Hood River native Fiona Wylde won a major victory last weekend on her home turf at one of the world’s most competitive races. Fiona put her local knowledge to work and glided to a first-place finish in Hood River at the Gorge Paddle Challenge. The race was stacked with talent and most of the big names of the sport were present. With over a 6 minute gap over the second place finisher during the back-to-back Double Downwinders, Fiona Wylde was untouchable during this major race where she defended her title from last year.
The following day for the technical race, Fiona faced a health issue and unfortunately had to be taken to the hospital.
Here’s what happened, in her words:
“Luckily we had wind and I had a great run of it for the Double Downwinders on Saturday. I won both of the runs, and managed to put about a five and a half minute gap of the rest of the pack.
The following day, Sunday, was the course race. Right off the start I knew I didn’t have it all together. I managed to finish the race, but I was so cramped, my eyes had shut at one point during the race. When I crossed the finish line I froze, I couldn’t move my body in the slightest. My dad rushed in, grabbed my arm and helped me sit down. Someone ended up calling the Medics and they took me off to the hospital. After 3 liters of fluid and doing some chest x-rays to make sure nothing was in my lungs, I was feeling heaps better!
Luckily this wasn’t a big blood sugar collapse [Fiona battles Type 1 Diabetes], but rather exhaustion and I guess I pushed my body just a bit too hard. However, with the extra time that I had from the downwinders on Saturday, I still managed to win the overall event!
Now, I am resting and getting everything organized to head out to Denmark! I will keep you posted on how that goes.
Thank you for the continued support!”
Also congratulations to the young, up-and-coming SUP Racer from New Caledonia, Clement Colmas. 16-year-old Clement took the world-class field by storm with a fifth position in the men’s Double Downwinder.
Clement has been making a name for himself since last year, climbing the ranks of the racing scene fast. This last result in Oregon made him climb 30 (!!!) spots on the world rankings from 52nd to 22nd position.
Here are Clement’s thought about this race:
“Yes, the downwind was light – I would have preferred more wind, but the Ace was perfect in these light conditions. I received my Ace just before the race and I had a lot of fun with this board and I feel it is even faster than my 2017 model.
The Double Downwind: On the first run, I had a good start and ensured it throughout the race, and arrived in 2nd. In last run, I was tired and started in 15th, but after some time I came back in the front of the race and finished 4.
Overall, I finished in 4th.
The Beach Race: The Ace worked very well in the choppy water due to the wind. I have not trained enough to turn efficiently at the buoys with the pintail and that made me loose a few places, I also lost some places also at the start because I lost my paddle.
Despite that I am satisfied by my race.”
Congratulations to Fiona, Clement, and the other racers at the Gorge – and we will see you in Denmark for the ISA International Championships!!