Last week Fiona Wylde headed to Seattle to do a clinic and a SUP talk hosted at the Elks Club. Read as Fiona depicts what an amazing day of fall paddling they had and have a look at the incredible moments as captured by Eric Duran.
“Fall in the Pacific North West this year has been incredible! For the last two weeks straight I’ve woken up to brilliant sunshine and crispy leaves hitting the ground in the morning frost. Although it’s been chilly in the morning, by midday it’s nearly 75 degrees without a breath of wind. It’s been perfect paddling weather!
I spoke with a long-term friend of mine, Doc Doolittle who lives in Seattle and started a SUP club at the Elks Lodge right on the water in Ballard, Seattle. I grew up visiting the area because my mom works on boats in the Shilshole Marina. Since I was born in Port Townsend, Washington, I would always help my mom out with her Dodger and sail covers when I wasn’t in school.
I was thrilled to learn that the Lodge was right next to the Marina and that I would be able to return to the place that I used to help my mom with her work, but this time it would be for my own.
It is the coolest thing to be surrounded by so many enthusiastic, passionate people who want to improve their skills on the water! For me, that is the best part about clinics and it motivates me so much to improve my technique as well as help out everybody else. 18 paddlers joined the first part of the evening which consisted of a talk on the beach, some Q&A about stroke technique, race prep, etc, and then a beautiful paddle on Puget Sound right as the sun was setting!
The only reason we came off the water was that it would have been too dark to paddle any longer without headlamps… The sign of a good time!
After we loaded up our boards, dinner was waiting for us at the Elks Lodge. Following dinner, I set up a video presentation and hosted a talk. Fortunately, a few people who weren’t able to join for the paddle got to come for the talk, totally about 30 people. It was wonderful to share my experiences from travelling the world as a professional stand up paddler with so many enthusiastic people. Perhaps my favourite part of the evening was the questions asked about how I manage competing, travelling and daily life with Type 1 Diabetes. As many of you know, I was diagnosed with Type 1 3.5 years ago, and I refuse to let it hold me back. Sure there is some setback and I have to approach my training and travelling a little differently than somebody without Type 1 diabetes, but I have found the systems that work for me, and I’ve been able to compete at the highest level in a sport that I love.
Overall, it really was a spectacular evening! The weather in Seattle couldn’t have cooperated any better, and the company was so welcoming! Thank you to everyone at the Ballard Elks Lodge #827 for being incredible hosts! I look forward to visiting again soon and to catching up with you on the water!
Till next time,
Picture Credits: Eric Duran