Fiona Wylde-2013 O’Neill Jam From the Dam Winner!

Electric Pulp

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Fiona Wylde is what we like to call a SUP phenomenon. She trains, works hard, wins races…and she’s 16!

See what the 2013 O’Neill Jam From the Dam Winner experienced during this weekend’s race!

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This past weekend my family and I  drove down to Lake Tahoe, California for the second O’Neill SUP Cup of the series. This was a flat-water 6 mile, point-to-point race with 152 participants. I woke up at 6:30, grabbed a smoothy at the local store and headed to Tahoe City where the race started. Since the race was only six miles, I knew the start would be crucial. The race director said that ‘anything was legal’, meaning I could draft anyone. I had a good start and was in the top 10 off the line. Draft trains formed almost instantly. I knew I had to pick a smart train and try to work my way up from there. Out of pure luck, I caught up to my dad and ended up on a train with him.

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For the first two and a half miles the four of us, my dad and two other men, plugged along until we made it to Dollar Point, a little under halfway to the finish line. I was pulling that draft train when we rounded Dollar Point. I was getting nervous because the second place woman was pulling another train trying to catch up to ours and was only two board lengths behind. As we rounded the point, a boat wake came by and I was able to catch it. That boat wave pushed me 30 yards ahead of the draft train.

I went into a higher cadence and caught up to two men other men. When I first offered to pull, the man said that I shouldn’t be drafting him unless I was on a fourteen foot board. I informed him that the race director said it was legal to draft anybody and that I was more than willing to pull my fair share. We switched on and off a couple times until the finish got nearer. To be exact, 230 strokes before the finish (I count strokes to stay focused), I decided it was time to turn it on and catch the last couple guys ahead of me. I did that and ended up finishing 22nd out the 152 person deep field with a time of 1 hour and 6 minutes.  I also won the Elite Women and was the second 12’6” board to finish overall.

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I don’t think it was my fastest race, but it was probably the most beautiful location for a race. It was absolutely gorgeous to paddle along and look down to see massive boulders through crystal clear water. Since I won the first race of the series in May, I am now in the lead to become the series winner. The last race is a big one from South Shore all the way across the lake to North Shore; a whopping 22 miles. I have never paddled a distance that large, but I have set up my training schedule so I will be ready and strong to paddle across the lake in September.

As for the moment I am back in Hood River, paddling, windsurfing and getting ready for Stand Up 4 Water Awareness  which is my event that will be taking place next week.

Until next time!

Fiona

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