top of page

Sian Sykes - From City Life to SUP Activist Tackling Plastic Pollution.

Renata Chlumska  - Adventure athlete who became the first Swedish and Czech woman to climb Mount Everest and in 2005 did a circumnavigate of the lower 48 States of the United States by her own power.

Sian Sykes was born on the edge of Snowdonia and enjoyed growing up in beautiful North Wales. During her adult life, she used to work in Creative Media in London as a Project Director. However after working 15 years and working 18 hour days in the industry, she wanted a better balance in life, to reconnect with nature and to be closer to the sea and mountains.

That's when she re changed her focus in life and moved back home, to do what she loves doing. Now she guides people stand up paddle boarding in beautiful places.

Since working in the city, Sian has travelled the world, building up vast experience of leading expeditions to Nepal, Mongolia, India, China, Peru, Morocco and the Alps.

Sian loves a SUP challenge! Sian has completed a number of record breaking SUP challenges. She was part of the first team to cross England on a paddle board, she was then the first person to ever SUP solo the 3 British lakes, Llyn Tegid, Windermere Lake and Loch Awe in 3 days, all unsupported. Sian was also the first person to circumnavigate Anglesey on a SUP which took her 5 days to complete the 120km journey in very challenging sea state conditions.

Sian is a real activist, Sian’s recent achievement was a big expedition with a real purpose by highlighting the epidemic we face with disposable single use plastics. She was the first person to SUP circumnavigate Wales (solo and unsupported), a 1000km journey along canals, rivers and sea. She raised money for charity, collecting plastic along the way, inspiring others to make a pledge against plastics and educational talks.

Sian enjoys linking her love for the water and mountains through SUP. Her love for the outdoors is infectious, and she’s inspired people of all ages and from all walks of life to get out and SUP.


Get ready for an exciting month of July on the Tough Girl Podcast, as we shine a spotlight on women working in the outdoors. Sponsored by Land & Wave - join us as we delve into their stories, gain insights, and discover valuable tips from their incredible experiences.

Don't miss out on these empowering episodes released every Tuesday and Thursday at 7am UK time - hit the subscribe button and be part of the adventure!


Listen to Sian Now!

Click here if you can't see the link below.


Show notes

  • Who is Sian

  • Growing up and being introduced to the great outdoors by her mother at 3 weeks old

  • Her love for the outdoors

  • Her teenage years

  • Going to university and how she changed

  • Chasing wealth and status

  • Working in Advertising in Manchester and London

  • Making a career change after 15 years

  • Living for work

  • Feeling detached from who she actually was

  • Not feeling fulfilled anymore

  • Wanting to make a U turn

  • Getting qualification in the outdoors

  • 6 months working in London and 6 months working in the outdoors

  • Separating from her ex-husband

  • Discovering paddleboarding by chance and loving it

  • Crossing England from Bristol to Reading on a paddle board

  • Gaining experiences and choosing the qualifications

  • The community in Llanberis, Wales

  • Building up contacts and connections

  • Volunteering in outdoor centres and taking groups on Duke of Edinburgh Award

  • Needing to prove herself

  • Going after her International Mountain Leader Award which took 3 years to achieve

  • Talking about the financial concerns of making a career change

  • Making the transition into the outdoor industry

  • Stand Up Paddleboarding Adventures and Expeditions

  • SUP around Anglesey

  • Plastic Pollution in coastal areas

  • Being warned about adventure blues

  • Starting up her own business and becoming freelance

  • Finding your passion

  • Surfers Against Sewage - We are Ocean Activists. We are the voice of the ocean. Campaigning for a thriving ocean, thriving people.

  • Anglesey becoming the first county to become plastic free

  • Water Skills Academy (WSA)

  • WSA - SUP Expedition Guide

  • Advice for women who want to get more qualifications in the outdoor industry

  • How to connect with Sian

  • Final words of advice for other women who want a career in the outdoors


Social Media

Instagram: @sian_sykes


Feeling inspired week after week?

You can do 3 easy things to help me continue to grow the podcast!

  1. Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, so you won’t miss a single episode

  2. If you’re loving the podcast, please leave a 5-star review on iTunes! I read every single comment!

  3. Share the podcast with your friends, especially if you think it could help them, and spread the #ToughGirlPodcast love.

Your support helps me continue to grow the podcast and do inspiring things in this space! Already done all 3? You’re a rockstar! Thank you!

Want to do more?

Please become a Patron and donate US$5 a month to help fund the runnings costs. Thank you.

Become my Patron


bottom of page