Get to know Fiona Wylde a little better with this great Tiki Team Talk interview from her new sponsor Starboard. Hailing from Hood River (home of the classic Gorge race), the always-smiling Fiona is one of those unstoppable young guns that seems to be annoyingly good at everything they try.
The SUP racer/surfer/windsurfer/kitesurfer is currently ranked #4 in the world on the back of an amazing Salt Creek campaign. She now sits behind only Annabel, Candice and Lina, and with a big travel schedule lined up for 2015, the sky’s the limit for Starboard’s latest Dream Team recruit.
Here are a few choice answers from Fiona’s “Tiki Talk” session, a new series Starboard began last month (with Sean Poynter) to deliver fans more insights from their favourite paddlers.
Sounds like you have had an exciting upbringing, spending half the year in Hood River and the winter in Mexico? Has this helped shape your interest in the water and the different watersports you have adopted?
“Mexico is such a fun place to grow up! I live in a little town called Los Barriles on the Sea of Cortex side of the Baja peninsula. I went to the local Mexican school for eleven years from kindergarten to eighth grade. Everyday after school I would run down to the beach, and go windsurfing with my mom and dad.
This type of upbringing, has taught me to have fun and play on the water every time I get!
When I was 12 I learned to kite board, so then afterschool I could go windsurfing and kite boarding. Hood River was very similar in the fact that the river always provides perfect down winders, flat water long with epic windsurfing and kite boarding. Both towns are extremely active towns and I think being brought up in that active environment is very important, because now I know what it takes to live a healthy lifestyle. Now when I go to a new beach, there is always something for me to do, whether it’s windy or not. There’s SUP racing, surfing, windsurfing, and kite surfing!”
What sets you apart from the other athletes on the tour? Do you look at others style and try and incorporate it in your surfing and racing?
“I come from a windsurfing background, which is different than most everybody on tour. This helps me to notice the subtle shifts of wind, waves, and tide. I definitely look at other surfer’s style and like to watch their approach to a wave and try it. Surfing is an art, which means we are all artists with our own little flair.
By watching and observing and trying the things other surfers are doing, we are simply painting with a new median. Maybe it’ll yield brilliance, or maybe it’ll be a complete disaster, but you won’t know until you try. The same goes for racing with stroke technique and board handling skills.”
We understand that you aspire to lead a career in Medicine. Is it hard managing time dedicated to school work as well as competing as professional athlete?
“Medicine always fascinates me. Having the opportunity to help people that are in need appeals to me greatly. It is very difficult to juggle school and being a professional athlete at the same time. This is why I have decided to put my medical interests on the back burner, dive into a life as a professional athlete and see how long I can make this life last!”
“We know you have quite an entrepreneurial spirit and set up the Stand Up 4 Water Awareness event in 2013, an event that combined science and sports with children. Is this something you would like to push in the future?”
“Absolutely! Getting kids involved in SUP while teaching them about the importance of water quality is something that every kid could benefit from.”
Do you have any idols in the sport that you look up to?
Gerry Lopez is definitely the person I look up to most. He’s so calm and collected no matter what the situation, but yet is always ready to have a great time on the water!
When you are traveling to events and on Tour, what are the 3 most important items you cannot travel without?
2. Water Wings
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