We to start with touched base with Jonas Ecker in 2018 when he was just 15 a long time previous, and starting up to present true promise of getting able to compete in paddling at the environment level.
A Bellingham indigenous, Jonas is now at the University of Washington, and while UW doesn’t realize paddle athletics, he’s been in a position to chart a class that may possibly extremely well consider him to the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
Jonas’ credits his mothers and fathers as a main factor in his achievements. Equally are athletes. His mom rowed as a pupil at Washington Point out College, and his dad Brian “Wrecker” is a formidable athlete across a number of sports. Brian also has decades of coaching practical experience, and is Jonas’ main mentor.
How did you get in to paddling sports activities?
My mom initially rowed at “Wazzu” Washington Point out University, and immediately after graduating she and my father moved to Bellingham. She in the beginning ongoing her rowing in a flatwater one scull. At that stage she was very significantly carrying out it on her have considering the fact that at that time there was no rowing club in in Bellingham. The Whatcom Rowing Association was yet to form.
On major of that, working with a boat was normally a trouble, or much too much of a problem, to get it from the home, rig it, de-rig it, and transportation it back again and forth from the lake. It was constantly a lot more of a chore than one thing pleasurable.
About that identical time my father was competing in various multi-sport races, and soloed the Bellingham Traverse multisport race, which incorporates a kayak leg. I try to remember him telling me the story of how he was carrying out really well–as he’s acknowledged to do–and on the final (kayak) leg, he retained having handed by these guys who have been paddling, what have been at the time, super fancy carbon kayaks. He was like “what are these factors?”
After that he bought our first surfski to help in his multi activity race pursuits. My mother tried using it and she bought back again into paddling.
In 2013 the Bellingham Canoe Kayak Dash Crew started out in Bellingham. I joined just one of their one particular of their initially summer months camps that was about a 7 days extensive. I proceeded to stick with the crew, and have been instruction and racing for them ever due to the fact.
Now heading into 2024, this is my 11th season with the staff which is rather crazy to imagine about. All through that time. I have developed from becoming just a child undertaking it for entertaining, to then competing at community functions, at countrywide situations, and representing the United states of america the two at Planet Championships and with the US Olympic and Paralympic delegations to the Pan American Online games. This doesn’t nevertheless make me an Olympian, but I’m hoping to qualify for the Paris Games this summer. We’ll see how all the things pans out.
For readers who may perhaps be unfamiliar, what is the variation amongst paddling and rowing?
A great deal of times “paddling” and “rowing” are used interchangeably. Rowing, which is a a great deal more substantial activity in the United States by both athlete number and recognition, is carried out as singles, pairs, doubles, fours, quads, and eights applying single-bladed oars. These boats are usually steered and directed by a coxswain. The boat is shifting backwards relative to the athletes propelling it. That is, the rowers experience opposite the path of vacation.
On the other hand, in paddling we compete in staff boats as effectively as in singles, doubles, and fours, but with two-bladed paddles. Paddlers do not use coxswains, and they steer the boats by themselves experiencing the course of travel.
Both rowers and paddlers (or kayakers), race on extremely very similar programs and typically the identical classes. Dash kayakers race distances of 200 meters, 500 meters, and 1000 meters, while rowing programs are typically 2000 meters.
What is your existence like as a scholar-athlete?
Given that dash kayaking is a specialized niche activity, we’re not identified by numerous collegiate institutions, and we’re not affiliated with the NCAA or any other collegiate athletics organizations. This calls for a whole lot of advocacy on the component of the athlete, as effectively as interaction with the faculty and other individuals in my departments that are relevant.
I have been super fortunate to have pretty accommodating school at the University of Washington where I am completing a Bachelors of Science in Maritime Biology with a small in Chemistry. They have all been tremendous valuable in the marine bio division, as nicely as the chemistry section in encouraging me keep on track with equally of my diploma strategies and with common coursework. When I’m touring for competitions it’s very tough at instances to harmony and I guess far better say juggle a full-time work as an athlete as properly as a entire-time career as a pupil. That can be a feat in time administration.
But by expanding both academic and athletic degrees considering that superior faculty, I sense that I have been ready to build skills alongside the way that have benefited me equally in in the classroom and on the drinking water. I have been equipped to make the most of the time I have, primarily just being able to self-inspire, and establish loads of self discipline. A ton of the time, I’m training by itself or without a coach with me specifically on the water.
I think all in all, my target as an athlete and as a pupil is to not choose a single or the other. I feel a ton of the time I am prioritizing my athletic job over university but but at the very same time I don’t want to sacrifice or compromise my upcoming by not acquiring that tutorial career and so I’m carrying out every little thing I can to excel in both places.
What is your coaching like?
Education for canoe dash or sprint kayaking naturally consists of a large amount of time in the boat on the drinking water.
I supplement the on-water schooling with toughness developing in the gym, accomplishing a variety of exercises–some which are sport-specific–focusing on core security and rotational toughness to emphasize that connection involving the blade and the boat. I do a ton of cross-teaching. I like to bike when I can. Nordic ski skate snowboarding is good mainly because it will involve the lats which are a massive component of paddling.
That all arrives with each other in a structured schooling program that I compose in cooperation with my father as my primary mentor. Together we establish the week-to-7 days strategy, the thirty day period-to-month strategy, and plan the even larger photo to make absolutely sure I’m primed and completely ready to go for competitions and carrying out what I require to get myself in the finest condition probable to perform at my best.
I’m also lucky enough to be doing work with Chris Drescher at the College of Washington. In my power programming, she has been phenomenal in encouraging me be a little more deliberate and successful in the gym, both in how I’m structuring every single exercise, but then the increased periodization of that education as nicely.
I ordinarily want to get in the water 2 times a day, elevate weights 3 moments a week, and some cross-education with biking or Nordic skiing sprinkled in there to increase some wide variety. These exercises vary any where from remaining in a zone, to a cruise, to focusing on approach, to a total lactic session at race tempo until you can’t actually go any longer. I imagine a good deal of paddling, as is the situation in a ton of elite athletic sports, is you form of have to take pleasure in the suffering and the pain to be effective and to development. You are not likely to get better unless you harm yourself in all those certain methods that set you just at the edge, but not pretty more than. It is all about sort of walking that great line, as I imagine most athletes can relate to.
What do you delight in about competition?
Sprint kayaking events are done in similar ways to a monitor satisfy or swim meet in which you have preheats, prelims, semifinals, finals and so on. And in a comparable way, we contend on laned classes which are normally 9 across, and we race distances of 200 meters, 500 meters and 1000 meters in the dash self-control. For enjoyment, I also like to contend in surfski races, which are about extended distances wherever from 5000 meters to 20k. Those people often come about in open up ocean or more flexible ailments, while sprint kayaking is most often on flat water, ideally flat h2o on safeguarded channels, or artifical courses, or lakes.
What I also really like about competing is the variety of competitions we get to show up at. I’ve been blessed ample to compete at the regional level, with my club, the regional level at bigger gatherings, as perfectly as nationwide and global ranges. Given that I started out paddling in 2013 I’ve been fortunate adequate to depict the US countrywide workforce in some capacity due to the fact 2018, in which I made the junior national team. And then a lot more lately, in 2022, I had my very first period on the senior and U23 countrywide groups, where I’ve been in a position to compete at various stages of global level of competition.
In the earlier few decades, I’ve been fortunate ample to compete at the under 23 Planet Championships several moments as very well as the senior Earth Championships a number of occasions and some of the planet cups that are Planet Championship-esque gatherings, but not always for environment titles very similar to the UCI’s cyclocross, monitor, and mountain bike Planet Cup Series or circuits.
I also was quite lucky to contend at the Pan American Video games this past tumble down in Santiago, Chile, which is identical to the Olympics only takes place just about every 4 years but the 12 months prior to the Olympics. The groups that attend are nominated by their countrywide Olympic Federation or National Olympic Committee. I gained bronze in the men’s K2 500 meter with Aaron Compact, and the silver in the men’s K1 1000 meter. Though it was not an Olympic Games, it was a super inspiring expertise, and one thing I’ll by no means overlook.
Very last summer season I also competed at the Globe Championships in Duisburg, Germany, the place I skilled for the B closing and the men’s K2 500 meter and the C ultimate and the men’s K1 1000 meter.
What are your plans for paddling?
Wanting into the new year and future season, I will be competing at the US Nationwide team trials in March. Then accomplish a quota place for the Paris Olympic Online games at the continental qualifier in April. Then contend as a member of the US delegation to the Paris 2024 Olympic Online games. Competition is tight. But I consider that it is a chance. And I’m likely to do every little thing I can with my team to make it a truth.
What job does paddling have for you longer term?
in the even bigger scale of items and searching into the foreseeable future with paddling, I genuinely see it as a lifelong activity. I truly hope that I can carry on to paddle as extended as I’m alive and as extensive as I’m capable. It is a excellent supply of cardio exercise, balance, power making, and entire entire body involvement. It’s also a great way to link with mother nature, to be outside, and it is just so a lot enjoyable to be on the h2o be in mother nature. And actually just listen to the water gliding splashing along the side of your bow with your paddle strokes. And yeah, I guess paddling is 1 of the greatest features of my lifestyle, and just one of the largest constants and I’d like to hold carrying out it permanently, if achievable.