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Curry rates Fiji

Lice Movono
Monday, June 19, 2017

SHE'S travelled around the world and has been one of Australia's and undoubtedly the world's fastest swimmers before she was even a teenager.

In her career which began in 1977 when she was only 12, Lisa Curry scooped 15 gold medals from just about every major sporting competition including the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games.

With so many years behind her in sports, the 55-year-old could easily shed a decade from her age given her fitness regimen and so her youthfulness has made her a trusted brand in terms of health and fitness.

It is a brand which has led to media opportunities, speaking engagements as well as her own fitness products including vitamin and hormonal supplements.

For the second year in a row now, the champion's latest successful business opportunities have brought up to 100 of her followers to Fiji.

Of all the places she could have chosen to become home to her sporting retreats, Curry said Fiji was a natural choice for about 100 women in the country for a sports retreat which she said she could have taken anywhere else but chose Leleuvia Island Resort and Fiji instead.

With her fiancé Mark Tabone, Curry brings two sports retreats of an average of 25 women for eight days each time staying at Leleuvia for the duration of the retreat then finishing off at Outrigger Resort on the coral coast for a taste of luxury travel.

Not a stranger to Fiji, having been chief guest at the annual Fiji Sports Awards, Curry said Leleuvia as a destination was the major pull for her.

"The outrigging is what makes it special. You can't paddle an outrigger anywhere else unless you're part of a club or unless the hotel has it but you won't be able to teach people how to do it effectively," Curry said.

"I'm fairly certain that there could be lots more things like this happening in Fiji like yoga, windsurfing and other sports retreats."

During the trip the women basically come to exercise to get results and they get to do it in exotic, comfortable Fiji.

The champion swimmer who has held Commonwealth and Australian records in every stroke except backstroke, Curry starts the retreat by teaching the women to swim better.

In true iron woman style though, Lisa uses fitness strengths unique to her background to give the Australian women a different experience.

"We get quite personal and a lot of ladies end up having a good cry then we realise we are not alone.

"A lot them say it's life changing."

Lisa takes the women through the popular "boot camp" routine which is also quite popular locally given its ability to, within a short period of time, build a person's strength and fitness and in doing so change their attitude towards an active life.

She runs full workshops on topics such as fitness, nutrition, strength, weight loss, self-care, self-management and lastly, although definitely the most important part of the Fiji experience, she puts the women through various water craft sports.

After she retired from swimming and with her three children grown up, Lisa competed in surf boat rowing competitions and outrigger canoe events.

She excelled at the latter and even took her Australian team to win World Championship Outrigger Canoe event in 1997.

So her experience with outrigger canoes and of late the Stand Up Paddle Boards is a large part of the retreat she holds on Leleuvia. So successful is the concept that Curry has to host two retreats each year and she said he first one was always sold out within 24 hours of her selling spots online.

Leleuvia Island Resort's managers Colin Philp and Lisa Lee are both former national outrigger canoeing champs who are still very active key members of the canoeing community.

With their own lifelong love and passion for the sport, the two are very accommodating to Curry.

"I suppose we could go to Hawaii but we couldn't use the outrigger so freely as we can with Colin. I know a lot of people who do what I do go to Bali because it's cheap but I don't find Fiji is expensive at all.

"I will keep coming back here because of the water sports is so easily available. "

The women, a lot of whom have never touched a paddle in their lives, let alone move a canoe through their own strength end up not just learning to do so but also paddling in teams to nearby Caqalai and Honeymoon Island which is a 6km round trip.

This last trip which ended on June 14, Curry also offered a yoga teacher, classes in stand up paddle, kayak as well as outrigger. She said a lot of the women who completed the first of this year's retreats which ended on June 5 have gone back with plans to find a join a canoe club.

Curry said the simple message in her retreat was for people to realise that they could go on to live active adventurous lives well into their 60s and 70s and that if they inactive now, they will end up in a nursing home.

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