‘Push the limit’ with Frederick Ladouceur |13 September 2023
Challenge set for November 11
Retired super yacht captain and canoeist Frederick Ladouceur will soon embark on a personal challenge to paddle around Mahé in a canoe, in less than a day, and target a national record, with a potential peek interest from the Guinness book of records.
Set for Saturday November 11 and named ‘Push the limit’ challenge, Mr Ladouceur will depart from Marine Charter in Victoria at midnight, making his way down south, going round the island through the west, to finish at the starting point.
The challenge will begin with a blessing from Deacon Louis Agathine, before George Camille, one of the first canoeists from La Digue, launches the event.
Depending on the weather on that day, Mr Ladouceur will start his challenge from the south making his way up the western side where he will take a two-hour break – at around 10am at Cap Ternay – where the medical team will conduct some examinations to see if he can proceed.
During the trip, he will be accompanied by the Seychelles Coast Guard, a rescue team, a boat for press personnel and three jet skis, which, in case of foul weather, will be able to reach further inwards on the reefs where the boats cannot enter.
Mr Ladouceur said his team is carefully planning and placing every measure in place for the trip to be successful.
He said, the finishing will be a beauty where by the Seychelles Fire and Rescue Services Agency (SFRSA) will put on a display with their water cannons, along with other activities.
Mr Ladouceur added that they will be also collating a detailed photo book for all those who will be taking part and contributing towards the event, while giving copies to the La Digue hospital and school, along with the national archives.
What inspired the challenge?
“We will dedicate this challenge to a charitable cause whereby we are planning to furbish a room in the newly inaugurated La Digue hospital to benefit the kids,” said Mr Ladouceur who, other than his philanthropist mindset, embodies the ideology of having a good health.
“Coming up with this challenge has inspired me to tackle my physicality at the age of 53 years old, while good health naturally comes through sports activities,” he said, adding that at a point in his life, he noticed that he was putting on weight, and decided to do something about it.
“Through my journey towards a better health and physique is where I was inspired to come up with this challenge for charity,” further explained Mr Ladouceur.
What are the other motives for the event?
In 1989, Mr Ladouceur was among the best canoeists in Seychelles, and today at the age of 53, he realises that there are three main components that work together, precisely age, sports and health.
He said everyone at a certain age would like to be in a good state of health and the best way to achieve that naturally is by doing sports.
“At a certain point in my life I noticed my weight gain and tasked myself to reduce that, and in my effort to better condition my physicality, I saw another cause and along with some friends we formed a group whereby we decided to make the idea a reality,” explained Mr Ladouceur.
Who are involved in team No Limit?
“The idea for this Mahé Challenge started in March this year upon meeting with my friends Fred Nourrice, Allen Niole and Remmy Way-Hive who are the founding members of our group,” said Mr Ladouceur, who explained that his friends have been alongside him on several journeys leading up to the November 11 event.
He said they have been beside him working on the safety aspect of the challenge around Praslin and La Digue.
Mr Ladouceur further noted that they have attracted the interests of other parties which are now part of our group, bringing the total to 15 people.
Are you prepared for the task ahead?
“I have trained in Germany as I am a member of a canoe club there called the Hannover Canoe Club, and I have spent two weeks training in a lake where I was doing 12km everyday,” said Mr Ladouceur who added that the conditions over there was quite good, even if the water was cold and he was training in a new canoe.
“It was possible for me to train abroad since my wife is German, and we spend most of our holiday there where I spent a lot of time in training sessions,” explained the Diguois canoeist.
“As for my local preparation, I wake up at 4.30am everyday to do my workout in the gym, followed by exercises in a 20m swimming pool, where I cover 100 laps,” said Mr Ladouceur, who added that in addition to that, he cycles the whole of La Digue, before spending one hour paddling his canoe.
This training routine, he said, is to build endurance and confidence, and it is done five days a week, with an occasional trip round Praslin, precisely once a month.
How confident are you?
“I have done three rounds of Praslin, and one around La Digue and Praslin at the same time and countless trips around La Digue,” said Mr Ladouceur, noting that this shows that he is physically ready and with the experience attained over the years, he strongly believes he will successfully complete the trip around Mahé in less than 24 hours.
“I have invested in a professional canoe from South Africa which is made of carbon fibre, weighing 15kg, making it much lighter and faster,” added Mr Ladouceur, who also said the equipment is more ideal than a recreational canoe.
“I am working to pull my weight down to 85kg to produce a better time for the event,” he said.
Are there other supporting pillars for the event?
Mr Ladouceur said he will be meeting with some of his National Youth Service (NYS) ‘comrades’ who will be taking part in the event on a catamaran sponsored by Mason’s Travel.
He added that there will also be a bar sponsored by East Indies where they will be launching a new cocktail called ‘Push the Limit’, with the banner displayed on his canoe.
“I am also very grateful to a particular lady who I would say is pioneer of water sports in Seychelles, and that is Van Goulding who was the senior water sports officer for the Sails Training Scheme in the 1980s,” said Mr Ladouceur, who added that Ms Goulding was a strong pillar in inspiring his journey in watersports, and to date, she serves as an inspiration, especially for the event in November.
How did you begin in water sports?
“I was influenced by figures such as Evans Calva and Bernard Sanders during the August 15 holidays where they had windsurfing competitions, and seeing them on the board triggered the desire in me to do water sports,” said Mr Ladouceur, who explained that, as for canoeing, it began during his first year at the NYS at Ste Anne.
He added that after three years, precisely during his days at the Seychelles Polytechnic, he was already the national champion for canoeing.
“I was a long-distance paddler and my record of 2hours 05 minutes (2h05:00) from the Islander Race since 1989 has not yet been broken,” proudly said Mr Ladouceur, who also added that he was at one point the chairman of the Seychelles Canoeing Association and played canoe polo.