When the iQFOiL class became recognized as an Olympic class, we knew we were attracting many new athletes. To tell their stories we started the athlete story. In this first edition, we speak with USA windsurfer Fiona Wylde. With a background in sailing, SUP, and wave windsurfing it comes as no surprise that Fiona is a real water woman. Fiona loves a good challenge so it didn’t take her long to set her goals high after picking up the equipment. Fiona likes to remind people that even if they have Type 1 Diabetes they can still follow their dreams!
Why did you choose the iQFOiL?
"As a professional water woman with a background in windsurfing, the iQFOiL class is the accumulation of my life's experience on the water thus far all combined into one sport. Growing up sailing and paddling, I always have a love for competing and for pushing myself, and learning new sports. I learned how to foil a few years back, so when the iQFOiL class was released, it was a no-brainer for me. I saw the sport and was like, "I want to do this!" It has been a few years since I competed in windsurfing, but I am very much enjoying the humbling experience of learning about foil racing."
What is your background in sports?
"Sports have been a central part of my family since I was a little baby, especially watersports. My parents are sailors and windsurfers, so I grew up on the docks and watching my parents sail. We are a small family, so we always did things together. My parents taught me how to windsurf when I was very young and I fell in love with the sport. This love transpired into a professional career in watersports. In 2014, I won the PWA Youth Women's Wave Sailing World Title and in 2016, I won the APP World Tour Women's Stand Up Paddle Racing World Title. For me, I have never seen watersports as one thing. I have the most fun when I am challenged and pushed in many different aspects in the ocean, sea, and river. This includes windsurfing, stand up paddling, surfing, winging, and kiting."
What is your ultimate goal?
"I have many goals in mind for my experience with the iQFOiL, but no doubt, I am aiming for the Olympics. There are many steps that I need to do in order to get there, but I have promised myself to work every day to improve my skills and sailing tactics. Saying 'the Olympics' as my ultimate goal is very opened ended, but as a professional athlete, I want to push myself to the top and perform the best I can. "
How and where do you train?
I live in Hood River, Oregon, and Los Barriles, Baja Mexico. Both places offer incredible training grounds with windy conditions. I am still training and competed in Stand Up Paddling, so both of these places offer epic and challenging conditions for IQ and SUP.
What is your favorite race format?
I love the fast-paced style of slalom and I have more experience with slalom racing than course racing, so that is one of my favorite disciplines. The marathon is extremely fun because there are a lot of tactics involved and that changes the race entirely. I really enjoy windy slalom races when it is just on the edge to switch to course racing. I prefer 12-14 knots as those are such dreamy wind conditions for iQFOiL-ing, but things really start to get fun when it's over 20 knots! :)
What we don't know from you?
"I have Type 1 Diabetes and have had Type 1 for almost 6 years now. Having diabetes changes the way I train and the way I recover. It's difficult to jump into a new sport because I have to re-learn how to manage my blood sugars with different stress and adrenaline levels. However, having a health challenge makes me work harder towards my dreams. I am constantly reminded how much I want this and the difficulties I have to overcome make any success much more rewarding. I like to remind people that if they have Type 1, you can still follow your dreams! "