Fiona is a world-renowned waterwoman and a competitive Stand Up Paddleboarder competing internationally in SUP racing and SUP surfing.

Photos by John Laptad

 In 2016 she won the SUP Racing world title, in 2019 she won the European Championship Tour for SUP Racing, and over the last five years, Fiona has consistently been on the podium for every event she competes in, both for SUP surfing and racing. So what’s next, winning the SUP Surfing world title?

Fiona is young, feisty, and determined to not let anything hold her back, not even her Type 1 Diabetes. Instead, Fiona uses her experience and platforms as an elite athlete, who just so happens to have Type 1 Diabetes, to promote awareness to others and show that anything is possible. What else could we ask for in a SKINS ambassador? 

We were able to (just about) catch Fiona on dry land and get to know her a lil' better.

Q: What does your training regime look like?

A: My training consists of a lot of different parts. Because I have Type 1 Diabetes, I have to be mindful of how I train and how much recovery time I allow myself. Since I compete in many different disciplines, I focus my training on a variety of different sports. My on-water training consists of paddling. Depending on what race is upcoming, the type of paddling- short distance, long-distance, etc., is adjusted to best prepare me for that race. 

My mornings typically consist of dry-land training, which means running workouts, like trail running for endurance and track workouts for speed and plyometrics. My other type of dry-land training is strength training in the gym.

My afternoons consist of time on the water, either paddling, windsurfing, or both. A lot of my training is conditions dependent. I have goals I try to hit for training every week, but a lot of times those goals don’t follow a specific day-to-day plan because the weather conditions do not allow for that. I try to be as flexible as I can to allow the best training to results from the conditions that day. 

I love spending time on the water, and it’s important to have fun, so any day on the water is a good day! 

Q: In the lead up to competition, how do you prepare? 

A: Leading up to an event, I prepare mentally and physically for what I expect in a competition and then try to prepare for any uncertainties that are (certainly) going to arise. This involves training in the expected conditions the race or surf event are most likely to have and mentally get excited about the event. I always find that I do better when I am having fun and enjoying what I’m doing, so I try to relax and go out and have fun in the water. Both in training leading up to the event and in competition. 

Q: How do SKINS compression garments help you in training, competition and recovery?

A: “SKINS have helped me immeasurably! I put a lot of effort into making sure all of my equipment is tuned and functioning at its highest capacity. So why not do that with my clothing too?!” I have really enjoyed training in SKINS. “Wearing SKINS allows for increased blood flow throughout my muscles, making me feel fresher during my training.” One of my favourite parts about SKINS is the recovery component. To be able to increase my recovery time, particularly because I have Type 1 Diabetes, directly increases the amount of time I can spend on the water improving skills. “For me, SKINS is a win-win no matter what way you look at it.” 

Q: Do you have anything unique to your training regime?

A: Make it fun! I do my best when I am enjoying what I am doing, so I try to make every session fun, no matter how hard it is. 

Q: Do you have any superstitions/ pre-competition rituals?

A: I always race with bright coral shorts!  

Q: What do you think separates you mentally from other athletes. 

A: Everybody approaches competitions differently, that is what makes competition unique. I don’t like to get down on myself, even if I have an off day. I like to think that you learn something every time you compete or head out on the water. There’s winning, and there’s learning, no matter what! 

Interview has been edited for length and clarity.