05 Apr 2017

Kendrick Louis The Champion Ironman

After overcoming his fears of the ocean at a young age and working towards a carpentry apprenticeship, Kendrick switched directions to achieve his dream of becoming an IronMan - and he hasn’t looked back since.

 

 

 

I began Surf lifesaving (nippers) around the age of 9 in the under 10’s age group. I had overcome a deep rooted fear of water that I had from a near drowning as a toddler and had become confident in my swimming and loved everything about the beach. The sand, the surf, the sun, the people, all of it.

My dad surfed and in natural progression my brothers and I all followed suit, but the one thing my parents were extremely keen on is us being safe in the water, whether that is by the pool or at the beach or in a river. The catalyst for us joining nippers was a combination doing sport in and around the water and the beach as well as learning about how to be safe at the beach, when we were surfing.

I instantly fell in love with it. When you love something, you want to do it more and more, I began board training then as I got older I was able to do ironman’s, a combination of a swim race, bodysurfing a beach sprint to my board then a board race and a wave with a sprint up the beach to finish. I was in heaven and I wanted to win.

As I grew older, I immersed myself in Ironman racing, pool swimming and surfing. No matter what I was doing, sport wise, it needed to be in the water. I watched my heroes on the TV, ironman greats who raced in the summer sun, in big waves, in an abundance of locations. I wanted to be like Trevor Hendy, Zane Holmes and Shannon Eckstein.

In Open age groups, Surf Ironman racing involves 4 Disciplines, Swimming, Board Paddling, Surf Ski Paddling (kayak in waves) and running. In professional racing we need to be outstanding at all of them, you cannot afford to have a weakness.

 This lead to when I was about 16 my swim coach said to me, “mate you are a talented swimmer, but you need to choose whether you will go with swimming or surf and ironman racing. All the other training you do is affecting your swimming” I chose ironman racing and that was it.

I got my first taste of the professional circuit when I was 18, I was the youngest in the series and the “big boys” absolutely annihilated me when we went out to race.

Since then I have had an amazing experience with Surf Ironman racing and the sports I am associated with because of it, it has taken me to Japan, America, New Zealand, Hawaii and Some of the farthest reaches of Australia, competing for myself, my club, my state and my country.

Surf Ironman racing is an exciting Sport, when you watch it live it is like no other sport on the planet. The guys I race are big, fast, and strong. They come from a background of Swimming, Surfing, and Kayaking, and they can all run very fast. Sports that have given them explosive power, unrivalled surf skills, a love of the ocean and big waves as well as a laid back beach attitude that when you step away from the competition arena allows us to kick back as mates and share a bit of banter.

The women and girls who do our sport are just as fierce. Fast, strong, athletic and brave. They throw caution to the waves and display a phenomenal level of skill, handling everything as well as (arguably better than) the elite men.

We race in all conditions. From treacherous 10-12ft surf to flat, lake like conditions and everything in between. We race in cold 12 degree water and sweltering 45 degree+ summer heat, in gale force winds and dead still days. It requires grit and determination, 30 plus hours a week of training in the swimming pool, on the race board, the surf ski, in the gym and on the sand. 12 months of the year through all seasons.

 

- Kendrick

Photo credit: Getty + Barton Louis

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