Big Winds’ Junior Elite Team Rocks in Sayulita

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!

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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.

sayulita-course-race

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.
sayulita-fiona-surfing
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.
sayulita-racing
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.
sayulita-podium
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.

~Fiona