Natural Born Influencers: Kendrick Louis Is An Ironman On The Move
Presented by Oakley.
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In our ‘Natural Born Influencers’ series, we interview young talents who are taking the world by storm, presented by Oakley. Kendrick Louis wears Oakley Autumn apparel, Oakley Prizm sunglasses Latch Square and Crossrange.

It’s not uncommon for people to have a fear of the ocean.

However, it is pretty unusual for those people to then become Ironmen and make the sea their second home. That’s exactly the narrative behind Kendrick Louis, one of the country’s hardest working athletes racing his way across a multitude of disciplines. Emerging from Sydney’s Northern Beaches, Kendrick is an Ironman constantly on the move – whether that’s competing in a triathlon or exploring his numerous other passions.

Facing a jam-packed season, we talk to Kendrick about overcoming his fear of the ocean, his frightening injuries and what cheat meals that he likes to treat himself to:

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What sparked your fear of the ocean?

At the age of 2, I was at a BBQ with my parents and brothers. I wandered off and found myself laying helpless on the bottom of a pool drowning. If it wasn’t for the quick response of my older brother – he was 5 at the time – I wouldn’t be here today.

It’s quite a drastic change going from a fear of the ocean to becoming an Ironman. What inspired you to pursue this as opposed to carpentry?

From starting Ironman racing as a young kid, I always aspired to be the best in my chosen sport. My parents supported me in everything I put my mind to, but a career in sport was a little different. I mean the support and encouragement was there, but they were adamant that I was to have something to fall back on if it didn’t eventuate the way I saw it would. As a hyperactive adolescent with a passion for building things, also following in my dad’s footsteps carpentry was my chosen avenue. My Dad took me on as his apprentice.

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Take us through your first Ironman Series. How did it match up to your expectations both mentally and physically?

My first experience was super exciting. I’d just turned 18, I’d won two junior Australian titles and felt on top of the world. That changes very quickly, haha. Mentally I was fine, I loved the hype and loved racing but quickly I found out that I was just a kid racing men, who were the best of the best. I learned a lot!

You suffered a PCL injury a few years ago that almost ended your career. What were your thoughts at that time of uncertainty? Were you making back-up plans if your career was finished by then?

It was a really strange place for me, as I’d never suffered a serious injury. The moment it happened (the very start of the race) it hurt, but I was in disbelief that something serious had happened. I was young, naive and felt bulletproof. I carried on racing for about an hour until I couldn’t stand up no more.

I flew home from Perth, got scans done and came to the realisation that my season was over. I was absolutely devastated, as I was in the box seat to take out my first Ironman series. It motivated me to work had through rehab and never once thought it would be the end of me. I was only 22.

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The six month road to rehabilitation must have been a challenge. When do you begin to see major improvements and begin to feel like your old self?

I had a great support crew around me, although it felt like my rehab was taking forever. Double Crutches, single crutch, walking on an anti-gravity treadmill, to walking, to running six months later. Time had flown by and it was time to get back to training.

How do you manage to stay motivated to train for the long off season?

I set small goals for myself, in sport and away from sport. I set my whole season plan before I start my off-season training and take it day by day, week by week. I like to keep my mind active, I dabble in a bit of building/carpentry work and have just started working in a mates cafe learning to be a barista.

One thing I’ve learnt is that being under the pump making coffees for people who are in a rush and love their coffee, is 100 times more stressful than any race or training I’ve ever done. Fact!

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As someone who spends a lot of time in the ocean, what are your thoughts on the shark culling debate that has engulfed Australia?

I love and respect the ocean and everything that comes with it. It’s our playground, not our home. It’s very sad to see humans being taken/bitten by hungry sharks, there just has to be a better way to minimise this happening than by just killing them?

We imagine that you probably have a pretty strict diet. What’s your ultimate cheat meal/Achilles heel when it comes to food?

My diet is relatively strict during training and racing season. However, I believe strongly in living a balanced lifestyle. But when it comes to a cheat meal…

1) Carne Fries – Chicka Bonita Mexican restaurant.
2) Papi Chulo burger and a schooner of 150 lashes.

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Are there any competitive sports you’re looking to branch into in the future?

Although I’m probably too old, I’d love to play AFL and golf. However, I’ve got a growing passion for the hospitality industry. I’d love to own my own cafe and bar and follow in similar footsteps to Justin Hemmes and his Merivale empire. Dreaming big.

What’s on the cards for Kendrick Louis in 2017?

I’ll be kicking off with a team race in the Molokai to Oahu paddle board race, The Coolangatta Gold Ironman race, The Summer Of Surf Series and Nutri-Grain Ironman series.

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May 9, 2017
Editors Pick