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Since retiring, you’d think Ironman Zane Holmes would have kicked his feet up and started taking it easy. Instead, Zane is busier than ever – training, working and cultivating a love for his sport among Australian youth.

Name: Zane Holmes
Age: 33
Location: Gold Coast, Qld
Occupation: Director, Dolphin Surf Craft

Growing up, an all-Aussie Zane Holmes spent most of his time at the beach, surfing and participating in Nippers – the junior branch of Australia’s surf life-saving industry. At just 15, he decided to focus on becoming a professional Ironman, a big dream at such a young age.

Within two years, Zane was racing in the Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Ironman series, and winning. During his 15 years
participating in the sport, Zane won every major Ironman race there is to win, including the Australian Championship,
the World Championship (twice!), the Coolangatta Gold, five Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Series crowns and six Queensland titles. Elite is an understatement: Zane Holmes is a legend of the sport.

For Zane, his professional sporting career came to a halt in 2012 after a chronic back injury continued to give him grief during training. The arrival of his beautiful twin daughters was the final factor in his decision to retire.

“Now that I’ve retired from competition and don’t train nearly as much I think just being super fit was very rewarding,” said Zane, when asked why he had loved competing.

“Obviously setting goals to win certain titles, training hard for them and then achieving them were the most rewarding aspects.”

So what happens when you take the competition out of the Ironman? According to Zane, the day comes for all elite sportsmen to make the tough decision to leave the competition they love. But once an Ironman, always an Ironman. And while Zane now feels like he has even less spare time than when he was an athlete (running several businesses and keeping up with his energetic twins), he still makes his health and fitness a priority.

“I have to exercise at least every second day otherwise I feel terrible. My body needs to exercise as it has been so used
to it for the past 20 years,” says Zane.

“Now I paddle my ski a couple of times a week, I run a couple of times and do a couple of gym sessions.”

The rest of his time is spent working in the family business, Dolphin Surf Craft, established in 1992 by Zane’s father John Holmes. Zane uses his in-depth knowledge of the ocean environment, plus the knowledge his father passed down to him, to design high-quality boards that can be used by novice paddlers all the way through to elite surf life saving competitors.

Being a professional athlete for more than 15 years has given Zane the mental toughness he needed to be successful in
and out of the water.

“As a professional athlete, there are always obstacles to overcome with injuries and the hard training day in and day out,” says Zane.

“It has definitely made me mentally tougher and also taught me how to focus on what I want to achieve. This applies to business too.”

Zane’s other venture is the Medibank Wave Warriors Junior challenge, which he created to mirror the famous Kellogg’s Ironman series and allow junior lifesavers to develop their skills in the water. The event hopes to encourage younger Aussie athletes to lead a healthy and active lifestyle while providing some exciting competition.

The key to succeeding as an Ironman seems to be: start ‘em young. But if you’re trying the sport for the first time as an
adult, Zane’s top tip is to really hone in your surf skills and ocean knowledge.

“You can be the fittest guy in the race but if you don’t have good surf skills you will have trouble,” he says.

And while Zane is busy designing boards, promoting his sport and spending time with his family, a comeback isn’t completely off the table.

“I do miss competing and I have considered making a comeback,” reveals Zane.

“However, I’m realistic in the fact that I’m never going to be as fast as I was and I wouldn’t be happy being beaten.”

It seems that we may not have seen the last of Ironman Zane Holmes.


Breakfast: coffee, fruit smoothie and eggs
Lunch: tuna salad or sandwich
Dinner: steak and salad

Monday: 1 hour gym
Tuesday: 30-min run, 1-hour ski paddle
Wednesday: Rest day
Thursday: 30-min run, 1-hour ski
Friday: 1-hour gym
Saturday: 30-min gym, surfing
Sunday: rest day

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