That’s something I like to install even in my midget team that I coach.  If they much around and don’t go hard at trainings they get sent home.

Training is like studying, and racing is like final exams.  I give myself 100% each time I train, and am always pushing myself to do better.  I always aim to win and better myself when I train, so i stop only when the last person has stopped, and then I keep going.  I like to push my mind and body to their limits, because I know that doing so will make me stronger.  Like everyone says no pain no gain.


when it comes to fear and racing I don’t think I have it.  Big races like Aito, or Nationals don’t scare me, but there’s always nerves.

The same thing goes for going up against fierce competition.  I think of my competitors as a gauge that illustrates what level I am at.

I know they are going to be great, so I try to just focus on myself and the strengths I bring to racing.

I used to fear the ocean and huge surf, but the more I went out on it the more fun IO had.  Other than that rough conditions don’t scare me also, because it’s basically like that everyday here in Porirua.  I think if anything I doubt myself when I race.

An example would be thinking maybe I can’t execute my race strategy properly, and that hindering my performance.

However at the end of the day I just get over it.

Go out there and do what I came here to do.


  • Sleep well the night before
  • Eat heaps the night before
  • Don’t worry about others, focus on yourself
  • Have good support people and family
  • Train with like-minded, and same or better fitness levels as yourself
  • Be limber


It takes a lot of courage to step up and share your secrets so a big mihi to Marama for doing so.  As I have said before I really admire Marama’s worth ethic and down to earth personality and have watched her grow into a beautiful, talented wahine and role model for not only our younger paddlers but also us older ones who tend to think we know it all.  Keep doing what you are doing Marama.  You are lifting our paddling community as well as yourself.

If you had a light bulb moment from this piece please head over to the facebook page and share.  You never know you comment may just create some great discussion or resonate with someone else.

Remember to stay in the loop ‘like’ and follow my social media pages and subscribe to this blog.  Thanks for the support whanau.

Kia u ki te hoe, Keep paddling,

Hiria x

Hiria Rolleston Mindset Trainer – to help take you to the next level in your paddling, and life

Eastcoast Paddler Aotearoa – for all your paddle gear, canoes and instructional vids

Hiria Rolleston on insta – to follow where my paddle takes me




NZ Sprint Nationals V1


First name Surname – My name is Jamille Ruka, I’m from the far north Hokianga and Mangakahia but born and breed in Whangarei. I paddle for my Whanau club Te Puu Ao and also do Kapa Haka for Te Puu Ao. I’ve been paddling for over 17years, my first sprint nationals was in 2000 as a mini midget and I’ve been to every sprint nationals since. Waka Ama has grown and developed more opportunities for younger paddlers to gain more experience through world championships and other big events overseas. I love Waka Ama because it’s a great Whanau sport. I continue to paddle with my parents, grandparents, my wife and kids.

Events each year- I’ve always paddled at sprint nationals. I love to Travel every year to compete in Te Aito, Tahiti. I always learn something new from our Tahitian paddling Whanau. I’ve done a few World Championships held in New Zealand, Sacramento and Australia. I have been fortunate to be apart of the first NZ open men’s elite team in Australia this was an awesome experience for me. I had the chance to paddle with some top paddlers that I looked up too when I was a younger paddler and during that campaign I gained a lot of knowledge from the coaching they gave me.

ROUTINE  It’s always dependent on what races I’m partaking in, but usually if I’m in training I’ll try aim for 2hour paddles 5 times a week in open ocean to get good feeling in the surf and to build a good base. If it’s sprints specific I don’t change much but add in 1hour sprint sessions 2 times a week, it’s always harder to recover from doing a lot of sprints training so I keep them short and sharp to build my speed and a race plan for sprints races. I also run a gym called Common Grounds Fitness with my whanau we utilise ZUU and Ankorr and offer community classes 3 days a week after mahi. For me ZUU and Ankorr is a great way to build my mental resilience through the high intensity workouts it’s a good way to push through those barriers of self doubt and hold a strong mindset.

The night before, dinner (anything special or specific for digestion).

On the morning of race (coffee? Tea? How early do you wake? Do you warm up? Stretch run or paddle? And when is your next meal?- The day before the race I like to go out for a light paddle to get my nerves out of the way and get good feeling on the water so my body is activating those muscle memories, this is something I learned from Tahiti and a good friend of mine. For food prep I usually have lots of pasta the night before, fettuccine is my go to but any pasta dish will do I just eat loads of it lol It’s a good way to store glycogen in the muscles for long endurance races. In mornings I’ll have an omelette and then I’ll have a little bit of pasta. I wouldn’t eat too much during race day but if I’m hungry it’s always good to get some fuel in the body.


NZ Open Mens Team World sprints Australia 2016

MANTRA – if you have one? Or something you visualize night before or maybe that morning?- A whakatauki I use an resonate with is “Kaua he mate te tarakihi, Mate he ururoa” “Dont die like the Tarakihi fish, Die like a hammerhead shark” this Whakatauki  always keeps my mindset strong and helps me to refocus before or focus during my races but also known that I’ve put my 100% best hand forward with no regrets after finishing my races.

BIGGEST MISTAKE – leading up to race day? On race day? One big mistake I’ve done in the past is having inconsistency in my training, I’ve done months of training and then all of sudden stopped training because of work or whanau commitments and then I would try get back into training but then find myself back at square one. So If you can get a good routine and stay consistent in your training on the water you’ll definitely see improvements.

Remember to not overthink things sometimes it’s just good to get out and enjoy paddling for what it is and remembering why we paddle in the first place. Also surround yourself with the right people or role models that you look up too that give you the experience and skills to support your growth and development through your journey.

Remember always enjoy the journey and you’ll be able to achieve anything.


Poor Knights Crossing Tutukaka 30km


I’ve known of Jamille just from paddling circles but never really met him till I did the Poor Knights race a couple months ago.  Its funny and I’m sure others will identify with this, but you build up a bit of an image in your head of what the person is like, and when you finally meet them it’s not as bad as you thought.  I admire anyone who paddles, has a family of their own and runs their own business as well as mahi.  The opens division is hard because of this so anyone who can balance all those things shows real commitment and perseverance, important factors in being a successful paddler.

If anything in here resonates with you please share, and drop a comment on my Facebook page to let Jamille know what you think.

Much aroha to you for following my journey and mahi.  If you haven’t already please like my Facebook pages and even my instagram page if you are on there.  Don’t be shy, share the love.

Hiria x

#imagine #believe #achieve

Follow me

Hiria Rolleston Mindset Trainer – to help take you to the next level in your paddling, and life

Eastcoast Paddler Aotearoa – for all your paddle gear, canoes and instructional vids

Hiria Rolleston on insta – for daily inspo and follow my journey to world sprints 2018

INSPIRED SERIES – Raipoia Brightwell


Raipoia steering her Gold Medal crew Senior Master Women Long distance nationals 2016


I paddle W1 in the Golden Master Women division and W6 in the Senior Master Women division.

My club is Mareikura waka ama in Turanganui a Kiwi, Te Uranga o Te Ra, Gisborne.

Mareikura is the first waka ama club to start in Aotearoa (1985).

Since then, my husband Matahi and I have been relentless in our promotion of waka ama in our role and in Aotearoa, katoa.

I first paddled in the Open division and moved through the divisions in time.  I currently paddle for Ruamata Waka ama club in rotorua.

My husband and I have been competing and coaching at waka ama National sprints since they first started and used to race in everything, everywhere.  However, we don’t do as many races these days as our whanau has grown to 7 beautiful moko (grandchildren) whom I spend most of my time with now.  I usually do Long Distance Nationals as well.  Throughout the years I have medalled in all events entered, whether they be national or international races.  I specialise in the steer position.


Before a race I tend to isolate myself.  I like training on my own to take the time to kinda melt into the water and my waka so we become one.  I am one who usually loves making sure everyone is ok first, but my racing time is an exception:  There is no one else in the world but me.

I regroup, I recoil, I preserve energy, and run my own race over and over in my head, with a particular attention to what the water could be like on the day so when I am there, I already know it.  Even in a team situation I stand apart, fusing with everyone when the race starts.  No kia ora on the water, no have a nice race ladies…. I know no one…. No stretching, no land warm up, my love of being on the water hits me when I finally get on my waka.  It fills me with anticipation and joy… We’re on….

Oh and on the kai area: eat what you are used to and what you can get.  I don’t get hung up on special meals at special times.  I believe that if you eat with intent, and be thankful for the kai you are able to get it will do the job.


Gold Medal National Waka Ama sprints 2016


Stay with the water and go with it… and the rest will come… fitness, strength, success, and most of all the happy paddling stuff!!!


Believe in yourself, but train to the conditions: Molokai solo surfs 2000.  This one I keep rewinding in my mind even as years later.  A huge learning experience to my ego but also sealed my path with the realm of Tangaroa.  A friend had asked to join her in the Molokai Solo Surfski race and I thought ‘Cool – Hawaii, Big waves, island to island, I totally can do it… Minor problem I had no surfski experience – so there goes the surfski training out to sea inTuranga Nui a Kiwa.  Up and down waves, side on, offshore swell, beach surfing – all done.  Three months later was lining up in one of the best line up I ever seen – All surfski and waka ama long course world champions, men and women were there, yeah, an incredible line up.

I was mesmerised, even more eager to just go and do it… Well, the surf WAS much bigger (had to put the brakes on), after 3 hours I hit the wall.  With another 3 hours to ago, it was the longest painful crawl to Hawaii Kai finish line, with the clock showing 6 hours as I went through the finish line in second to last to an old Japanese guy.  The last 3 hours was a battle for survival and a long long time to rethink the poor strategy, get angry at myself, heaps of put downs, and the island which was never getting closer… it’s a good day to die, all that kind of stuff.  I was never able to talk about this race for a long time.  The morale of the story finally, feed the fire within because with this EVERYTHING is possible, BUT also train to the conditions because in the end there is only so far that your belief in yourself, mind power and passion can take you, and your body has to train for it… simple as that.


Raipoia is MY INSPIRATION and always has been from the first time I met her, soon after I started paddling.  I’ve always thought, “I want to be like her when I grow up”, seriously.

I remember racing a Rotohoe series and getting smoked by her!  She carries herself with such grace, but so much strength on the water.

Grateful that she shared her story with us and the learning we can all take from it.She is absolutely correct, mindset can only get you so far, you still have to do the work, that daily consistent action to get better and reach your goals.

If anything in here resonates with you please share, and drop a comment on my Facebook page to let Raipoia know what you think.

Much aroha to you for following my journey and mahi.  If you haven’t already please like my Facebook pages and even my instagram page if you are on there.  Don’t be shy, share the love.

Hiria x

#imagine #believe #achieve

Follow me

Hiria Rolleston Mindset Trainer – to help take you to the next level in your paddling, and life

Eastcoast Paddler Aotearoa – for all your paddle gear, canoes and instructional vids

Hiria Rolleston on insta – for daily inspo and follow my journey to world sprints 2018

Long Distance Nationals – Did it live up to the hype you built for yourself?


Training for a long term goal can be hard, I know.  Makes you wonder how our Olympians do it right?

How do you stay focussed for so long?

How do you maintain that physical, mental, emotional and nutritional discipline to reach that end point?

Well, it all comes down to how you prioritise your goal. Is it just the end goal, that outcome of making podium, or top 10, or is it about your personal growth?



Some may say that the personal growth and journey stuff is teetz, and too airy fairy but the truth is this is what helps you bounce back when you don’t meet those outcomes the first time around so that you can meet them the next time you try.  It builds resilience and that is something missing in todays society, especially with our younger paddlers.

Too often paddlers will give up thinking they have failed.  They put so much hardwork in and didn’t get the outcome they were hoping for so give up.

I can relate to this because its how I spent my first years in sport, not just paddling (although I did think I was the shiz in paddling ha ha, such a newbie).

An outcome goal is not enough to keep you motivated to get out of bed so early in the morning, or commit to such a huge lifestyle change, because thats what it requires.

When you have thoughts of “oh its sweet, after I finish this I can go back to eating like I did, or not training so much”, these kind of thoughts are what will trip you up in your race because when it gets tough out there its this that creates the negative self talk, the lack of belief in yourself.


Keeping a training journal has helped give me the awareness I needed to deal with these thoughts quickly and easily, giving me the tools to be able to kick it during a race (most of the time).

I say most of the time because the thing is, once we are successful with a challenge, another presents itself.   Its how we grow as human beings.

I used to think, “oh sweet once I get over this hurdle I’ll be sweet,” but yeah nah, they keep coming at you in different ways.  But thats life huh, how boring would it be without a few challenges.  The downs make you appreciate the ups so much more.


Having a routine is needed, because you do need to be able to measure your improvement somehow.  But be flexible with it.  Just because your programme says each day of the week you have to do this, it doesn’t mean you can’t change it a little.  The weather maybe bad, or you might get sick. Beating yourself up over the programme will only give you more brain damage.

Also, try not to let yourself fall into default with your programme, you know, like groundhog day – where you wake up each day and its the same thing over and over and you end up doing it without thinking.  This is not a good space to be in.


Make sure you connect in each day, with why you are doing this in the first place, and be deliberate with your actions, taking conscious action because thats where the gold is.  Its those actions that reset your brain to what works for you and not just being an imitation of someone else.  It sets the pattern for you to be able to react the best way possible for you when you hit challenges out on the water.

There’s nothing worse then coming off the water or in from a training session where you feel like you were just going through the motions.  It feels like a waste of time right? Start backing yourself and honour your time and effort by being intentional.



Its never failure when you take away the lessons from it, and there are always lessons. If you don’t see that then you need to start digging a bit deeper, into why you even do what you are doing.


Firstly, I’m pretty damn stoked with myself for what I managed to achieve and the opportunities I had to paddle with some pretty cool paddlers.  But I am going to admit that I did have a moment where I was upset with myself for not trying harder, giving it my best and letting my own self talk get to me.  In all honesty I still have that nasty dialogue go through my mind when it matters most, but, and this is a big one – I no longer let bring me down. Its important to ‘feel’ those feelings, because if you deny it starts a spiral of downward actions and you will end up at the bottom.

I could have sat and wallowed in my pity but I chose to accept it for what it was, I thought I had a shit race, felt bad for a teeny bit then decided, “this ain’t helping me at all” so I let myself move on.  Too often, especially us females, we can hold on to feelings, and let them rule our present and future. This is not healthy for our paddling at all and it starts to subconsciously show up and then we react to it, usually in the wrong way.  This can present itself by not taking up opportunities, or in the waka focussing on someones else role instead of ours, or by nit picking at somebody because they rub you up the wrong way, when in actual fact you are probably seeing your own reflection of what you need to work on yourself.

This is why mindset is so important in your paddling and sport. It’s the stuff that can either make you or break you and is the key to being your best self.


Open womens 16km Long distance nationals 2017, Dale Thomas Bronze, Hiria Rolleston Silver, Marianna Hodges Gold.


When I started writing this blog I thought about doing it as a personal wrap up from my own LDNs, which in a sense it is.  There are definitely elements in this that I need to pay attention to.  Its where my inspiration comes from, lived experience.  But, from conversations I had while there and the themes coming from it this approach felt better to me.

My daily routine consists of the physical aspects of training and connecting in to my surroundings, atua (gods, guardians) which fills me spiritually too, as well as my mental/emotional well-being by checking in with myself to make sure I am being intentional with what I do and making sure my thoughts and feelings are my own and not me getting caught up in someones else stuff.  I do this by journalling, I have a training journal and a business journal which helps me to work through and process my actions.  I also meditate by grabbing a moment to sit still and ask “where am I right now?”  It always brings me right back into the present and gives me clarity.

So, coming back to the title of this, I’m hoping you are still with me here ha ha, yes Long distance Nationals did live up to the hype for me, but I have a whole new bunch of things to work on now, which I’m grateful for because I know its going to help me grow evermore and is another deliberate step toward my dreams and goals.

I am grateful to everyone who came up to me and congratulated me on my medals, thats very humbling.  But even more so thankful to those people who came up to me to share their thoughts and feelings on this mahi (work) I have been doing around mindset. I have always been pretty open about what I do and share from my own experience.  I do have a Sports Science and Sport Psych background too as was a PE teacher once upon a time, so I do have the academic knowledge to back me up (it’s not all made up lol).

I share because my own journey was so difficult that I want to be able to help others.  We have so much talent out there in our communities going unseen because of our current culture around paddling from grassroots to elite.  Not blaming anyone particular person or group, but reminding us all that if we can be more open and not afraid of sharing that you will actually see it helps lift us all.

Would love to know if anything in here as given you a lightbulb moment.  Please share the aroha, share with anyone you think will benefit from this, and then drop me a comment on here or head over to my Facebook page and drop me a comment.

Sharing is caring

Hiria x

#imagine #believe #achieve

Follow me

Hiria Rolleston Mindset Trainer – to help take you to the next level in your paddling, and life

Eastcoast Paddler Aotearoa – for all your paddle gear, canoes and instructional vids

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Nyree after winning the SMW V1 500m at 2016 World Sprints in Australia and setting a new World Record time of 2.35.96


Senior Master Women

Paddling 14 years.  Started in 2003 – when I was in my 40s

2004 won the Silver medal in the Master Women V1 500m in Hilo Hawaii.  This was my first international event.

Been the Senior Master Women NZ National Champ six times.

World sprint Champion in 2006 in Aotearoa and again in 2016 in Australia.

Currently world record holder in the SMW V1 500m.


Although I have done quite well in sprints, my passion is long distance – and have crossed the Kaiwi channel from Molokai to Oahu in Na Wahine o Ke Kai (the women’s Molokai race) a total of four times now – once in the OC1 relay – and three times in crews winning Masters 40s in 2009 and 2016.

Have done the Pailolo twice and would rate this race as THE best downwind fun.  Would love to do Pailolo in an OC1!

I try to do as many national and international W6 and W1 events as money and leave will allow.  I have amazing friends whom I love to paddle with.  At home I love to do the Bo Herbert and Bhutty races and this year was able to do the Poor Knights Crossing as well.  There are lots of races I love to do here at home – Whaingaroa, Takapuna Cup, LDNs, Kaiteriteri etc.

This year – paddling took me to portland Oregon for two races in ‘The gorge’ (the Columbia river) with over 500 SUP, OC1 and Ski on the start line.  It was epic!

BUCKET LIST (not yet done) Liberty Challenge, Womens V3 race in Tahiti, Hawaikinui womens race, Kauai challenge Relay, Dad’s Centre (we never got to finish that race), Gold Coast Cup, Maui Nui (to do again and again) – Pailolo and Na Wahine.


2016 winners of Na Wahine o Ke Kai 40s wiht Denise Darval-Chang, Katie Stephens, Mykala Bradley, Margie Kawaiaea and Tee Felgate from Hawaii, Jill Schooler and Jeane Barrett from California.  Ngaire Pehi and myself from NZ.


I suppose my mantra would be  “be in the moment – each stroke’.  When I first started paddling it used to be “Go hard, then go harder!)  but these days that mantra has more to do with my mental toughness than paddling strategy!


I have quite a specific mental checklist for V1 sprints to ensure that I am totally prepared as there is not a lot of wriggle room for stuff ups – but mostly I try to stay relaxed.  I use visualisation, bungees for warm up and hydrate well in the lead up to events.  I also make sure that our family eat well and have a good meal the night before.  Usually porridge, berries, yoghurt and coffee the morning of race day – but I also take a bar to nibble if race start is delayed… there is nothing worse than feeling hungry before you get on the water.

I like to have everything ready for race day but sometimes things can get messy when the whole family is trying to use the same resources (i.e.. canoes and water systems).  Sometimes you just have to be adaptable and go with what you got!


With Tupuria and Rose King at the 2016 World sprints Nyree after winning SMW V1 500m.  Tipu Bronze Open Men, Rose Bronze Open Women V1 finals.


I’ve had a few but here are two.

I rigged my kit in the wrong way around and had to jump into a bumpy ocean to turn it the right way with my paddling buddy’s (Ngaire and Brennan) unable to assist because of the conditions.  Lucky I did rectify it as the ocean was huge and we had to follow the line of the Tutukaka dive boat to get back into the safety of Tutukaka harbour.  I don’t think we knew how big it was going to be!

Another mistake – not paddle fit for Bhutty’s one year – even wore two pairs of neoprenes so my butt wouldn’t get sore – fell out twice and cracked my canoe.  The thing was – I really wanted to do the race but was underprepared mentally and physically.  Lesson learned.


Nyree is one of those paddlers who I have held in awe since I began paddling. She is so strong, focussed and just smashes it out there on the race course.  One year I had to fill in for her team as a steerer at a training and was so starstruck!

I am especially pleased to share Nyree’s korero because I have always and will always look up to her.   She is just as beautiful off the water as she is on the water.  It’s pretty clear to see where Rose and Tupuria get their strength from.  Though the whole family paddles and they all do pretty damn good, including husband Dave King and sisters Riana and Hannah.

Our paddlers have given this information freely so please show some awhi (love, support) and go like their athlete pages if they have one or drop a comment on the blog thread on my Facebook post.

If anything resonates with you head over to the Facebook page and drop a comment.  It may just create some awesome discussion for us all to learn more from.

Much aroha to you for following my journey and mahi.  If you haven’t already please like my Facebook pages and even my instagram page if you are on there.  Don’t be shy, share the love.

Hiria x

#imagine #believe #achieve

Follow me

Hiria Rolleston Mindset Trainer – to help take you to the next level in your paddling, and life

Eastcoast Paddler Aotearoa – for all your paddle gear, canoes and instructional vids

Hiria Rolleston on insta – to follow where my paddle takes me


You have to back yourself 100% – a year of recovery and transformation

When you get smacked in the face by adversity, will you become resentful or use it as an opportunity to grow?

I was forced to rethink my approach to training when I tore my achilies while weight training in the gym.  I was being my usual competitive self trying to beat the guy next to me in a WOD.

I’d been conditioned to believe that by pushing harder, you get better results.

But from that moment onwards, I was forced to approach my training with a fresh perspective.  I knew that I could get stuck in a victim mindset and let this injury break me, or I could use it as an opportunity to grow.

I had this sense of knowing that my body would back me.  I chose to let go of other people’s fears and worries, and refused to listen to the outside noise that could drain or deplete me.

I chose to focus on being present in the moment, dealing only with the situation in front of me, trusting my own feelings and thoughts and working with “what is” rather than resisting the situation.


Within days of my injury, I placed 3rd in the Long distance Nationals, Open women’s rudderless Division 2016, in huge swells with my leg in a cast, wrapped in a black rubbish bag.  That’s when I truly understood the power of mindset – and my paddling was transformed forever.

I had spent so long trying to compartmentalise myself, but I now know that what I do inside impacts everything else around me.  I finally understood that I was not alone, and that there is nothing bigger than myself because I am the universe.  When I make the time to connect within, there is no need to be afraid.

Staying connected is a daily practice, a matter of making time to be still, to recognise where I am in this moment.  Am I here? Am I in the future? Am I in the past?

Anger and frustration puts your dreams at risk.  It’s ok to be uncomfortable because that’s where we grow.  You have to back yourself 100% – to find that fire in your belly and be open to the unexpected path.

You have to create space in your head to hear your intuition.  You have to tune into your environment and stay present in the moment.  and you have to work on discovering who you really are, so you can recognise your own thoughts and fears, and let go of everyone elses.

I became conscious of my language, letting go of negativity, comparison, jealousy and over thinking.  Instead I chose to accept the situation and move forward from there, working with what is and focusing what makes me feel good.

Because I was unable to train my lower half, I had to listen to my body to discover what was right for me.  I had to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, to experiment and figure out how my body responded best.  I began recording my observations of my training, noticing how I felt and studying the patterns to learn what worked and what didn’t work for me.

By consciously studying my trainings I became more present and aware and could make changes on the water.  Over time this has become natural and I don’t have to work so hard to get into that space.  I feel I am now so in sync with who I am and my capabilities, that I know my body will back me and I can push myself further, with a sense of ease.

By choosing a different, more conscious and smarter pathway, with less striving, I felt as if I’d stepped into my flow.  My progress accelerated.  I made the Open women’s team for the world Long Distance Champs in  Tahiti.  I am now consistently in the top grouping and keeping up with people whose speed I once envied (still envy).


Ironically this only happened since I stopped looking at what they were doing and stayed present with myself.  It’s easy to get psyched out by your competitors, but I’ve learned that I’m far more powerful when I’m focusing on doing my thing and making every stroke count.  If I put my focus on where they are in the race – even for one second – my speed drops.  When I bring my focus back my speed picks up.

And now?

I’m a totally different person at home and on the water.  What you see is what you get – everywhere.  I’m less reactive and more in tune, so I don’t fly off the handle so much.  My kids are happier and our household is more settled – and I know things would have been uglier if I hadn’t followed through for myself and pursued my dream.

I have a heightened sense of awareness and I understand that I have a choice in how I respond.  The depression that I’ve carried for 20 years has lifted.

I’m now more loving because I love myself more, and I’ve learned that we shouldn’t be so afraid to show how we feel because it makes people feel better.

Paddling feeds me as a whole person.  When I’m out there on the water, I feel at one with the paddle and the water, connected to everything.  It’s as if I’m giving back, sharing my energy with nature and the universe.  There’s a lightness about me as I glide with the water rather than against it, and a sense of calm that becomes my competitive advantage.

I work with…

People who have hit a wall in their training, are not performing on race day or who have been thrown off course by injury or personal circumstances, and don’t know how to get back on track.   If you are committed to making change contact me on my Facebook page  and lets have a casual chat.


NB: It’s almost one year since I tore my achilles and we are 20 days out from the next Long Distance Champs.  Follow my lead up to the Nationals on Facebook or instagram.

As always, I am grateful to all those people who believed in me enough to give me a chance and supported me in my recovery, and who continue to do so. You all have a special place in my heart.


Hiria x

#imagine #believe #achieve







So you think you got Glide? Lessons from the Poor Knights Crossing 2017


Rikoriko – the start of the Poor Knights Crossing, NZ

The water changed, it felt heavy, the waka dropped and it felt like I was getting pushed around, my mind had gone into default.  Then a voice from behind yelled “she’s coming”.  It was all I needed to pick up my game.

I immediately sat up, drew in a deep breath and started surfing my waka.

I realised I had dropped into paddling for the sake of paddling.  Something that many of us do when we are at that point of exhaustion or feeling of failure.  Almost like giving in.

The more you focus on the present moment, the easier paddling becomes.  You work with the water, feel lighter, have more energy and move with your natural strengths, achieving better results.

I’m not the best paddle surfer in the world but I do know a thing or two about it and the Poor Knights gave me enough time and distance to prove my theory to myself.

Here are a couple of tips for the next time you hit the ocean swell, whether its wind chop, swell or any kind of bump, the principles are the same.

  1. Learn how to read the water. Connect to your surroundings. Being able to read ground swell direction, wind swell/chop, and how the land underneath can impact on how the water moves will be a big help to your paddling if you don’t know already. Be able to identify when a wave is going to break, or even to help you see the lines and know when to push and when to rest your canoe.
  2. Don’t be a robot.  Try and avoid getting caught up in the idea that you need to paddle the whole time.  This is what happened to me once I got passed by the lead open woman.  Lost focus and started to just paddle without thinking about what I was doing or taking notice of the conditions.
  3. Lighten up! It’s better to glide across the top of the waves, than sit in the trough and be at the mercy of the bumps.  How? Consciously sit up, draw in a deep breath and avoid digging your blade too deep.  It’s all about timing but often when we dig deep it can hold the canoe back instead of letting it glide.  Look for the lines, the opening.  It’s often better to go for the small stuff and stay on top instead of riding the big waves and using up all your energy trying to get into them.
  4. Use different gears.  Just like in a 4WD truck, you may need to adjust your setting, meaning you may need to go forward more, or longer, or cut it short. I always try to make every stroke count but adjust it to fit the wave or bump and where my canoe sits on it.  Depending on where the canoe is I will either reach more up front and tap for a couple of strokes, or come back to my side and push the canoe down the face of the wave. There is a balance and need to be able to anticipate the flow of the water,  this is where rudderless paddling comes in handy!
  5. Awareness is key.  There will be moments when you lose focus, as I did but as long as you are aware of it, you can quickly adjust yourself.  I had a feeling I was out of my zone and was lucky I had someone to snap me back in.  I had no one around me for ages and that can be a problem, not knowing where you are in a race.  Unless you go into it with a race strategy (which I didn’t, except to survive).  Perhaps if I had things would have been different.  But I choose not to do the what if’s.  What’s done is done and now I know better for next time.  So it’s all on for 2018!

At the end of the day it’s really about having fun.  I was out there yelling and screaming to myself because I was just enjoying each ride (well most of the time).

Paddling feeds me as a whole person.  When I’m out there on the water, I feel at one with the paddle and the water, connected to everything.  It’s as if I’m giving back, sharing my energy with nature and the universe.  There’s a lightness about me as I glide with the water rather than against it, and a serene sense of calm that becomes my competitive advantage.

If you are serious about wanting to improve your paddling performance and don’t know where to start or have tried a bunch of stuff and still not getting results, maybe you need to dig a little deeper and find out whats really holding you back.

I am about to open the doors to my new online outrigger coaching programme and would love to have you join me.  Find me on Facebook and PM me or send an email to outrigger programme.

A big mihi to everyone who follows me and has had the courage to come up and introduce themselves at events or reach out online.  It’s pretty cool meeting people from overseas, it’s humbling actually.  I really do value your time and words of encouragement and support.

Much aroha,


Hiria x



Five simple hacks to transform your training


You’ve tried it all huh? The crazy training regimes, the diets, the latest fad and still not getting the results you are after?
There is so much information out there on how to paddle, how to train, what to eat, how much sleep to have its all a bit overwhelming.
Time is important to us all and we don’t want to get it wrong.   So who do we believe?
This is what I learned through my own experience.
1.  Have an open mind.  Listen to those willing to share knowledge. It doesn’t mean you have to do it. Once you have gathered it all up then decide how to make it fit you.  Not the other way around.
2. Put you first.  If you are really wanting success you need to start putting yourself first. Feed yourself, train yourself, educate yourself first because then it gives you the chance to improve and help others. You can’t lead someone somewhere if you haven’t been there yourself.
3. Learn the basics and do them well.  Leave all the tricky shit. Learn the absolute fundamentals based on how your body is supposed to move.
4. Get to know yourself.  This is the only way you will get it working for you.  Dig a bit deeper below what you say you like or think into what you truly feel, not what you do because someone else does it.
5. WHATS YOUR WHY?  This is probably the most important part.  I left it for last because I’m guessing you would have stopped reading if I put it first.  Most people do physical activity or sports as a means of losing weight or making friends, or to bulk up etc.  When it comes to those hard days where you don’t want to get out of bed or drag yourself to the gym after work, these things don’t motivate you enough.  But, if you were to focus more on the kind of character you would be building and look at being the best version of yourself it opens you up to so much more potential you probably didn’t realise you had.  My goal is to be the best damn paddler I CAN BE, and that doesn’t mean I don’t want to win. I have learned that if I want to be my best that I need to do the hard work on my physical training, my eating, my sleep, my emotional wellbeing, taking care of my whole rather than one area alone.  It gives me more chances of success.  Don’t get me wrong, if that old way works for you that’s awesome, but please do try looking at it in a holistic way.  I used to train my butt off for image and weight because thats what I thought I had to do and in the process it made me a bit crazy, and uptight.  I would always feel deprived, whereas this way I feel like I have won the lottery!  My mind is at peace, and I’m making the physical gains too.
If you really want to transform your performance and are over where you are at now try something different.  Don’t give up until you can say you have really tried.
Remember if something in here has given you an ‘aha’ moment jump onto my facebook page and leave a comment.  Your contribution may just help someone else.  Thanks for all the aroha and following me on my journey.
Hiria x

Three hacks to finding more time to do the things that light you up!

Hey babe,

You are either reading this because you value your time and will do anything to try and find more of it.  Or you are at a loss as to how other people are able to fit so much into their day.

Lets start with time itself. What are your first thoughts or feelings when you hear that word?

I usually get my back up and then my eyes glaze over.

You know why?

Because it seems to be all people talk about today, like it is the single most important commodity that drives humans.

I felt like I didn’t have a hope in hell of finding more time to do what I needed to and wanted to so shut off completely.

Until I stumbled across this great book I was given years ago but just never had the time to read. Well, I sat down and read it one day, from cover to cover.  It set me off on my journey to making things work better for me, by finding other people who seemed like they knew what they were doing and trying it for myself.

This is what has worked for me.


1.  Get a goal, a clear focus or dream.  Something to use as an anchor everyday.

By having a goal it helps you to have focus and prioritise what you need to do and love to do as opposed to all the shady little great areas in between where we worry about this and that.  It is in this space that we actually waste a lot of our precious time.

2.  Shred the task list and instead work to intentions.  This one totally blew my mind. My business coach gave me this wee tool and it is the single most life changing thing that has helped me across the board. I used to get overwhelmed by task lists and had everything on there that I needed to complete, well so I thought.  The thing is, those tasks were still taking up precious head space even after writing them down. They were staring at me daily and if I didn’t get to ticking them off that day I would feel like crap and useless.  Now I focus on only 3 intentions a day, (not including housework because that is a given and autopilot to some degree, they don’t take up head space).  I list my top 3 activities that I know will get me the most gains in my day toward my goal and anything else I get done after that is a bonus.  It really stops me from fluffing about.

3.  Take action, everyday and use the 5 sec rule.  So yes we all know that taking action is pretty logical right, but what about when you just don’t want to? Thats where the 5 sec rule comes in. I had been doing this all my sporting life but didn’t realise it until I came across Mel Robins Tedtalk on the 5 sec rule.  Basically she says  you have 5 secs to make a decision because after that all of your excuses get the better of you. So nip it in the mud before it even gets a chance. My way to combat this is to remove as many of the excuses as possible, like preparation, of meals or gear I need to get going, or making sure I have all the right information. Its too easy to make an excuse if we have one little piece of the puzzle not at our finger tips right.

All these little hacks have helped me to be way more productive leaving me more energised and just happy which makes me a better person to be around for my kids and family.

Hope they help you too.

As a Mindset trainer I love helping others shift through any mental or emotional blocks that are holding you back from achieving your success, whether it be anxiety, fear, anger and in all areas of life and business.  If you feel you are ready to make some changes and needed a bit of a helping hand flick me an email and lets chat to see if we are the right fit for each other.

Remember, There is nothing bigger than myself!

Hiria x

#imagine #believe #achieve

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