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!
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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.
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
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