Wylde On Water
BRONWEN BRINGS FIONA WYLDE ON BOARD
When Bronwen Ambassador Fiona Wylde was three her father started taking her out on the front of his windsurf board. While other toddlers were wearing water wings and beginning swimming lessons, Fiona was clinging to the front of a board, ocean spray in her face, begging for faster speeds and higher jumps. It’s no wonder that fifteen years later Fiona became the 2014 Professional Windsurfers Association Women’s Wave Youth World Champion.
It’s not her first big win, and certainly won’t be her last; she’s barely 18 and has already won windsurf, kiteboard, and stand up paddleboard (SUP) honors at some notable races around the globe.
One thing is clear: this gal loves water. “I love the sensation of flying across the water,” says Fiona. If it involves standing on a board and going fast, Fiona grooves on it. “My sports are stand up paddle racing and surfing, windsurf racing and surfing, kitesurfing, and surfing,” she says.
Fiona’s family spends winters in Los Barriles, Mexico and summers in Hood River, Oregon–both meccas for board sport afficionados–and Fiona attended school in Mexico through eighth grade, learning Spanish and forming friendships in Baja. After a freshman year at Hood River Valley High School, Fiona began taking online classes so she could travel and compete more regularly. “It is difficult to train at the elite level and still find time for my homework, but I am a student and I have homework to do,” she says. And she’s poised to graduate high school in June 2015. She continues, “It is extremely important for me to train and it is also important to keep my grades up, so I make time for both.”
It’s this focus and determination that is driving Fiona to score win after win in increasingly prominent board races. She loves the victories, of course, but it’s the sheer joy of the sports that keeps her on the water. “My parents taught me to always have fun when I am on the water; that is our number one rule,” she says. “So when ever I go out, I just enjoy being out there, whether I’m in the middle of a really hard SUP race, a SUP surf competition, or just windsurfing one afternoon.” She adds, in a way that makes it clear that it’s a bit of a personal motto, “Any time on the water is better than no time.”
Fiona’s strength and style make it possible for her to compete with the big boys in some races, which means, she says, ” I am always trying to improve my windsurfing, my stand up paddling, and push myself against the guys and train with them.” So she’s especially excited that Bronwen Jewelry offers water-friendly jewelry options, like the Tiny Charm Thai Smile. Fiona says, “I think being a strong, powerful lady and charging in sports is graceful.” Videos of Fiona on the water pushing her limits, taking on the big waves, and trying new moves support this–her combination of grace and power on water is breathtaking. She’s confident and aggressive; yep, she charges. But, she says, “I am not trying to be like the guys; I am still a lady and why can’t I wear cute active jewelry to express myself as a lady that charges?!”
Why not indeed?!
You might, for example, see Fiona wearing Bronwen’s Watergirl trio, which could have been a bespoke order for Fiona, given its ocean hues and sturdy style. Or the equally water-friendly Beachcomber anklet, which could grace the ankle not strapped to the board with a leash. Fiona might command a board as well as some of the men on the circuit, but she wears the jewelry much better. Fiona says, ” I think what Bronwen is doing is really cool, and it promotes women in sports to pursue their passions and take their sports to the highest level, but to still be feminine at the same time.” Fiona’s go-to Beaded Infinity Earrings and Amazonite Arrowhead Necklace help her restore a feminine feel after a day on the water.
As someone who is supremely aware of the importance of clean water in our lakes, rivers, and oceans (after all, she’s submerged in water most days), Fiona takes water samples at all of her events around the world. What began initially as a personal curiosity about the water she was swimming in blossomed into a desire to get other kids interested in promoting clean water. Fiona organized the first of a series of events called Stand Up 4 Water Awareness–a day when Hood River school children combined SUP lessons with water quality testing through the Hood River Waste Treatment Plant. “It was a win!” says Fiona, who was thrilled to combine her passion for sharing the thrill of SUPing with her concern for clean water.
Another win for Fiona. And with a full spring of races ahead of her (the Payette River Games, the Molokai 2 Oahu Championships, and a World Cup in Germany, to name just a few) we’re guessing there will be many more such triumphs.
To learn more about Fiona Wylde, visit her website. You can also see some video footage of her in action HERE or follow her posts on Instagram @fiona_wylde and on Facebook HERE.
*photo credit: Brian Bielmann and Jimmie Hepp