However, before we deep dive into Jess’ many career highlights (to date of course - we know she has a lot more on the horizon, with this year alone proving to be a huge one), we wanted to know a bit about Jess away from the world of sport:
“I travel a lot with my sport, which is an amazing opportunity to see the world and make friends internationally and experience different cultures - I love learning languages and trying different cuisines! I’m fluent in French and have family in the south of France”.
And when she isn’t travelling the globe, you can find her living her best local life, “When I’m home you’ll find me with friends at a cafe, in the bush or by the beach. I love cooking and love to bring people together around food. I’m also obsessed with dogs, even though I don’t have one yet as I travel too much. I just borrow other people’s.”
With both of her parents’ Olympic athletes themselves, before becoming coaches, Jess notes the duo as big inspirations behind her love of sport. However, inspirational parents aside, it was actually a trampoline accident that fatefully threw her into the world of canoe slalom:
“We moved to Australia from France when I was four and I grew up at the foot of the Blue Mountains, and was often at the Penrith Whitewater Stadium where my parents worked. I was a keen swimmer and gymnast when I was a kid, but broke my arm doing trampoline when I was eleven. My physio recommended doing a bit more kayaking for rehab and when I got to go on the rapids I was hooked! I was always competitive and when I did my first competition and did pretty well (getting all the gates!) I decided to stick with it. By the time I was 16, I had given up swimming and was focusing solely on paddling.”
See you later trampoline, hello Olympics! If it wasn’t enough to be invited to compete in the Olympics, Jess is also the proud owner of two Olympic medals. It is these moments, amongst several others, that Jess marks down as serious career highlights:
“Winning my two Olympic medals was very special. I think 2018 was also the highlight year for me, winning the overall World Cup in both events and then winning the double world championship title - becoming the greatest canoe slalom paddler of all time was an incredible achievement that I still can’t quite wrap my head around!”
And with that, Jess is ready and prepping again, for what we imagine will soon become another moment in the highlight reel. With under 200 days to go until the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, we wanted to know what prep looks like before the world’s biggest sporting event? Turns out, before July, there’s a few extra things Jess needs to tick off:
“It’s gearing up to be an intense year! In terms of competitions, I head to New Zealand for the Oceania championships first and then at the end of February we have the Australian Open in Penrith, which is a world ranking race. Then two World Cups in June, before the Olympics at the end of July. I’ll be heading to Tokyo each month from March for small training camps on the Olympic course to get used to the water and learn the features. In terms of diet and fitness, I’ll just be working on staying healthy and getting stronger to be able to train injury free and arrive in the best shape possible for the Games.”
So with a little extra knowledge about Jess Fox away from the world of sport, what inspired her career trajectory and what prep looks like before embarking on her journey to Tokyo up our sleeve, we had just a few more questions - all SPF related of course!
We wouldn’t be doing our due diligence as makers of sunscreen if we didn’t get Jess’ thoughts on sun care and all things sun safety while outdoors, would we? So here goes - our questions for Jess…
Being outdoors so much with your career, is sun safety a priority for you? How do you aim to look after your skin while outdoors?
“Yes definitely - especially living in Australia. You can really feel the difference when you go to Europe that the sun is less harsh. We spend all our paddling time on the water in the sun. Even if training is at 8AM, I always try to wear a long sleeve rashie, sunscreen and zinc on my face (despite this I still end up with a helmet and watch tan lines sometimes). I also try to avoid training in the middle of the day. When I’m looking at the course, I’ll wear a cap or visor and some polarised sunnies because the glare off the water can be quite strong.”
When it comes to sunscreen - what do you look for outside of a high level SPF? For example, is texture, scent, being waterproof important and does it change the way you think about and use SPF?
“For me it needs to be waterproof and high SPF. I don’t want to have to reapply during a 1 hour session! I tend to prefer a roll on or spray for the body, because I feel like I get less on my hands (which end up super slippery on my paddle). A nice scent is a bonus!”
With growing knowledge around the fact that 1 in 3 Australians will experience some kind of sun damage or exposure to melanoma in their lifetime, was sun protection something you were brought up to take note of? Was education around this an important message while you were at school?
“I think many Aussie kids grow up with the 'no hat no play' rule in primary school, but this seems to go out the window in high school and I remember never wearing hats through my high school years, and hardly wore sunscreen at school unless it was a sports carnival. But the fact that I played sport on weekends, this was often drilled into us, sunscreen and rashies were a must! Sunscreen tubs were visible. I think when I was younger it was more about how I looked - I hated getting tan lines on my arms, these were not a good look if you wanted to wear a dress! Whereas now it’s more about my health, looking after my skin and getting it checked if something doesn’t look right.”
We wanted some final words of inspiration from world champ, Jess Fox. She left us with this… and aren’t we glad she did:
“I think it’s really powerful to dream big and aspire to big goals but you need to be able to break it down, write down smaller goals and tick those boxes. Sometimes it takes a long time and patience and perseverance are important. I think building resilience is also really valuable - whatever the setback, try and see what it is meant to teach you instead of feeling defeated by it.”
Main image via @jessfox94 Instagram.