Inspired Series – Pineapple Lumps Road To World Sprints Tahiti

A little about the Pineapple Lumps – Hei Matau J16s Boys

I had to have a chat with their manager about the boys and their view on life and paddling, as they are hard at the mahi.
We would like to sincerely give thanks to everyone that is behind this awesome sport of ours, and for the support!  Here is a collection of korero from all of the boys which was gathered along our journey so far….

Why Pineapple Lumps?
It was about the club colours – Hei Matau Paddlers have a nice yellow as the main club colour…….so, bright yellow and um dark brown young men = Pineapple Lumps in reverse 😀


The photo from back standing left are: Whareporera Hare-Herbert Maunganui Hawe Te Aho Paenga Nelson Ulale Ihaka Taka-Brown Tahuaroa (Tama) White Sitting front left: Mokonuiarangi Edmonds Taihakoa Teepa Autahi Leonard


What drives you to do your best?
• Making our whanau, coach and club proud, being good tuakana to the up and comers
• Making my Mum proud
• Being on the water makes me chill
• It’s helped me learn to commit to something and see it through no matter how hard it gets
• For the brothers
• Mahia e tona ringa, tino kai, tino makona – satisfaction comes from doing the mahi with your own sweat
Who are your guys paddle idols?
• Ray Timihou (Uncle/Coach)
• Aunty Yvonne Rogers
• Uncle Jordan Edmonds
• Tupu King and Kevin Jerusalemy
• Nona Taute Hohepa
• Paul Roozendaal, Manaaki Te Kowhai and Tyrin Thomas
• Bradley Anderson
• Kimi Taliuli

What are your top tips for paddling?
• Find the fun bumps!
• Do the techniques good. Basics
• Don’t fly the ama in a 6-man 😀
• Mo te hemo tonu atu! Leave it all out there!

Whakatauki – What are your favourite mantras?
• “Love many, trust few, always paddle your own canoe”
• Mahi Mahi Mahi
• Be a hard worker because you’ll achieve your goals
• Me raupā ō ringa kia ao mai ō wawata- ‘With hard work and dedication, you will reach your goals’
• Ko te mea tuatahi ka tika, ka tika ko te mea tuatahi… First we’ll be our best, then we’ll be first..

See you in Tahiti! Thanks Hiria


A big mihi to Maria Ngawati for hustling the boys to get this and to the boys themselves for sharing.   Its been awesome watching their journey and all the mahi they are putting in on and off the water from training to fundraising.  Wishing you all the best in Tahiti, but know that we are all proud because of what you have contributed and how you have all grown through this campaign.

If you would like to stay up to date with their progress go and check out their facebook page.

As always sharing is caring whanau so pass this on to anyone else you think needs a little inspiration.


Hiria xx

#beyourbest #roadtotahitiworldsprints #hardwork


P.S.  Want your team to feature in the series? Drop me an email and share your story and a pic


The toughest paddlers are the ones who carry on…..


Feeling ripped off because the early mornings,   the endless hours, sweat, tears, all seem like a waste of time when you don’t perform on the day?

Then there are the disagreements with friends and family.  When you get a setback or don’t do well they say, “you were training too hard anyway, maybe you should take a break”.

Don’t let their disappointment and fear bring you down.  Yes, they mean well, but seriously,  it’s a projection of their stuff and not being able to handle it, not yours.

The toughest paddlers are the ones who carry oneven when it seems like everything is against them.  Because they understand the importance of failure and its potential to help you up level.  Mentally tough paddlers are those who build resilience.

And that’s exactly where my strengths lie, in helping you to build your resilience, manage  overwhelm, anxiety and fear to make them work for you not against you.Its about learning to work with those emotions, not shutting them off.

A really quick way to start turning around how you respond to setbacks is to check your language.

What words do you say to yourself when you haven’t met your own expectations?  If its negative, then reframe it to build yourself back up.

I have a really great debrief tool to help put things in perspective after a race if it doesn’t go as planned and to help improve for next time.  Drop me an email if you would like a copy free.  YES, please send me a free debrief tool.

If you need an extra helping hand here are two ways you can work with me;

  1. learn online with a virtual training course – Learn more
  2. explore coaching, mentorship, and paddle community support – Tell me more!

Remember, feel the emotion, and then decide what you can do next to improve.

Thanks for reading my little blog, its been random lately but I am making it a priority to get back into it.  Its one of those key learnings for me trying to balance my passion as a coach and training myself!

Hiria xx


If anything in here resonates with you please jump on my facebook page and drop a comment, or share with someone you think needs to hear it.

Or have a question? #askhiria and DM on my instagram account


Whats really holding you back from being your best self on the water?

Not many people like to confront their fears, because they already know the answer and are purposely ignoring or resisting it.

This is where all troubles begin.  And its this stuff that blocks you (subconsciously) on the water.

From this point we create stories to keep us safe and protect ourselves in our little bubble.

Eventually we wake up one day, realise we have hardly any mates, or the ones we do have just don’t do it for you, you are in a place you can’t stand and a job you hate.

All because you turned away your true feelings because you were too afraid to deal with it.

That’s why I’m here.

To call you out.  And walk through it with you.

I’m not about massaging your ego…. I want you to make the real gains because I know it will have such an impact on your life and in return, on others therefore leading to a happier more peaceful world, the DREAM.

Sometimes you need that one person in your life who will give it to you straight.  I ask you the tough questions and also give you the tough answers.

Here are some real questions from real people who I have had to answer.


“No matter how hard I try to be uplifting and motivating I just can’t get any more out of my crew, and there is one person in particular that manages to undermine some of the women’s progress. Our coach is pretty great and does his best but we just don’t improve no matter what he tries or how he trains us.  I find I am really starting to struggle with this and am losing the love of it.”

Ok, I can totally understand where you are because I’ve been there and experience this every now and then with my role at our club.
It’s a decision you have to make based on your values.

Here’s some advice I gave my hubby who was struggling with something that didn’t sit with him too, it may help.

Every time you do or participate in something that does not align with you, your values, your health, your truth – you lose a piece of your soul.

Sounds dramatic but it’s true. You end up doing things for others that don’t fill your cup first and we can never serve our best when we are not our best.
Do what feels right for you.
It will feel scary like you are cutting everyone out but you know deep down the answer. Doesn’t mean it’s forever.


“So keen to know how u deal with it and I think I might be the hater tho…. How much is too much talking in the waka ? Cause I find constructive is fine, but to much be more than 1 person continuous for long paddles gets me worked up… I’m and ova thinking so I try to calm my mind and quiet it down in the 1st couple of km to warm into to the feel of it but I’ve been battling with this because of all the talking in the waka I’m not able to hit the zone it’s frustrating and I’m pissed because I can’t shut them out…”

Kia ora ehoa. I hear you on the talking in the waka.  There really needs to be a conversation around this prior to taking to the water so everyone knows the expectation and impact talking has on motivating paddlers.   It basically comes down to what works best for the crew.  Have a good conversation around it, not just a yep no kind of one.  For yourself, its more about looking into what is it that winds you up so much. Is it a particular person, voice, or words? See if it’s pushing your buttons in any other way too just to make sure that it isn’t just you being a hater. Said with lots of love x


In my element, nek minnit

My question is…. the crew dynamic, I thought, was really dependant on how you bond off the water, pre race and post race. But in the moment when 1 person has had the negativity and poured it onto crew (during race) by making remarks such come on they bloody passed us or 3 you’re not pulling! I get they are frustrated. My thinking is I need to be more encouraging, talk to them, ask for the little things in a way not shrieking at them. However after the race I’m always the bad guy, the other person not pulled up, 4 of the 6 crew agree with the negative person, I feel belittled to the point I no longer paddle since moving. How do you pick yourself up from that? It wasn’t one race it was at least 4 races. It took my joy from paddling 😞 how do I come back from that?

Ok, so first things first, we can’t change people, no matter hard we try.   It’s an uphill battle and honestly you should not be wasting your time.  I believe this is a part that is always overlooked in crews for paddling, well waka ama at least. There needs to be a conversation on what makes paddlers tick, some need that aggressive push while others need calming down. This is why we end up with tension in the crew under pressure. It’s sad that it got to this point for you. Its something a good coach encourages…. but if its paddlers coaching that can be hard too. It’s a huge culture shift that needs to happen as we shift from social paddling to competition… You are so not alone in your story and I’m hoping that by being able to talk about all this your experience and story will help change that culture… when you have clarity from the start, expectations, on same page the crew are then able to deal with this stuff…. Just know that it wasn’t all your fault….

“Hiria, what’s your tips for dealing with crap going on amongst paddlers in the club. It’s hard to cut them loose but it’s hard to put up with the rubbish talk and the know it all – I try to stay mutual but that sometimes is harder because you seem to become everyone’s go to person. Basically I fee like I need to trust the crew.  I want to be part of the solution not the problem.”

This is such a common question I get asked. And its tough. I always come back to yourself. Because that is all you have control over.  What is your definition of mutual?  Do you mean by saying you are not taking sides, or by saying nothing at all?  Check your behaviour, your energy, your judgements.   Make sure you are not part of the problem. By allowing yourself to be present when the trash talk is happening and not speaking up to it, you are encouraging it.  This is something that needs to be put in its spot as it happens.  It’s a hard one but the more you do it the easier it gets.  Don’t worry about any judgements other people may or may not make against you.  At the end of the day, you know what is right and what is not, thats all that matters.

I’m starting my MAY Intake of The Outrigger Boot camp later in the month and are looking for ten paddlers to join me.

Over the 8 weeks I will work with helping you see and believe what you truly are capable of doing by sharing my daily strategies and hacks for mindset, technique and life.

If you are serious about making change, then you need to change something.  ‘If you are ready to go all in, then drop me an email or PM me.

Hiria xx

Not convinced? Check out what one of my past paddlers said about the boot camp,

“I signed up for Boot camp mindset for paddlers, rather nervously I might add (this is Hiria after all) and thought I might not make it all the way through the Bootcamp physical side of things, but I came out the end of the eight or so weeks with so much, so many gains lol and a loss. 4.5kg that I didn’t need has gone and that’s just the beginning. The past eight weeks with Hiria has opened my eyes, my mind, my heart even more, and my waka whanau connection. Any wander why I love this sport. Thank you Hiria for my growth in all things waka. Love to you girl, you Rock”

P.S If anything in here has resonated with you please share as you may be doing some else a favour by doing so.

P.S.S If you had an aha moment, Id love to hear about it.  drop me a PM or if you have the courage share it to my facebook page.

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

Hiria Rolleston on insta – follow my journey to make every stroke count by affirming my whakapapa, connection to people, places and things.

Drop me an Email to book your spot on the bootcamp x





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


INSPIRED SERIES – Vesna Radonich


World Master Games 2017 Medal Haul


First name: Vesna Aroha

Surname: Radonich Aka Taravana (Tahitian for crazy)

Is an opens & masters division Paddler from Auckland, lives in Gisborne and has been paddling for 10 years.  She typically participates in sprints and marathon events each year.  And loves coaching juniors.


Day before race, I think about the kids meals, what we are having for dinner, is the family sorted. Then I focus on me, as I have learnt that for me to be able to focus in I need to know my family are good.

Two days before, I start drinking more water, stretching, mobility and light cardio to keep my muscles relaxed.  Dinner the night before is usually lots of vegetables and lean meat.  Sometimes I buy pizza for the morning of a marathon race, as it’s what I crave the most.


World Sprints Australia 2016

During sprint racing I just snack on crackers, hummus, kumara, banana, nothing too heavy till after the last race.

Marathons, during racing I have banana pancakes and kumara. On the last leg of a marathon race and on the last sprint final I like cold coffee and dark chocolate for the caffeine and sugar rush.  Not too much a fan of energy drinks and powerades. Prefer the raro with a couple of pinches of salt, does the same thing. Wake up at 5am and eat the usual breakfast, keep it simple, do what your body is used to. As a team or individual paddler it is important to stretch and warm your body to prepare it to preform at its best. For me its usually a jog with mobility stretches. Then when we load on the waka go for a warm up paddle and practice some of the strokes that are required in the marathon or sprint.

MANTRA – don’t think too much, just focus on doing the job

BIGGEST MISTAKE – trying to do too much the night before.

Biggest mistake on a race day, is not speaking your gut feeling when something doesn’t feel right, trust your intuition.


Champions – World Sprints Campaign Australia 2016 


A great big mini to Vesna for taking the time to share a little bit of her knowledge with us all.  She is a super talented, busy athlete and mama and approaches everything she does with so much focus.  I love watching her perform on the water.  Vesna left out the part where she has represented NZ on the international paddle scene for many years in both W6 and V1 racing.  she is also a World Champion V1 paddler.  She has been a paddler I have looked to for inspiration for many years and will continue to do so.

Please show your gratitude by leaving a comment for Vesna and sharing her piece forward with your club and friends.

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

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

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





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


INSPIRED SERIES – Michael Rogerson


Mike Long distance Nationals 2016 – Gold Medallist 


Division: Master Men

Club: Turangawaewae

Lives in Hamilton.

Paddling for 10 years.

I paddle all year round and participate in all the main races around the country.


My routine for races starts about a few days out.  I start to organise my paddling equipment and waka making sure it’s all in good working order (i.e. drink systems, rudder and rudder cables) and to make sure I haven’t misplaced anything.  Nothing worse than running around the morning of a race in a panic doing repairs or trying to find something.

I also try and concentrate on eating well and hydrating leading up to a race.  I have come unstuck during races by not doing these two things in the lead up.

The night before I like to have a big meal with plenty of vegetables some pasta and either Chicken, fish or steak.  For breakfast its porridge with cream, brown sugar and a banana with a cup of tea.  Then it will be a 50/50 mix of electrolytes and water and just snack on scroggin leading up to the race.

The morning of the race I try and stay relaxed not rush around too much.  I’ll stretch throughout the morning.  I’ll usually try and get out on the water at least 15 minutes before race to loosen and warm up.


My mantra is be confident but humble.  You must have the confidence to back yourself if you want to succeed but also be humble in victory or defeat.


Takapuna Beach Cup 2017 – 24km Relay


The biggest mistake I ever made leading up to a race was not washing out my hydro pack before racing one year at the Bo Herbert Memorial race.  I became very sick halfway during the race and lost a lot of places.  So hence why I like to make sure I have everything organised days in advance.  Cheers Mike.


Mike Rogerson lives his mantra to a tee! He is one of the most humble paddlers I know.  I got to know Mike a bit better on our worlds Campaign for Tahiti Long distance champs this year.  When I approached him to write this little piece he was very taken aback by it not realising how much he has to offer us all.

Its similar with all our paddlers. Most ask “why me, I’m not special”. Actually you are, because it’s the way you do what you do that counts. It’s interesting to see and acknowledge our differences because those differences will really resonate with someone else and give them hope.

I admire Mikes consistency to his training while supporting his whanau, and coaching at his club.  Trying to compete yourself as an athlete and coach is no easy task so I take my hat of to him for that.

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



Anne paddling for her club team Manuz and Jemimaz


This hearty paddler is from Palmerston North, and is an open womens paddler for Manuz and Jemiman from Haeata Ocean Sports.  She has been racing waka since 2010.

Main sport focus is sprint flatware kayaking but have competed nationally and internationally in a number of paddle sports; surf lifesaving, wildwater kayaking, ocean ski racing, waka ama and whitewater rafting.

I asked her if she has any specific events she does each year and her reply was;

Ha ha I don’t really have a typical amount of events per year, it’s really dependent on what my focus is that year or what is happening long term (i.e olympic cycle campaigns where I cut right back on waka or other disciplines in the two years proceeding doing a few waka races and maybe five or so sprint regattas which are Europe based so take time and funding to commit to.  Or post olympics like this year across my varying disciplines of waterspouts where I’ve done half a dozen waka races, surf lifesaving nationals, a couple of rafting events, and ocean ski worlds plus i like to do as many local races as possible in waka, flatwater, and multisport racing too.


Depends on what type of race I’m doing (which paddlesport and sprint or long distance). For waka though I make sure all my kit and equipment is ready, usually the night before if possible.  Making sure to be hydrated well in the 2-3 days before but thats kinda just standard all the time.

Dinner night before based on what I’m feeling like, often chicken veggies (kumara or taro if I can get some) and maybe some pasta/rice.  And the routine green tea and chocolate before bed.

In the morning I eat a solid kai 2-2.5 hours before, porridge with berries and seeds and keep sipping on electrolyte, listen to music and stay relaxed but feeling ready… strong black coffee about 30 minutes before (especially for sprint racing).

For kayak racing I’ll do a pre warm up about 60-90 minutes before race time with a 20 minute set warm up before the race…  waka is a bit more relaxed, bit of dynamic land warm up and a paddle warm up with some builds/changing intensity… often have a snack of banana and honey on white bread about 1 hour before the race.



I don’t really have a mantra, I more try to just focus on the process of what I need to do, the outcome I want, technique, timing, race plan.

Biggest thing I remind myself is to enjoy it, no matter if it’s an olympic start line or a local race I do all the training and everything because I enjoy it and I can.  Not everyone gets to do what they enjoy and have a passion for so I’m unashamedly opportunity greedy and make no apologies for it.


Anne representing Samoa at the Olympics


Ha ha biggest mistake is slippery hands!!!  Apply sunscreen early or ideally get someone else to do it for you!  I always roughen up my hands with sand or mud, it’s a crap situation when you’re hands are slipping on the shaft, you grip tighter and it plays on your mind.


Again, I have only really got to know Anne through our recent World’s Campaign but knowing she is an olympic paddler and seeing how she trains and her consistency with her focus and nutrition was pretty cool.

I admired her approach to the team and flexibility coming from a predominantly individual paddle background.  She is one hundy chic and someone I totally admire on and off the water.

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