A few months ago the name Fiona Wylde wasn’t as well known as the 2014 Stand Up World Tour Champion and fellow Starboard Team Rider Izzi Gomez. But this year, this young girl has changed all that. Fiona came on to the Stand Up World Tour (SUWT) with one thing on her mind… to make her mark and push women’s SUP surfing into the future. And in her first SUWT event she did just that, coming 7th in the women’s event and also making it through into the men’s event at Sunset Beach. The SUWT is split into two events on Hawaii – the first/ladies event is held at Turtle Bay. A break that produces slightly smaller swell and allows for a more manageable paddle out. The second/men’s event held at Sunset Beach is a whole different ball game! Massive swell and a horrible shore break is a common sight, making it not only a challenge for competitors but also great for spectators! It was fantastic to see both Fiona Wylde and Izzi Gomez competing in the mens event this year, and prepared to take on the tough conditions at Sunset Beach. Surely by doing this, the level of ladies SUP surfing will go through the roof and it won’t be long until we see more ladies taking part in the men’s events and showing what they’re capable of.
Below Fiona Wylde talks about her first Sunset Beach experience:
“I am going to be completely honest and say that I was a little nervous when The Waterman League said I could take part in the Men’s Stand Up World Tour Sunset Beach Pro Trials. I wasn’t nervous for the competition, I was nervous for the fact that it was 10ft Sunset and I’d only surfed it one other time… so I put on an impact vest and got ready to paddle out. I got pounded in the shore break trying to get out, but there was no way I was going to give up and not even make it off the beach. That was step one, and once step one was crossed off, my body took a deep sigh of relief.
After that, I only had two goals, 1) survive long enough to call my parents when I got back to the sand and 2), catch some waves.
Both of my goals were achieved and I came off the water beaming….and shaking ! I had done it! I had caught waves at Sunset and actually had fun! Even when I was getting pounded, I was still enjoying it… proving to myself that I could be out there. I made it through the first and second heat of the Trials and when I came in Rocky Cannon announced that I had made it to the main event.. Wasn’t one of my two goals, but one and two were achieved so this came in as #3 and was accomplished! I couldn’t believe it. I am the first girl to make it into a Men’s main event on the Stand Up World tour, but it wasn’t that that made this so special, it was a feeling of pride for realizing how far I’ve come in a short time in Stand Up Surfing.
Come the main event, the conditions smoothed out a bit and Sunset got a makeover. Clean, 4-6ft faces made Sunset seem so much more manageable than the day of the trials. I lost the first heat but in the repechage scored a 5.67 and backed it up with a 2-something. I was so happy to hear when I scored a 5.67 on the men’s tour and at Sunset! I didn’t advance out of the heat and missed advancing to the third round by 1 point, but the experience I gained from those four heats at Sunset is almost unexplainitory.
I entered the trials for myself. I didn’t do it for the media, to prove to any other person, I went out that day to challenge my skills. I come from Hood River Oregon, a small town on the Columbia River 3 hours away from the coast and Los Barriles Mexico on the Sea of Cortez, again a place without waves. When I first stand up paddle surfed three and a half years ago, I fell in love and I dreamed of becoming a great Stand Up Paddle Surfer. I am not saying I am great, but I have a dream and I am following my dream. The trails day only proved to me that when I have a dream, I can work hard and accomplish that dream.
Thank you to my friends, family, and sponsors, Starboardsup, Wernerpaddles, Dakine and Oneill for supporting my dream. And to Forrest Ladkin for making this killer video so I can share this special moment with you”
We look forward to seeing more of Fiona’s surfing in 2015 and no doubt it won’t be long before we see her up on a podium. Keep following your dream Fiona.
Read more about Fiona Wylde in the Starbord Tiki Team Talk here.