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Fred Onillon Athlete Ambassador

by Alexandra Parren

stand up paddle boarding summer beach

Fred is a competitive Stand Up Paddleboarder who lives and trains on the Channel island of Guernsey. He talks to Sundried about life in the water.

Have you always been into sport?

Definitely! From a young age my parents pushed me to try different sports: soccer, tennis, basketball, cross country running... and I loved cycling to every training session or game. But it wasn't until secondary school I found my favourite – hockey – where I progressed to national level under 16.

After I finished school, my love for the outdoors and animals led me to horse riding, which became a real passion and a professional career for more than 10 years.

My off-time was always filled with water-based activities like surfing and kite surfing. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to try different sports and activities throughout my school and professional life; keeping active on a regular basis is what I live for.

What made you decide to enter the world of Stand Up Paddling?

About 6 years ago, I made the decision to go and live on the small island of Guernsey. I live within walking distance of beautiful beaches with exceptional water quality, plenty of wildlife, and an amazing and varied coastline. SUP is the best way to go and explore all of it!

I joined my local paddle club for their monthly races and my love grew fonder from there. Racing on a 14-foot long, narrow race SUP board is a complete workout; you work every muscle from head to toe and you are challenging your balance at all times to defy the water and weather conditions. When you get that connection with the elements, your equipment, your mental and physical: the feeling of gliding fast over water is unique!

What’s been your favourite race to date and why?

My local race: The Herm Challenge. It is a one-of-a-kind spot and I am also very proud to organise it.

And your proudest achievement?

Winning the 2019 UK Paddle Endurance Series, a goal I had set myself at the beginning of the year. Also winning my last race: The Great Glen (92km crossing of Scotland) in challenging conditions and finishing 30 minutes ahead of second place was particularly pleasing.

Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?

I would not call any a disaster, it's more a learning curve: you have good and bad days and I like to assess them all equally and improve from them. I find that in every race, when I give it 100%, the reward is huge!

How do you overcome setbacks?

Don't rush, rest, do and eat what pleases me (dark chocolate is ace!)

What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?

Focus, Technique, Breath.

What are your goals for 2020?

The mighty 220km 11 Cities race in Holland non-stop. I am planning a few challenges for charity as well. Sport is such a great way to raise funds for worthy causes and I love doing that.

Who do you take your inspiration from?

Anybody that takes on a goal or a challenge, no matter the distance, the level, age, failed or succeeded, they all have an interesting story to tell and you can learn from their experience. There are a lot of amazing people in this world!

What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?

I always try and support brands with good ethics and Sundried is definitely that. In this modern world, we need to take responsibility in our every day life in the way we consume but also who we want to support.

Eco-friendly is a must, but let's not forget about sustainability; I have been using Sundried for a few years now and what I am most impressed with is the durability of their products. From socks to leggings or tops... I use Sundried technical gear on a daily basis, being in the gym, spinning on a bike, running or on the water paddling as hard as I can: comfort, performance and durability is all I am asking for, Sundried has found the answer.

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