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!
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.
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.
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!
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