Fiona Wylde sent us an update of her latest exploits:
“This past weekend I was at the Junior Pro Sup Fiesta in Huntington Beach, Ca. I competed in both the sup surf contest as well as the sprint surf race. Unfortunately I did not so as well as I would have liked in the sup surf contest, getting knocked out in the second round. But that is part of competing; sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t.”
“However, there was some excitement when I participated in the sprint surf race. It was a super short course where we had to punch out of the surf twice as well as ride the waves back in. I managed to do really well, and stayed on my board the entire time. I am stoked to say that I won the race and won it by about twenty seconds.”
“I am so stoked that I was able to be part of an event that was only for kids. The other participants have inspired me to improve my paddling and surfing skills to get to the next level.”
“Now I am heading back to The Gorge, where I will be for two weeks, paddling and getting ready for a race in Lake Tahoe at the end of May!”
April 4, 2013
The Big Winds SUP Race Team is accepting applications for the 2013 summer season. Now in its third year, Team Big Winds is made up of a select group of kids, ages 12-19, who are interested in SUP Racing. Team Big Winds has established itself as the premier youth SUP race team in the U.S., with podium finishes at events all over the west coast and Mexico.
The Team is headed by Steve Gates, with coaching assistance from Jim Stevens and MacRae Wylde. All three have extensive coaching and SUP racing experience. Team Big Winds is split into two groups, the Devo Team (limited to 10 kids), where all the kids start, and the Junior Elite Team (JET). Membership on JET is an earned position.
The Team trains and races from mid-June through the end of August. Training takes place early mornings at the Event Site with races in Hood River and Portland. Training sessions are focused and kids must be willing to show up on time and be ready for a challenging workout. The emphasis is on proper stroke technique, paddling in a variety of conditions, racing tactics and strategies.
The Team trains and races in all conditions and, consequently, kids must be comfortable in rough water. To be considered for the Team, kids must meet the following minimum criteria:
1. Must be a strong swimmer.
2. Must be comfortable in the Columbia in rough, windy conditions.
3. Must be comfortable in a disciplined team training environment.
The fee for joining the Team is $125 for those kids who have their own boards and $295 for kids needing to use Big Winds’ boards. Kids must have their own PFDs (inflatable belt style is recommended) and are encouraged to have their own paddles. There will be approximately 15 training/racing opportunities for the Team through the summer.
Those interested in joining Team Big Winds should contact Steve (email@example.com) for more information.
Click to enlarge. Photo: Mike Godsey
Two of our Junior Elite Team (JET) athletes, Fiona Wylde and Sofia DeWolfe, competed in the Punta Sayulita Longboard and SUP Classic recently, March 8–10. They did exceedingly well, placing first and second in the Elite Women’s SUP race, and first and third for women, respectively, in the 10K Distance Race. All of us at Big Winds are super proud of them.
Here’s a link to the results.
Fiona wrote up a great recap about her experience during this grueling event, so we want to share it with everyone. Thanks for sharing Fiona!
The contest consisted of a 6K course race, a 10K distance race, a SUP surfing event and a longboard event. I competed in three of the four events — the course and distance races, as well as the SUP surfing contest.
The course race was a blast, with buoys placed in the surf just like in Battle of the Paddle. It was just as gnarly, but there weren’t as many people as BOP. At the beginning of the race it was neck and neck for first with one other girl. She would get a head of me, then I’d catch up, then she’d pass me, then she’d fall in and I would get ahead again.
That pattern continued for two of the four laps. Then, when we were heading back out through the surf to start our third lap, she got taken out by a wave and had to swim to get her board. By the time she got her board back, a set came in. Fortunately for me, I was just enough ahead of her to make it over the set before it took me out as well. For the rest of the race, I just had to maintain my position and keep paddling hard. I ended up coming in first for all the women in the course race! I am really stoked to have won my first big elite race!
Here’s a video of the course race.
After the course race was over, I had my first heat of SUP surfing. I was exhausted and didn’t advance, so I was automatically put in the losers bracket for the following day. Sunday morning I woke up and headed down to the event site for my first SUP surfing heat. I had a good heat and surfed reasonably well. As soon as I got out of the water, the beach marshall announced the start of the distance race. It was a frenzy, but we got everything together and made it to the start on time.
The distance race used a beach start, where competitors ran to the water, threw their boards in the water, jumped on, and paddled through pounding shore break. Miraculously I made it out through the shore break. Unfortunately, all the other girls got caught and got worked. As soon as I was clear of the waves, I started paddling as hard as I could to get some separation between myself and the other girls. By the first buoy, there was about a 200-meter gap between the second woman and me. The race itself was brutal! There was a side wind the entire time, so I could only paddle on the starboard side for 5K, then only on the port side for the remaining 5K, after the turn around buoy. I came across the line first for the women and eighth out of all the men.
Once I got back to the beach after winning the distance race, my mom told me I had won the losers bracket of the SUP surfing. Now I had advanced into the semifinal! I was stoked! This was the first SUP wave contest I had ever competed in, so I was stoked to make the semi. I surfed well, and it turns out I made it to the final by placing second in the semi! I was even more stoked! The worst I could get now was fourth!
By the time the final began, the wind had really picked up, and the waves were pretty blown out. However, I still had fun and surfed the best I could. I ended up getting third in the Women’s SUP surfing contest.
All in all, it was a pretty good weekend for me in Sayulita, Mexico. Now I am heading to Maui for more training to get ready for the next contest.
Team Big Winds showed up in force July 15th at the Willamette SUP Cup in Lake Oswego, Oregon. The eighteen member team made up almost a third of the entire fleet! The challenging course had a nice variety of tight turns, long straights, current, breeze, showers and sunshine. Something for everyone!
Team BW placed 4 in the top ten in the men’s Elite, with Ben Grodner in 5th, MacRae Wylde in 6th, Rob Dies in 9th and Steve Gates in 10th. Ford Huntington won the Rec Class in his first ever SUP race. Fiona Wylde just edged out teammate Alyson Fromm (a mere 5 seconds!) as the girls went 1-2 in the Women’s Elite. And, Team BW coach Steve Gates won the Men’s 50+ Class.
It was great fun for the whole team, with many participating in their first SUP race!
Now the training continues in preparation for the Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge, August 18 and 19, when Team Big Winds will try to defend its home turf as the best racers from all over world descend on Hood River for the spectacular paddling conditions of the Columbia Gorge.
Come sailors, come kiters, come SUPpers, come surfers… It’s the evening we’ve all been waiting for. The fun starts at 5 pm at Big Winds’ shop. A humble surfing legend, Gerry will probably not talk about becoming Hawaii State Champ at age 14, or winning the Pipeline Masters competition in ’72 and ’73 – he really wasn’t in to contests. He may laugh about the handful of movies he was featured in.
But we hope he’ll talk about those early surfboard designs with downrailer edges, curve, foil, and rocker that made Pipeline survivable and helped Gerry change the course of the sport. Now living in Bend, Oregon, Lopez still shapes surfboards, Stand Up Paddle boards, and snowboards.
Here’s where the party is!
Many of you have inquired about an SUP clinic that will take your paddling to the next level and I told you I’d be in touch when I scheduled one. So, here you go: Paddle for the Podium! This clinic is for those who are interested in developing competitive technique, strategies for starts, buoy turns, downwind runs, swell riding, etc. A solid paddling platform is required. This is neither an entry level nor intermediate clinic.
I will be teaching this clinic along with help from some of the athletes that I have worked with for the past year. I’ve worked hard on developing sound paddling strokes and race strategies for the past couple of years, learning from the top guys and women, racing throughout the west coast, and coaching a variety of groups, including the very successful Big Winds Jr. Elite Team. I guaranty you’ll learn a ton, have a blast and get thoroughly worked.
Call or email me with any questions, or to sign up.
I look forward to working with you!
Here’s a calendar of upcoming Big Winds events:
May 5 Big Winds Beach Center (Event Site) opens. FREE SUP DEMOS 10-4
May 6 Big Winds Beach Center (Event Site) opens. FREE SUP DEMOS 10-4
May 13 Mothers’ Day FREE SUP DEMOS for Moms at BW Beach Center 10-4
May 19, 20, 21 Victoria Day Weekend
May 26, 27, 28 Memorial Day Weekend
June 12 Ladies SUPper Club Kickoff Party at Big Winds 6-8pm
June 19 Ladies SUPper Club first night BW Beach Center 5-7 pm
June 30 Naish/ Big Winds Kite Demo at the Event Site
with the Naish Pro Team
July 7, 8 Windfest
July 7, 8 Gorge Blow Out
July 23-27 US National Windsurfing Championships, Event Site
August 18, 19 Naish Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge