5 x Brazilian Champion, 2 x Triple-S Winner, 5x Vice World Champion and a 3x Freestyle World Champion, it's safe to say that Bruna Kajiya is one of the most iconic female riders out there! Find out what she's been up to lately and how she has fitted into the North Kiteboarding team, click here!
5 x Brazilian Champion, 2 x Triple-S Winner, 5x Vice World Champion and a 3x Freestyle World Champion, it's safe to say that Bruna Kajiya is one of the most iconic female riders out there! After recently taking a break from competing, Bruna is back! She has joined the North Kiteboarding team and is already ranking #2 on the GKA Freestyle World Tour! Find out what she's been up to, right here!
Bruna, it's great to see you back on tour! What did you miss most about competing?
I love competing, the challenge of performing under pressure, always searching to better yourself and the "ALL-IN" mentality, are things that give me that butterflies-in-my-stomach kind of thrill. Not many things in my life affect me like that, and that's what I missed the most!
You took some time off because of a knee injury, could you share with us what happened and how you recovered?
I had a meniscus tear on my right knee; the same knee that took me out six years ago during my semi-final heat during the World Tour stop in Germany.
This time, it happened in Brazil, while training for the World Tour. I had travelled a lot for my sponsors during that time and hadn't adequately trained for a while. When I got back to Cumbuco, two weeks before the 1st competition of the year, I decided I would catch up three months of not training in 2 weeks. I overtrained myself and was fatigued, the perfect recipe for an injury!
When I injured myself, it was a tough decision; I could either remove the piece that was torn or stitch it back together. The first option would only take one month to recover, and the second would mean six months rehab with the possibility of the stitching not working. On the other hand, removing the meniscus would mean harder consequences for my future due to the number of impacts we have during freestyle training, so I valued a healthy knee for my future, and decide to take the harder road, that included six months of rehab.
The only way to minimise the chances of injuries is to stay mentally and physically healthy. Do you follow a strict eating and training plan? What does your weekly training schedule look like?
I do my best to stay healthy while travelling so much; that's my biggest challenge. When I'm at home and get to train regularly with a routine, it's a lot easier to keep my body balanced, in shape and ready for action.
Unfortunately, I don't spend much time at home, but when I am there, I focus solely on working out at the gym to get strong and also finish my knee rehab, I have physiotherapy work done pretty much daily.
As for my diet, I try to eat healthily, but I don't obsess about it too much, I also love sweets and "junk food", I feel it's essential to keep a healthy mind and be happy, so I try not to control my eating habits too much!
To potentially prevent future injuries, what lesson did you learn the hard way, and what advice would you give other kiteboarders?
To listen to your body when it's time to stop; that's my biggest lesson so far! I need to understand when I'm tired or over-trained and have the patience to rest. Being hyperactive, that's always been a challenge for me, and I'm continuously working on it.
You always seem to emit positivity and remain focused; how do you mentally prepare yourself before competing? What thoughts are generally rushing through your head before you go on the water?
I'm positive because I chose to do that and that I love it. Although it might feel very hard at moments, I keep my perspective on the bigger picture, why I'm there and what's my mission. Leading up to a competition is when I feel like my mind gets the most active with thousands of thoughts rushing through at once, and it's a mind game to quiet my mind and focus solely on riding. With me, it's usually a storm of thoughts up the moment that buzzer goes off, then I go into such a deep focus, and everything else disappears. I'm in the present moment, and that kind of presence is what I live for.
We all know you're an ocean addict, but when you are not kiteboarding or surfing, what are your other hobbies?
Although I love the ocean and it's where I do my job, I also spend quite a lot of time away from it, to keep some balance, especially if I'm home. If I'm not kiteboarding, I love to spend time with my friends, doing whatever, and that's my favourite thing to do in my free time.
Tell us about the new North Kiteboarding gear; what is your quiver of choice?
The new North Kiteboarding gear is impressive; I felt an instant connection to the board, kites and control system. It's so intuitive that it feels effortless when riding it; it feels like it's been my gear for ages!
My quiver of choice is the Focus Hybrid board; it had an incredible pop for tricks and jumping, with smooth landings. I've been using the Pulse kite mostly, not only for Freestyle but also for kite loops and more aggressive big air tricks; it's epic!
Besides Freestyle, what other disciplines do you enjoy?
I have a newfound addiction for wave riding since my last trip to Mauritius during the world tour. We were lucky to finish the event during the first three days, and after that, I was at One Eye every day with a big smile on my face every chance I got! Apart from wave riding I also enjoy foiling a lot, especially the big wings, carving around and cruising.
Without a doubt, Brazil must be your favourite place to train, but what other spots have you been to that equally compared to your home conditions?
I love to ride in the tidal lagoon in Tarifa during Poniente wind, which can be as good as Brazil. New Caledonia is also an incredible location and stunningly beautiful. I also love Los Roques in Venezuela, Safety Bay in Australia and Soma Bay in Egypt - There are so many amazing spots in the world!
The wind is ON, who is the first person you call for a session?
That changes depending on where I am since I'm always in different places with different people. But some of my favourite people to ride with are Jerome Cloetens, my teammates Nick Jacobsen and Marc Jacobs, Paula Novotna and Colleen Carroll. These riders always make it fun and keep it light, and those are generally the most gratifying sessions.
Where do you plan on spending the winter? Do you have any exciting plans this year you'd like to share with us?
I don't have any plans yet this year because I've been travelling so much. Unless I need to plan, I try to keep things flexible and go with the flow a bit; bring some balance and lightness to my travel helps me stay fresh and motivated. But at some point during winter I usually stop by Cape Town!
Thanks, Bruna, it's been a pleasure!
By Jen TylerJen Tyler grew up in the chaos of Cairo, Egypt. It was on the beaches of the Red Sea where her love for the ocean, water sports and adventure grew.