Raffles chats with Pro Surfer and Novotel Ambassador, Sally Fitzgibbons

Interview Sally Fitzgibbons Novotel Ambassador

Novotel hotels are launching a range of new wellness offerings just for kids in time for the Autumn School Holidays. The new programme includes a healthy menu and two in-room kids work out shows starring Play School’s Rachael Coopes and Australian professional surfer Sally Fitzgibbons, designed to keep families healthy and active during their holidays.

So in the lead up to its official launch, Raffles decided to interview Sally Fitzgibbons about the programme, the importance of embracing fitness, surfing and, of course, eating

Over to them…

I’m a big fan of Novotel Hotels, so much so that you might even see me telling people how much I love them in the hotel’s rooms in Asia Pacific on their Welcome TV show.  I really appreciate you taking the time to answer some questions for me about you and Novotel and the new wellness programme you are launching with them.

You’re an ambassador for Novotel, what does that entail?
Good question Raff! Well, first of all it means that I really, really like staying at Novotel hotels just like you. And it also means that now I get to work a lot with the team from Novotel, which is really cool. Because I’m a professional athlete I often work with the hotel managers to see how we can help the guests be healthier.
That’s wicked. The Novotel guys are so awesome to kids.

What do you love most about Novotel?
I love soooooo many things about Novotel hotels! I really like that they are in lots of different locations, which means that when I’m travelling I can often stay at a Novotel. They also have some pretty cool healthy menus for kids and adults which I helped design, so I love that Novotel offers great food options too.
I’ve had some great meals at Novotel and there are so many fun, active things to do.

Keeping fit at Novotel Karon

You’re like one of the best surfers in the entire world. How hard is competitive Surfing? Do you have to train a lot?
I’m not going to lie to you Raff, it is very hard with a lot of things not in your control. I have to train every day and I also travel most of the year to compete. The thing I find is that when you do things that are really hard, you learn a lot and you can achieve things you never thought were possible. Plus, it’s pretty cool getting to play in the waves every day!
That would be pretty cool! And I love anything that makes you realise nothing is impossible. Well except maybe me ever not wanting to travel.

Being a professional surfer sounds like an epic job. You must get to travel a lot! How many countries have you travelled to for surfing?
I can’t count them all. Travelling is the best. I love meeting new people, trying new foods and learning about other cultures. But I also love being home and spending time with my friends and family. Some of my favourite countries are France, Fiji and Portugal.
Meeting new people and eating their food is the actual best! Mum likes to collect recipes so we can keep eating the dishes at home.

Where is your favourite ever place to surf?
First and foremost it would have to be my hometown Beach, Seven Mile Beach in Gerroa. But overseas, I would have to say my favourite surf break is Fiji’s Cloudbreak. Such a challenging wave that tests you mentally and physically, I feel there will always be something to learn every time I paddle out.
That sounds cool. I love watching you surf on YouTube.

What’s your favourite post surf meal?
It depends on the time of day but you can’t go past a steamed veggie salad and some boiled eggs or Amazonia Acai or Pitaya smoothie bowls. You need to make healthy normal so that you are not thinking about is this healthy.
Sounds super healthy.

NOvotel DArling Harbour Healthy Snacks

It is pretty hard to stay focused on being healthy and fit when travelling because there are so many distractions and soooo much food. What do you do to stay healthy?
That is right! It can be really difficult. One of the main things I do is make sure I always have options. In my bag you will always find a bottle of water, fruit and some healthy snacks like Blue Dinosaur bars and nuts. This means that I can snack and won’t be hungry no matter where I am.
We make sure we always have plenty of water (in a reusable bottle) too.

Novotel are launching a cool new range of wellness activities and treats for kids. I love eating so can you tell me all about the new healthy kid’s menu you helped design?
Yes I can – another great question! Basically, I worked with Novotel to create some healthy menus for adults a few years ago I thought why should the kids miss out!?

HEalthy treats for kids at Novotel

So, I spoke to some of the Novotel chefs to find out what kind of things kids love to order when they stay at Novotel. I found out that things like spaghetti bolognaise were the most popular. Then we looked at how these meals could be more healthy, for example by adding hidden veggies. The menus are epic because you can draw all over them and they have special thumbs up icons so that kids know which are the most healthy items on the menu. You can eat those ones every day!
I love my veggies but that’s a great idea for kids who don’t, I know loads of those.

What’s your favourite healthy holiday snack from the menu?
Personally, I love the grilled fish with salad and vegetables! It’s so yummy for dinner and really fills me up. If I have room after that I love the berries and yoghurt for dessert.
Sounds like my kind of meal.

There’s also some new in interactive in-room programs to help keep kids active as well as relaxed. Could you tell me about those?
These are so cool! You will see me and Rachael Coopes from Play School in these programs on the tele in your Novotel room. There are two programs. The Wonderful World of Shapes is really energetic and fun – a great way to get the day started. The other program is called Baby Bunny Won’t go to Bed. It’s also really fun but this one is about relaxing, learning some new yoga moves and getting ready to go to bed. They were so fun to make and I hope you like them. You can preview the in-room programs here.

What other things does the new programme offer for kids?
Novotel hotels are well known for their family friendly focus which already includes free accommodation and breakfast for children under 16, 50 per cent off a second room for families, late check-out on Sundays, welcome gifts for kids, movie partnerships and kids corner play areas.*
Novotel really does rock!

Last question. Any secret tips for a kid who wants to learn to surf and get fit and healthy?
Let’s not keep them a secret! My tip is to never stop learning and being active. That is how you can keep your mind and body fit and healthy. That could include making sure you pay attention as much as you can at school, asking your mum and dad to take you to a park that you’ve never been to before or using your imagination to think up a new game with your brothers and sisters. And if it’s surfing you really want to learn, then have a chat to your mum and dad about how you might be able to get started with a lesson at a surf school!
Right! Thanks for answering my questions. I’m off to hit the waves. After I check with mum, of course.

*Family friendly offerings differ across Novotel hotels across Australia. Subject to availability and conditions apply.

This is not a sponsored post, Raffle sis just a big fan of Novotel and Sally 

5 Comments on Raffles chats with Pro Surfer and Novotel Ambassador, Sally Fitzgibbons

      March 21, 2018 at 8:07 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank Laura. He’s quite the little interviewer

      March 21, 2018 at 8:07 pm (6 years ago)

      Thank Laura. He’s quite the little interviewer

  1. stuntman
    March 21, 2018 at 2:19 pm (6 years ago)

    Good job little dude. I didn’t know kids could stay for free…

      March 21, 2018 at 8:07 pm (6 years ago)

      They really look after kids.


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Hey, I’m Aleney! A mum, award-winning travel writer, magazine editor and gallivanting glutton. He’s Raff, the “boy” in boyeatsworld, and a fearless foodie, adventurer and eco-warrior. Along with his all-singing, all-dancing, all-adventurous sister, Sugarpuff, we’re exploring the world’s colour, culture and cuisine on a food safari for the junior set.

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