May 21, 2013
Gymnastics, Slalom Canoe and CrossFit: Pip Malone
By Carter Jee

“I always want to win. But making top three is the goal, and what I have been training for.”
Photos courtesy of CrossFit GCS.

Pip Malone will be one of the new faces competing at the 2013 Australia Regional.

The 23-year-old from Sydney, Australia made a statement in this year’s Open, finishing third in the region, and 35th worldwide.

Malone is a dual Australian sporting representative, competing in gymnastics and K1 canoe slalom.

“I was a super hyperactive toddler, so my mum took me to kindergarten gymnastics to burn energy,” Malone says. “I loved it, and I continued to love it as I got older.”

Malone started competing in gymnastics at age 4 and has since had a successful career at an elite level.

“Gymnastics took me to China, Scandinavia and New Zealand, where I have represented Australia in competition, training squads and performance teams,” Malone says.

At age 15, the athlete was earmarked for kayaking as part of an identification program that was run by the Australian Institute of Sport and Australian Sports Commission.

“They were trying to create a squad of young athletes from various sporting backgrounds to get into canoe slalom,” Malone says.

“I fit the description and met the athletic requirements for what they were looking for, and I was selected for the squad.”

Malone would go on to compete at both the national and international levels in the K1 class of canoe slalom for five years.

But in 2010, Malone gave up the competitive aspect of canoe slalom due to a combination of long travel times, clashes with gymnastics training and her studies.

“My first love was gymnastics, and I had to make the choice between the two sports,” she says.

It wasn’t until 2011 when she was looking at taking up kayaking again when she found CrossFit.

“I was spotted working out at a globo gym, and was taken to a CrossFit affiliate to try it out,” Malone says. “Love at first sight!”

Malone’s self-described addiction to CrossFit was intensified when she was introduced to the competitive side.

“I was put into a competition within my first six weeks of CrossFit,” she says.

“From there, started to compete in various individual and team competitions, consistently placing in the top four in all of them.”

Malone’s first major CrossFit competition was at the Australia Regional in 2012, where she competed as part of the CrossFit Newcastle team.

This year, choosing to compete as an individual was easy for Malone.

“Competing in a team last year was a fun experience,” she says. “But I have always competed as an individual my whole life, and getting a taste of competition gave me the determination I needed to make it and succeed as an individual.”

Since that decision, Malone has been training under the guidance of Darren Coughlan from CrossFit Newcastle.

“When Pip started CrossFit, she was a raw athlete with little to no technique,” Coughlan says.

But her training as a gymnast and exposure to professional coaching environments has made coaching Pip a pleasure for Coughlan.

“She takes instructions well,” he says. “Pip has a great ability to visualize skills and corrections.”

Coughlan put Malone through nine months of programming, which Malone describes as “simply brutal.”

“Darren and I worked on my weaknesses and built on my strengths,” Malone says.

At this year’s Regional, Malone is looking forward to the workouts where she can showcase her strengths: gymnastics skills mixed with heavy lifting.

"They (the Regional Events) are a great test of overall fitness and athletic ability," she says. “The most well-rounded athletes will come out on top."

“Some of the workouts are going to hurt more than others, but hurting doesn't scare me. I'm ready to show everyone what I can do."

"None of the workouts worry me, as we do similar things in our programming," Coughlan says. "I'm looking forward to watching the 100s. I think that it will be an entertaining event, and who doesn't like a rope climb event?"

Malone's goal at the 2013 Australia Regional is simple:

“I always want to win,” she says. “But making top three is the goal, and what I have been training for.”

Malone will continue her training program with Coughlan in the lead up to Regionals.

“Between now and Regionals, I will be going as hard, fast and heavy as I possibly can,” Malone says.

“And trying not to give my coach a stroke is high on the priority list!”