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.
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.
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.
#imagine #believe #achieve
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