When Accor asked me to be part of their #SummertimeWithAccor campaign, I immediately said a big YES! It’s not very often you can say you get the chance to surf with world champion surfer Sally Fitzgibbons! And for an amateur surfer like myself, this is such a welcomed opportunity!

Sally has been the Novotel Brand Ambassador for over 5 years and has co-developed programmes for InBalance by Novotel in Australia, making it easy for you to stay on track of their health and fitness goals while travelling, bringing guest her new in-room fitness channel, healthy travel tips, nutritious meals and even performed in a kids programme & co-developed a healthy kids menu!active kids campaign!

This summer we got the chance to experience all those wonderful features Sally and Novotel have been working on!

Read on for our wonderful surf lesson with Manly surf and all the delicious  (and healthy) food we consumed!

Related: ‘The Ultimate Australia Bucket List’

Manly Surf Lesson with Accor Hotels and Sally Fitzgibbons

InBalance by Novotel  with Sally Fitzgibbons is a programme designed to help guests to stay healthy whilst staying in hotels. As the Novotel brand ambassador, Sally wanted to share her knowledge and fitness tips, as she knows how challenging it can be to keep up with your wellness routine whilst on the road.

Alongside the team of chefs at Novotel and her nutritionist, Sally has designed a healthymenu with delicious meals like the breakfast chia parfait,  Indian spiced salmon & the Mexican spiced chicken. 

Also available is an in-room work-out programme with no fitness equipment required! The exercise routine offers a warm-up, full sets and cool-down leaving you feeling energised and being able to work out in the privacy and comfort of your own hotel room is a win for me! As an added bonus, the hotel has InBalance yoga mats available for you to borrow for your workout.  

Novotel’s commitment to health and fitness is evident throughout each hotel, along with the InBalance menu options guest also have access to walking and jogging maps and gyms that offer state-of-art equipment!  

Novotel’s commitment to health and fitness is evident throughout each hotel, along with the InBalance menu options guest also have access to walking and jogging maps and gyms that offer state-of-art equipment!

Our morning started with a healthy breakfast spread at Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific, a meet and greet with Sally and a private Q&A, where Sally shared an insight into her journey as a professional surfer.

About Sally ‘Professional Surfer’

If you haven’t heard of Sally Fitzgibbons before, let me start by saying she is an absolute legend! So down to earth and humble and encouraging, which is what you want when learning to surf!

Sally is renowned for becoming the youngest world surfing tour qualifier in history in 2008! She has won numerous surfing competitions, was the youngest surfer to win an Association of Surfing Professionals pro-junior title at age 14 and also won the first-ever Australian Open of Surfing.

She has also represented her state and Australia in a number of different sports, including athletics, touch football, soccer, surfing and cross-country running, so i reckon it’s safe to say this woman is full of advice when it comes to fitness and training!

If that’s all not enough, Sally also runs Sally & Community where their mission is ‘to inspire our next generation of kids to live active and healthy lives and to develop an awareness that it is our responsibility to protect and preserve the amazing environment we are blessed to live in.’

Surf Sesh with Sally and Manly Surf School

I had previously learnt to surf at a retreat in Bali so I have some confidence on a board. It had been a while though since my last surf so there was some anxiety around if I was going to remember how to do it! This quickly turned into a sense of achievement as I rode my first wave all the way back to the shore!

It was a really fun session in one of the best surfing beaches in Sydney! My confidence was up, I was trying small turns (or cutting tracks as Sally called it), it was my first surf in Aus and I was riding waves next to Sally Fitzgibbons! It was truly an epic day. You always leave the water feeling very tired but also very accomplished!

Voted as the number one surf school in Australia, Manly Surf School have been offering lessons since 1983. Their approach to teaching people to surf is relaxed and encouraging, making it super easy to have a great session no matter what your age or level of experience. They made it even easier for us as we surfed directly out the front of our beachfront accommodation in Manly.

Manly Surf School offers a safe environment for participants, with highly qualified and professional staff. They are located a North Steyne, which is situated in the middle of Manly Beach. You can visit their website to book or for more information.

Post Surf Lunch @ Bistro Manly

Although the highlight of my day was definitely riding a wave alongside Sally, it was closely followed by the amazing food provided by Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific during the event. We started with a healthy breakfast spread showcasing all the wonderful choices endorsed by Sally to help you keep on top of your goals when staying in hotels.

The breakfast spread was a mix of fresh juices and smoothies, fruit platters, healthy muesli with seeds and nuts and vegetarian sliders with avocado and tomato salsa for the savoury lovers.

For lunch, we dined in the very chic Bistro Manly located on the ground floor of Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific. The vibe upon entering was very inviting , the bright dining room resembles a European style brasserie with elegant marble features and artwork filled walls. Fresh floors finished the table settings whilst the open kitchen allowed for watching the chefs work their magic.

Executive Head Chef Ryan Dawson and Sous Chef Toshi Ishihara have collaborated to produce a modern French-brasserie style menu featuring  classics whilst using quality Australian produce. For the entree, we had roasted cauliflower with dukkah and a pumpkin, baby spinach and goats’ cheese salad. The main courses consisted of items from Sally’s Healthy Choice menu such as the Indian spice salmon with pea puree and a watermelon and cucumber salad. And spiced chicken breast salad with toasted corn, avocado and cos leaves. I opted for a vegan menu and was served a mouthwatering mushroom risotto!

Where to stay in Sydney

In our Sydney Itinerary for 4 days we suggested staying at Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour, I still highly recommend this! It is in such a great location and has an amazing restaurant The Ternary! You can take a day trip to Manly via the ferry.

There is some incredible spots to stay in Darling Harbour, curate an adventurous itinerary and find the accommodation best suited for you. For the latest hotel offer across the Pacific check out these special offers.

That was our epic Manly surf lesson with Sally and eating some amazing dishes thanks for Accor Hotels! Have you ever surfed before? What was your experience like? Let us know in the comments below

I worked with Accor on their #SummertimewithAccor campaign. As always opinions, photos and ideas remain my own.

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Manly surf lesson

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