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August 09, 2021
Image: Harvie Allison / Harvpix
19-year-old Newcastle-based Kye Taylor is super passionate about surf life saving, water sports and the marine environment. He recently won the Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Under 19 Series — the pinnacle of Surf Life Saving Australia's elite sports program — and qualified to compete against 60 of Australia's fittest and fastest surf sporting athletes in the 2022 open Nutri-Grain Iron Man series.
How did you get into what you’re doing?
All my life I have been around the beach. I grew up on Blacksmiths beach where my Pop was heavily involved in Swansea Belmont surf club as the club's President. That reason, combined with my mother, aunty and uncle all growing up competing for Swansea Belmont saw me take up Nippers for the club. I really enjoyed it and still enjoy it 13 years later.
What motivates you?
I find most of my motivation from my mum. She is my rock and a big part of my success in this sport. To this day she still wakes me at 4am for swimming and makes sure I’m training hard and eating right. She also drives my craft to and from events.
Have you ever had a scary experience?
I haven’t encountered anything scary in terms of sharks or anything. However, when I was 16 I tore my ACL playing rugby league which was scary, as I didn’t know how long I’d be out of the surf.
Image: Harvie Allison / Harvpix
What’s your most touching experience?
When I qualified for the Ironman series, Mum and I shared a hug and shed a tear. For me, I’d say that was my most touching experience within this sport so far.
What’s your daily routine to stay in the zone?
My sport is so intense so when I’m training I try to always feel fresh and recover well. That means I have to get plenty of sleep and visit a recovery centre when I can. This allows me to reset and stay in the zone.
How do you continue to educate yourself?
At 19 years old, I am still young and learning from my idols, which I will be racing this year. I try to pick their minds, asking questions about racing and recovery. I want to learn all I can from them. With the upcoming Ironman series, the best way I’ll be able to educate myself is soaking up the whole experience.
Who in your field inspires you?
I have always looked up to Ky Hurst, one of the legends of our sport. I have watched all the YouTube videos of him competing from about my age and showing the bigger, older guys how it’s done. I feel like he really inspires me to do the same.
What’s your advice for anyone wanting to get involved?
If you are young enough, my advice would be to definitely give Nippers a go. You can make friends which will last a lifetime – I have and there are so many benefits being part of the surf life-saving community.
If you had a billboard, what would it say?
There’s more to life than traffic.
If there was a one-word reminder that kept you going, what would it be?
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