Fiona Wylde is still young, yet already has made her mark on the windsurfing scene. We are sure you will be pleased to meet her!
Sail number: US-11
Age you started windsurfing:6
Residence: Hood River Oregon
Homespot: The windiest place in the Gorge! (But I do love Doug’s Beach!)
Sponsors: Sailworks, O’Neill, Dakine, Big Winds, Gorge Dental, Vector Fins Maui, Quatro, Nolimitz,
Debut year on AWT: 2010
Division: Women, Youth and Amateur
Favorite equipment: For waves, my 69L Quatro KT and my 3.6 Sailworks Gyro. For slalom my 97L iSonic and my Sailworks 6.2 NX.
Favorite move: Forwards without the board!
Weendy: Can you tell us a little bit about how you started windsurfing? We know you’ve grown up to love slalom and waves
Fiona: haha! Yes, I have grown up to love slalom and waves! My dad started teaching me when I was about five. I preferred riding on the nose of his board to sailing on my own, until I was seven. My dad is really active in the local Gorge Cup race series, and when I was eleven I wanted to join him. I have been slalom racing since! I started wave sailing because my dad and I heard about the AWT. We thought it looked fun, so we went to San Carlos for a week so I could learn to sail in the waves a bit before we went to a contest. Since then I have loved learning to wave sail.
Weendy: How did you come to enter the competitive scene in such a young age, and even enter the AWT events?
Fiona: Like I mentioned in the question above, my dad and I compete in most of the same contests. That has been really fun to have my dad there with me. We both push each other and learn new things to give each other pointers. Since the first AWT in 2010, we decided we wanted to keep wave sailing and if there were more contest, we wanted to participate.
Weendy: How long did it take you to try your first forward loop? What kind of moves are you working on at the moment?
Fiona: Ha! I’m still trying a forward loop! I haven’t landed one yet, but I am getting closer. Ingrid Larouche, one of my inspirations has been trying to get me to loop for three years…. My goal is to have that forward before the end of the summer!
Weendy: What do you think is the scariest part in windsurfing for a girl?
Fiona: I don’t think of windsurfing as necessarily more scary for a girl than it is for a guy. If a girl is in the same conditions as a guy, and gets freaked out, then that is a personal fear that can happen to anyone. I think some girls get a little confused between fear and intimidation; by either conditions or other sailors, and that is when it can get scary.
Weendy: What does a typical day of your life look like?
Fiona: I am a sophomore in an online education program that goes year round. A typical day for me is to get up early at 5:30 and head down to the Columbia River and paddle. I have really gotten into Stand Up Paddleboarding and it has become excellent cross training. After paddling, I’ll return to my house and work on school for a couple of hours. If it’s windy, I’ll head back down to the water and either slalom or bump and jump sail. If it’s not windy, I’ll continue working on school, or go for a run.
Weendy: Where can we expect to see you in 2013? Are you going to do the whole AWT tour?
Fiona: So far I have competed in two AWT events; Santa Cruz and Pistol River. I will be heading down to San Carlos, but I am not sure if I will make Peru of Hatteras. I will definitely be on Maui! I will also be participating in the local Gorge Cup slalom series, and SUP races all along the West Coast.
Weendy: Tell us about your dream windsurfing vacation. Where would you go and who would you take with you?
Fiona: I am not sure the location of my dream windsurf location. I dream of a trip with perfect peeling waves, either direction, and light winds. I would like to bring my slalom gear so I can slalom sail in the light winds outside the break. The first person on my list to take with me would be my dad! We love to travel together and he would have a ball on a trip like this… no matter where it is!
Weendy: Tell us about your best session ever!
Fiona: April 6th, 2013 Ho’okipa, Maui. A BIG swell rolled in. Ho’okipa was eighteen feet and the channel was closing out. I was the only girl out sailing with Ho’okipa legends like Josh Stone, Bernd Roediger, Levi Siver, and Pascal Hardy. I caught the most exhilarating wave of my life! This thing (wave) was massive! You can see the video here.
Weendy: And finally, tell us one thing most people don’t know about you
Fiona: I am kinda a neat freak to everything except my room. My mom can verify.
Fiona in Ho’okipa, photo credit: Jimmy Hepp
Thanks for the interview Fiona and good luck for the rest of the events!