Photo: Seth Warren

Photo: Seth Warren

SUP Women: Fiona Wylde

You've had a crazy upbringing.
I've grown up living in two different countries, splitting time between Hood River, Ore. and Los Barriles, Baja. I've participated in the school system in Mexico and the U.S. My dad got me into windsurfing when I was a little girl and has been my training partner and my play buddy since the beginning.

How does SUP fit in?
I've grown up around the water, watching my parents and their friends windsurf. As soon as I could swim, my dad sailed me around on his board. By age eleven I was racing and I absolutely loved windsurfing! When I turned fourteen, I received an invitation to join the Big Winds Junior Team in Hood River. Steve Gates, the owner of Big Winds, the local windsurf, SUP and kite shop in Hood River, wanted to get more kids on the water windsurfing, and our team quickly morphed into a standup paddling team. Two weeks into our training he signed us up for a race and we competed in our first event.

Paddling competitively seems to fit you.
Last year was a pretty amazing season for me. I won every local race that I entered around Oregon. The Gorge Paddle Challenge was my biggest win; I placed second in the downwinder and third in the course race against some of the fastest women in the world, winning the weekend by 14 seconds! I also did the O'Neill Tahoe Cup Series, which was three events throughout the summer. With two wins and a third place finish I won the overall women's title for that event as well.

Are you still competing in windsurfing?
I compete on the American Windsurfing Tour, a wave sailing competition series around North America, and was able to make four events last year. I won the junior division and placed second in the overall women's division. I also compete in the Gorge Cup Race Series in Hood River. Last summer I finished the season in third place overall out of all the men. I won one race over the summer and I was the first female to ever finish on top after a day of racing in Hood River.

You aren't doing the traditional school thing like most kids your age.
I do an online education program so I can travel and compete. I'm a junior in high school, so college and a career isn't that far away. Eventually I want to head down the med school route to become a nurse, but at the moment I'm not sure how school and competing will work together. I have some time to figure everything out, so I'm just enjoying the ride. —As told to Seth Warren

This article originally ran in our Spring 2014 issue, as “Core Commentary.”

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