Q&A with Ambassador Noemie Fox : Professional Slalom Athlete

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About: She Went Wild Ambassador ; Noemie Fox, is 20 years old and a professional Canoe Slalom athlete.

Noemie, you’re a canoe-slalom Athlete. Could you tell us a little more about that? What does it entail? What’s a Canoe-Slalom-course like? How do you win?

Canoe Slalom is such a great sport because there is always a new challenge and lesson to be learnt every day. Every slalom course is different. Sometimes we race on beautiful natural rivers but most of the time we compete on artificial canoe slalom courses.  I train on the 2000 Sydney Olympic artificial whitewater course out in Penrith.

The aim of the sport is to navigate your kayak or canoe down the rapids, following the set design of hanging upstream or downstream gates without touching them. If you touch a gate a two second penalty is added to your time. If you miss a gate, a 50 second penalty is added!

It’s a sport where anything could happen, you don’t necessarily have to be current world leader to reach the top of the podium, you just have to be the best on the day!

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At what age did you start paddling and how did you become involved in the sport?

My parents were both Olympic canoe slalom athletes and are still involved in the sport. Growing up, I spent most of my time by the river bank following them. It was inevitable that one day I too would get involved! It wasn’t until I was 14 that I began competing at my first nationals and started to really enjoy the sport.

Did you feel comfortable the first time you sat in a kayak? Did you have a ‘aha!’ moment where you just knew this was the sport for you?

I roughly two years old when I sat in a kayak for the first time, so I don’t think I was too comfortable! I definitely didn’t have an ‘aha!’ moment! It took me a while to really get into the sport. This photo sums up how I felt about kayaking at the very beginning! Once I became more confident, and got over my fear of the whitewater rapids I completely fell in love with the sport and the lifestyle.

Should one of our readers be interested in starting canoe slaloming or want to enroll their child. Where should they start?

Check out the Paddle Australia website to find your nearest kayak club. Kayaking is a great activity for kids, especially in the summer (the minimum age for most courses is 12 years old).  I’m a kayak instructor at Penrith Whitewater Stadium, pay me a visit anytime and I’d be happy to teach you how to kayak!

What has been your biggest accomplishment in the sport to date?

Last year I won my first senior bronze medal at a World Cup in Spain. My sister also won a medal that week-end so it was so nice to share that special moment with her. This year I collected a silver medal in the teams event at my first World Championships!

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How often do you train a week? What do you do? Do you do any other training other than canoeing to get better at canoeing?

When preparing for a competition, the majority of my training is on the whitewater, especially if it’s a course I’m not familiar with! Now that it’s the end of the competition season, it’s important for me to train on the flat water to build my endurance and strengthen my technique. Aside from kayaking, I’m really into boxing and running.

I also try to do Yoga a few times a week. It’s great way to wind down, stretch the muscles and focus on my breathing.

Do you ever have those ‘do not disturb’ moments in those chilly winter-morning before training? What gets you out of bed? Tell us your secrets….!

I think it’s natural to sometimes wake up lacking motivation! There are days when it’s miserable outside and I’m too cosy in my bed but I know that I always feel better after a training session. I also think of the people that train outside in the negative degrees and it makes me toughen up and get on with it! I’m lucky enough to escape the Aussie winter in order to train in the European summer. That’s where the major competitions are during the season.

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Tell us why you are a She Went Wild Ambassador? What draws you to the brand?

Empowering, educating and inspiring women to get outdoors and be adventurous is something that I am EXTREMELY passionate about and strive to achieve.  I love the opportunities that are offered by She Went Wild and the overall community of strong women that has been built. It’s so nice to be able to follow the adventures of other girls and be inspired by one another.  

In a parallel universe… if you had 4 years, access to the best coaches and facilities in the world and you had you had to back yourself to win 1st place in a totally different sport… what sport would it be?

Although I’ve never even had a winter before, in a parallel universe I would be a half-pipe athlete. I’m fascinated by winter sports!

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Do you have a favorite course?

There are so many whitewater courses around the word that I love. One of my favourite courses is a beautiful natural river located in Bourg St Maurice, a small town in the French Alpes.  

Another Canoe Slalom course that I love is in Italy. The river runs through the heart of a small picturesque town named Ivrea. I’m looking forward to going back there next year to compete in the U23 World Championships!

Best travel adventure ever?

Last year was a big year full of adventures! I went to Rio for the Olympic Games with a few friends. Taking part in the olympic celebration was incredible. I also went to New Zealand and tried creeking for the first time ( extreme kayaking). I paddled down some beautiful rivers and also a small waterfall. My kayaks have taken me on some incredible adventures around the world!

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When’s your next big race?

I just finished up my competition season with the World Championships in South West of France. I won a silver medal in the teams event and came 14th in the individual race. I’m currently enjoying a bit of time off before preparing for the next big race which is Senior Team Selection for next year’s world championships in Rio, Brazil!

How can we follow you?
Instagram: @_noemiefox