Since 2009, Kyle Buckingham has competed in 30 Ironman competitions, 40 half Ironman competitions and has earned himself 3 Ironman victories and many podium finishes. Kyle Buckingham turned professional in 2014 after winning his age group and overall amateur finisher at the Ironman World Championships in Kona Hawaii in 2013. Famed as a professional triathlete, Kyle is also a champion for animal rights and is a committed vegetarian – Fry’s Family Foods is one of his sponsors.
In 2018 Kyle Buckingham won the Ironman African Championships in his home town in Port Elizabeth and says, “That has to be the highlight of my career so far!”
Let’s get to know Kyle a little better!
Kyle, tell us about your journey to becoming an Ironman champion – how has it impacted your life?
My journey started back in London when I was 25 years old, having no endurance background in any sport. I started as an age grouper while working a full time job as an electrician, which meant I had to fight for everything I have today. I sacrificed a lot back then to try to become a professional, but one day my dream came true and I landed my first ever sponsor who I’m still with today (Velocity Sports Lab), which meant I could move back to SA and give my training priority. In my first year as a professional I won my first Ironman, and to this day with all that I’ve achieved I always look back at what I sacrificed to get here. It’s been one hell of a ride, but through the amazing support of my wife and sponsors I couldn’t think of a better job to do.
If you had a theme song, what would it be?
What is the biggest risk you have ever taken?
Saving up and spending every penny on my travels alone around the world surfing when I was 21 years old. It was worth every penny and I will never regret it, as I got to surf amazing waves and meet amazing people.
If Mars were liveable, would you accept a one-way ticket there?
Only if it has an ocean to surf!
If you were given one thousand acres of land what would you do with it?
Build a pool, gym, and accommodation facilities all inclusive for people to come and do training camps.
Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?
Gatherer, but when racing I’m definitely a hunter.
If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?
A lovely Mexican style bean curry with rice and papadums
How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Hmm, about 60
How would people communicate in a perfect world?
When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass it?
Have Rooibos tea with my wife and chat
If you woke up to 300 unread emails, how would you prioritise which ones to answer?
Start with my sponsorship commitments
Where do you go and what do you do to find peace and recharge?
I love walks on the beach at Cape St Francis with my wife, as well as having a surf
If you could write one new law that everybody had to obey, what would it be?
A visa free world for travelling
What, if anything, have you ever regifted?
Nothing fancy, just a box of chocolates
What is the most interesting thing you have seen or read this week?
That Trump does not pay tax and spends millions on his hair each year
What skill or craft would you like to master?
Learn to master the Guitar again, because that was something I was really into in my younger days
What would you say are some small steps that people can take to improve their relationship to the environment?
Lower the amount of meat you eat, or at least have 1 or 2 days a week meat free (Thank you for sharing your delicious meat free chicken style pie recipe Kyle!)