Wellington born and bred, Kayla made her debut representing New Zealand at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival in 2009. She then was selected for Rio in 2016 as part of the New Zealand women's K4 boat, placing a very impressive fifth overall – not bad for a first Olympic games at the young age of 24! We were lucky enough to spend time with her in between her training regime to discuss her busy year and how she maintains her glowing skin on and off the water.
Can you tell us a little bit about what you do?
I’m an elite NZ Kayaker who placed 5th with my team in the K4 500m event at the 2016 Rio Olympics
Three words to describe yourself?
Driven, active, cheerful
Shot by: Amanda Wignell Photography. Make-up by: Grayson Coutts
"When your childhood heroes come watch your race that's pretty special."
How did you get started?
I originally started off as a competitive swimmer spending 12 years of my life in the pool. Eventually, the blue line at the bottom of the pool was no longer of interest so I was drawn to competing in surf lifesaving on the beach. It was here where I switched from racing under water to sitting on top paddling a surf ski. Training on a surf ski is similar to a kayak so over the winter break I jumped in a boat to get my base training done. After three months of training in a kayak I was selected to represent NZ at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival and became forever hooked.
Take us through a day in your life.
6am wake up, have a quick bite and head to Greenhithe for 1.40hr paddle followed by a 35min run. Come home for brunch then usually head to a 1hr meeting with support staff (coach, physio, doctor, psychologist, nutritionist, biomechanic etc). Squeeze in a couple hours study before heading to the gym for a 1.30hr session.
Best thing about what you do?
I get to train on lakes and rivers all over the world that people travel to for a holiday.
Biggest achievement to date?
5th in the K4 500m at the 2016 Rio Olympics
What was it like representing NZ at the Rio Olympics?
It was an experience of a lifetime! Being part of a team with such a strong sporting history made me feel extremely proud. There was immense support between sports codes within the NZ team at the games. Everyone put effort in to cheer and watch fellow team mates compete which made it all the more exciting. I mean, when your childhood heroes come watch your race thats pretty special.
Aside from training, what other things do you do to remain ‘race ready’?
Until a few hours before racing I like to distract myself by catching up with family, friends or listening to music. I try keep a race day as similar as I can to a normal training day because I need to race as hard as I train. The process of a race is what we practise in training so why change a perfect routine for something I know works.
What inspires/motivates you?
My family and other athletes. Watching others work hard to reach their goals truly inspires me.
Dipping my ice cream into popcorn at the movies
Biggest challenge being a kayaker?
Persevering through all the lows. I don’t always get the results I want and at times training can be daunting. During these periods the easiest thing would be to abandon ship but I’ve learn’t that getting through the lows leads to highs and ultimately reaching my goals. During these moments I recall the saying, "if it were easy everyone would do it".
Favorite Instagram accounts to follow?
@dermalogicanz @ragehawaii @natgeotravel @moana_bikini
Last person you text?
My partner Josh
Last person you called?
Given all the places you’ve travelled, where is your favourite?
Lake Bled, Slovenia
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
If it were easy, everyone would be doing it.
"Using products that protect my skin from the elements"
WHAT IS FACE MAPPING?
Face Mapping®, Dermalogica’s unique skin analysis, provides insight into your skin’s past and present, and allows the subsequent prescription of a targeted home care regime for a healthy skin future.