Tenacity & Grace: Fiona Wylde Interview on Sunset Beach Pro Win

Fiona Wylde APP World Tour Sunset Beach Pro 2019
Photo by: APP World Tour
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Fiona Wylde stormed the gates at Sunset this past week to claim her win at the Sunset Beach Pro, 1st stop on the 2019 APP World Tour.  Standup Journal connected with the inspiring, young, Type 1 Diabetes champion to get some perspective.

“Winning an APP World Tour SUP Surf contest has been a dream since I first started competing,” says Fiona.  “Sunset Beach is one of my favorite waves in the world.”

Fiona Wylde APP World Tour Sunset bottom turn
Winning the Semi Finals with a heat score of 15.83 highest in the competition to date, fueled Fiona’s fire to charge the Final Rounds and claim her win. Photo by: APP World Tour

Fiona Wylde reflects on win at Sunset Beach Pro

“Conditions were not the cleanest, with about 5-7 foot sets rolling through. But, there was definitely no lack of power!

It seemed that (Sunday) was all about finding the needle in the haystack, but when the gems came through, the waves lined up really nicely along Sunset reef.

I started my day in the Round 2 Repecharge because I lost in Round 1. I was really bummed to be in the repecharge and – originally – thought it was a negative thing, but it actually sparked a little fire. I wanted more than anything to make it into the Semi Finals and then the Final.  So, I knew I had to give it my everything starting with that Round 2 heat.

I surfed my best heat then and I think I even did some of my best turns, at least in a contest. I scored 15.83 heat total which held as the highest scoring heat in the event. I was stoked.”

Fiona Wylde APP World Tour Sunset Beach Pro top turn
After two consecutive years of finishing second to multiple times World Champion Izzi Gomez, Fiona was able to prove that she held the winning ticket this year at the Sunset Beach Pro. Photo by: APP World Tour

Fiona Dominates Sunset Beach Pro Women’s Final Round

“That excitement helped me carry myself to the Final Round. Once I made it into the Final, I could breathe!  I was just so happy to be a part of it. I had nothing to lose. It wasn’t an easy Final and I can’t believe that I won with a heat total of 9.0, but sometimes that’s all that it takes.

My 6 point ride was a good wave and I was happy with the way it felt. When the buzzer sounded, I thought I might be in the lead, but I wasn’t 100% sure. Justin Holland, who was caddying for me, called it out that I had won and Shakira threw her hands up in the air in congrats!  I was in disbelief and so overjoyed!”

Fiona Wylde APP World Tour Sunset Beach Pro 2019 champion
Starboard teammate Zane Schweitzer and Justin Holland carry a victorious Fiona up the beach to claim her win. Photo by: APP World Tour

“Winning an APP World Tour SUP Surf contest has been a dream of mine since I first started competing. Sunset Beach is one of my favorite waves in the world. So, to have my first win here feels spectacular! Izzi, Aline and Shakira were ALL charging in the Final. I would really like to thank them and all of the women competitors for the inspiration they give me. It’s an honor to be out there competing alongside these talented strong women.

As happy as I am to win, I would like to share this win with everybody who has or is affected by Type 1 Diabetes. This disease can be hard and overwhelming at times, but it’s also possible to achieve great things! It’s important to never give up because you never know what will happen.

Thank you to everybody who has reached out with messages of congratulations and support. My sponsors have been spectacular:  Starboard, Black Project SUP., Anetik Performance, Dakine, Dexcom and Companion Medical!  Thank you ALL.”  – Fiona

Fiona Wylde Izzi Gomez Shakira Westdorp Aline Adisaka Sunset Beach Pro APP World Tour
Women’s Sunset Beach Pro winners: (1st) Fiona Wylde; (2nd) Izzi Gomez; (3rd) Shakira Westdorp; (4th) Aline Adisaka Photo by: APP World Tour

Fiona Wylde is a world-class stand up paddle athlete and team rider for influential brands including Starboard, Black Project SUP & Dakine in both the surfing and racing disciplines.  She lives with and manages Type 1 Diabetes every day of her life. Fiona’s travel and training schedule often make taking care of herself challenging; however, she is a strong advocate for women who struggle with Type 1 Diabetes and a testament to what individuals with this disease can accomplish with focus, self care and perseverance.  Aloha, Fiona!  We salute YOU.


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Evelyn O'Doherty, editor & publisher of the new Standup Journal 2.0 is a former school teacher gone rogue. She left her career as a teacher in order to spend more time near or on the water after learning to surf turned her life around (upsidedown?). She is a year-round surfer and paddler living on the eastern tip of Long Island in NY who is a certified SUP instructor, seasoned SUP racer and avid longboard surfer. Evelyn was hired as Online Editor to Standup Journal in 2016. Her passion for the project quickly led to her success and eventually taking over the mag herself in Oct. 2018. Today, as editor, publisher and chief bottle washer at Standup Journal, Evelyn keeps her toes wet writing, traveling, paddling, surfing, and learning to foil. You can find her most days paddling out on Gardiner's Bay or surfing Ditch Plains in Montauk, NY.