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St Francis Sailing Foundation Grantee Wins Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award

The St Francis Sailing Foundation extends its congratulations to Enoshima Olympic Week Laser Radial Gold Medalist Erika Reineke and J/70 World Champion Peter Duncan who have been selected as Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year for their remarkable sailing performances in 2017. Erika is a grantee of the Foundation with a promising future in the Laser Radial. Read more:

Michelle SladeSt Francis Sailing Foundation Grantee Wins Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award
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St Francis Sailing Foundation Supports First Regionally-Focused ODP Clinic

Jack Sutter & Charlotte Versavel rip it up on the Bay

Without a doubt, a 2017 highlight for experienced youth sailors was the first regionally-focused Olympic Development Heavy Weather Clinic held in September and hosted by the St Francis Yacht Club (with the support of the St. Francis Sailing Foundation and the Belvedere Cove Foundation). 40 youth sailors ages 15-20 from around the country attended the 3-day camp. Significantly, it was first time that US Sailing extended participation in its training camps to local regional programs.

The goal was to have ODP coaches and sailors work alongside the local sailors and coaches to encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing on both levels. Participants were on the water from 10-2pm daily sailing 29ers, Lasers and Nacras, followed by a debrief. Coaches included Grant Spanhake, Kevin Hall, David Liebenberg, Dane Wilson, Caleb Paine, Mark Andrews and Pete Melvin. Here, San Francisco Bay Area sailors Jack Sutter, Charlotte Versavel, Will Glasson and Chloe Holder reflect on their experience.

15-year old Jack Sutter from Benecia, Calif., is a member of the St FYC and RYC. He’s a sophomore at St. Patrick-St Vincent High School. Jack sailed the clinic in the Nacra 15 with crew Charlotte Versavel.

“Our coaches, Leandro Spina and Pete Melvin (designer of the Nacra) were always helpful and we learned so much from them. The boat is very new and there are many different ways to sail it. It’s exciting to sail a new boat design where you are allowed to discover new techniques and the fastest way to sail the boat. The coaches helped us refine our upwind and downwind sailing as well as tuning and adjusting the boat for its best performance. The boat has so many ways to depower and we learned all about it in very descriptive powerpoint presentations and morning meetings.

Rigging under watchful eye of Caleb Paine, Olympic bronze medalist

The coaches were always around for questions no matter what class they were teaching. Each day Charlotte and I had many questions and we always discovered something new. The conditions at the city front were completely random. I’ve never sailed upwind with 90 degree hot air in my face on San Francisco Bay! The second day we had more wind but the last day was nuking and choppy. In the afternoon of the last day we sailed the boats across the bay to Richmond Yacht Club. It was very windy and sketchy but the best downwind sail ever! Charlotte and I were so stoked on sailing the city front and ripping around the Bay!”

14-year old Charlotte Versavel from Palo Alto, Calif., is a member of the St. FYC and RYC, and a 9th grader at Palo Alto High School. Prior to the ODP Clinic, she and Jack practiced every weekend for over a month out of St. FYC, and were excited to compare their boat speed and maneuvers to the rest of the Nacra 15 fleet. The pair are aiming to represent St. FYC and the United States at the 2018 Youth Olympics in Buenos Aires.

“We were happy to find that our maneuvers were overall much better than most of the teams, and that our upwind boat speed was also really good. Downwind, Jack and I were unbeatable, which was awesome, especially considering the amount of time we have been sailing together, and the experience we have as a team. By observing the other teams, Jack and I figured out how to  improve our accelerations a lot. We also learned that we will need to work more on our racing skills. The coaches, especially Pete, Fuzz, Adam, and Leandro, were really helpful, answering and explaining our questions and encouraging us to try new things on and off the water.

ODP training on the San Francisco city front

Jack and I want to thank the Foundation for providing us with coach and safety boats in the lead up and during the clinic. We would like to thank the Club for hosting the clinic, and for allowing us to keep our boat and trailer in the lot for over a month. We are grateful to US Sailing for putting on the Clinic and to Pam Healy for organizing it. We thank our coach Adam for challenging us to try out new things, and also our parents for driving and supporting.”

16-year old Chloe Holder is from San Anselmo, Calif., and is a junior at Redwood High School. She’s been sailing since she was 9 and currently sails out of St. FYC. She is looking forward to participating in college sailing in the future, so the clinic was an awesome opportunity for her.

“I learned a ton. We had amazing coaches and it was really great to compete against some of the best kids in the US. We had meetings every morning before sailing, and were able to apply what we learned in the boat. Every team improved greatly throughout the course of the weekend. It was an incredible opportunity and I learned a lot. Thanks to the St. Francis Sailing Foundation for sponsoring such a fantastic clinic.”

Caleb Paine shares his winning tips…

15-year old Will Glasson is a sophomore at Palo Alto High School and a junior member at St. FYC. He’s originally from Maine but has lived in California for the last six years. He started out sailing Opti’s at the Ventura Yacht Club then joined Molly Vandemoer’s program at the Peninsula Youth Sailing Foundation (Palo Alto, Calif.) when he moved to the area two years ago. There he got into FJ’s and Club 420s. About a year ago he started in the 29er Program at Richmond Yacht Club where he got hooked…

“It was probably the best decision I have made in my sailing career as it has opened up so many more opportunities. Since then I have attended CISA and competed in Midwinters West, US nationals, and 29er Worlds. The ODP Clinic was my first time sailing with my new partner, which faced us with many challenges such as communication, timing, and defining roles, all of which we improved greatly over the weekend with the help of all the great coaching we were receiving. By the end of the weekend, we were pretty much able to keep up with the rest of the group which was extremely rewarding.

ODP sailors experience all conditions on SF Bay

It was really refreshing to sail on city front and awesome to have such high-level coaches and sailors and a venue like StFYC. This allowed for one of the most productive clinics I have participated in. Thank you so much to everyone at US. Sailing and StFYC for putting a great clinic.”




Michelle SladeSt Francis Sailing Foundation Supports First Regionally-Focused ODP Clinic
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16-year old Daniela Moroz Does It Again

Daniela Moroz crowned World Champion

Two-time World Champion Daniela Moroz talks about her recent sweep of the Oman Formula Kite World Championships. From race 1, Moroz had the outcome dialed, winning with a 27-point lead over Elena Kalinina (Russia) in second. Per the International Kiteboarding Association point system, Moroz was ranked third going into the Worlds because she didn’t attend as many IKA events as the other women competitors and so received more points than those women. Unofficially however, she was ranked first since she’d won every foiling event she competed in this year.

Was there anything specific you were focused on to reach the level you needed to be for the Worlds?

Daniela Moroz takes her second World Championship title

DM: It’s hard to point out one specific strength since I feel like I’ve become pretty well-rounded. I trained a lot over the summer, and tried to get some time in light wind conditions, which were my weakness last year. Improving my light wind skills was definitely a focus for me this year. Once school started at the end of August, I didn’t have as many opportunities to really train on the water outside of events, so I tried to make up for that by going to the gym and swim practice, and really paying attention to what I was eating.

Going into this event, I knew there would be A LOT of expectations of me. I knew that everyone was expecting me to win. Personally, I hate having expectations for myself because it is so disappointing if you don’t do what you expected to. But I knew that everyone expected me to win. It was difficult to tune all of that out at first, especially traveling to Oman for the event. On the training day, I was pretty stressed out but as soon as racing started, something just kind of clicked and I didn’t worry about the different possibilities. I just focused on what I had to do, race by race. It worked out pretty well in the end – haha!

What did you feel you were particularly strong at?

DM: One of my strengths was being able to mentally tune out all those expectations and just focus on myself and my race, one by one. Physically, racing in strong wind is a big strength for me, being from San Francisco. However, I also think something that I really improved on this year was understanding my gear and especially knowing how to adjust my kites. Last year, I was brand new to it and was honestly afraid of doing it on my own. I always had one of my teammates help me out with it. But this time I felt a lot more confident about it. For example, on the last training day before racing began, I went out on a kite that I had not spent too much time on, and it did not feel the way I normally like. I felt much more confident about coming in and adjusting the knots to the way I felt would be better. It’s something minor, but it made a big difference – that kite, an 11m, ended up being PERFECT on the windy day and it definitely made me trust my own judgement more.

How were the conditions and were they favorable for you?

DM: We had a variety of conditions throughout the week. I think that’s the best kind of event because that way only the true best people can win because they have to be good in everything. We raced in everything from 6 knots on the morning of the first day and last day to around 22-25 on the second day to 10-13 on the days in between. I used almost every kite I registered.

How did the competition compare this year to last? Who were you looking out for and why?

DM: I think the overall level of the women’s fleet has improved a lot. Elena Kalinina, from Russia, is really strong in light wind, as I saw at the Worlds last year. I was definitely looking out for her when it was light. Alexia Fancelli from France has improved a lot over this season, and I was surprised at her speed when it was windier. I felt like I kind of knew most of the girls’ strengths and weaknesses, but I mostly just tried to focus on myself and my own race.

It seems like for the most part you were strong from the get-go – what were the defining moments of the competition?

DM: I felt pretty good after the first day, winning all but one race. I just tried to be consistent and sail clean. The second day was the windy day when we were on 11m’s, and I loved those conditions. I think my defining moment was after the second day. I had won 10 out of the 12 races we’d done so far and it gave me a lot of confidence going into the rest of the week.

What equipment were you on?

DM: Ozone R1 V2’s and Mike’sLab board and foil.

What’s next for a two-time World Champion????

DM: I HAVE to focus on finishing junior year! It’s a tough year, so I really want to just keep my grades up. Other than that, I love what I’m doing and I’m gonna go for #3 next year!

Images: Courtesy Toby Bromwich


Michelle Slade16-year old Daniela Moroz Does It Again
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Adventure and Success on the Olympic Journey

The St Francis Sailing Foundation caught up with Laser Radial sailor Erika Reineke, recently back from training and competing abroad. The 24-year old is feeling pretty dang good about life after taking gold in Japan at the Enoshima Olympic Regatta: “Even though peaking for this event wasn’t the goal of the trip – it was to familiarize with the venue – I was very happy to come home with gold!” she said. “It was an incredibly amazing feeling to win a championship at the venue where the Games will be held in three years.”

Erika’s tour started in Barcelona, Spain, at the Radial European Championships where she finished in 6th place. “The venue was absolutely beautiful with sunny skies and big swell every day,” she described. “The regatta was particularly challenging because of the top-level competition and for a few of the days, the swell was so big that it was impossible to see the pressure on the water. Sometimes the fleet was completely hidden in the troughs of the waves.”

She had a somewhat unique experience while in Barcelona as the Catalonian political movement to become an independent country was in full force: “The streets were filled with protesters all day and night. Racing was canceled on the first day of the regatta because the Race Committee decided to protest in the streets instead of run races.”

From the Europeans, she flew to Gamagori, Japan for the first regatta of the 2018 World Cup Series where a series of typhoons put a literal damper on racing. “The weather was not as beautiful as Barcelona however the Japanese people left their mark on me,” Erika commented. “They were so kind and always willing to help. As I wandered lost and confused through the train stations, so many people offered to help me get to where I was going. It was nothing like taking the subway in New York City, where people just walk by without a care in the world.”

After a week-long regatta of gray skies and rain, a good result in the Medal Race moved Erika up to 5th place to finish off the World Cup Event. The US Team continued its stay in Japan, taking a six-hour bus ride from Gamagori to Enoshima and Olympic Week which concluded the 2017 season. Her plans over the next few months include hitting the gym hard until the Miami World Cup Event in January. She’s grateful to everyone who has supported her journey thus far, with a special call-out to the St Francis Sailing Foundation: “Thank you again to the Foundation for their interest in my dream of gold at the 2020 Games and continued support as these results would not have been possible without their help!”

About Erika

Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Graduated from: Boston College in 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Geoscience.

Grew up sailing: In an Opti at Lauderdale Yacht Club on the Atlantic.

Knew early on that she wanted to sail at a high level: “I was exposed early on to elite athletes through my diving, swimming, volleyball and sailing coaches, and was positively influenced by their infinite amount of passion and drive. I saw their medals and I wanted what they had. By age 12, I knew I wanted to be an Olympian and the only way that was going to happen was if I committed to becoming a student of the sport.”

Why the Laser Radial: “People always say sports are a game of inches and the physical aspect of the Laser Radial epitomizes that. It is the slowest, most physically demanding boat that gives such little reward in the end for all the effort you put into it. In other words, you hike so hard only to gain a few boat lengths. As a result, pushing through the physicality of the boat becomes a mental game. I fell in love with the combination of the physical and mental aspects of the boat because, to me, this is what the Olympic sports are all about. Sheer grit.”

Favorite places to race: Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; and Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

Favorite training partners: Her sister Sophia Reineke, and Pernelle Michon. “ I have the most fun with them and they are great sailors and competitors. Surrounding myself with people who love the sport as much as me can only lead to a fun time on the water.”

Next big event: Miami World Cup Event in January: “I am so excited to sail in my home state!”

What it will take to win gold in Japan: “Having fun while giving it my all the next three years.”

When she’s not sailing: “I love to spend time enjoying life with the people I love. My best friend and little sister, Sophia, is the best thing in my life. Our actions and laughter might not make sense to other people but we understand each other completely.”

On inspiration & motivation: “You are only given one shot at life and I believe that I am fulfilling my purpose by using the gifts that God gave me to pursue my dream. Additionally, I am so grateful and fortunate that I am able to do what I love. This is what gives me the motivation to be the absolute best I can be.”

Favorite post-racing food: “Sushi and Acai bowls – yum!”

Tips for young sailors who want to follow your success: “Be someone you want others to look up to, no matter what success or adversity comes your way. If you live by that on and off the water, you’ll have success in anything you do. Remember to smile. Doing what you love is supposed to be fun, so never lose sight of that.”


Michelle SladeAdventure and Success on the Olympic Journey
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One Year Later: Bronze medalist Caleb Paine reflects on his Olympic journey

26-year old Caleb Paine cast an end to the dry spell for US sailing when he won a bronze medal in the Finn at the 2016 Rio Olympics, the first US medal in sailing since 2008. Paine took some six months off after Rio feeling a definite need to just kick back and enjoy his well-earned prize while also testing out the “real world” before jumping into the next go-round. He’s just now ramping up training and is looking forward to the 2020 Games: “I want to move up the podium and take gold! That’s the whole goal. This may be the last Olympics for the Finn so I am going to do everything I possibly can to make that happen.”

MS: What DO Olympic athletes do after the Games?
It’s an interesting question to ask in the US for sure. Depending on the country you are from, you typically have a lot of resources to back you up and it’s easier to transition into other campaigns. Look at Peter Burling (NZL), Giles Scott (GBR) – guys who were medalists in their (Olympic) classes went onto the America’s Cup, the Volvo, etc., because they have federation backing. They’re easily able to transition into something else between Olympic events. Sailing in the US, if you stop Olympic sailing, the funding doesn’t continue so there was this lull for me after the Olympics, I had to figure out how I was going to afford the next couple of months.

MS: When does training start over for the 2020 Games?
Some people go all the way through and continue training. I trained for six years for the last Olympics, I was super burned out and didn’t have anything left to put back into it so took time off. Now is the time that people are slowly trickling back in so I’m hoping to get together with training partners soon. You want to be the best and be with the best, beating the best.

MS: You recently moved from San Diego to San Francisco – what are you hoping to accomplish there?
I moved specifically to train. I was also fortunate to be a grantee of the St Francis Sailing Foundation which was always a constant throughout my campaign. Past Olympians sit on the Board and many great sailors are involved, people who can help with anything from legal to fund raising. They offer the entire package which is huge, especially when things get a little shaky, they make the difference when things get really tough. They also share the same goal as I do – bring medals home for the US, it’s an awesome thing.

MS: It can’t be all work…what are you doing for fun on the Bay?
Well, I live on a boat at the Richmond Yacht Club – a Nauticat 33, a little motor sailor with a pilot house, not a fast sailboat but I’m okay with that! I’m on fast boats all the time. It’s great and the club is amazing, they help me out a lot, it’s a 5-minute walk to my boat and I can be sailing in the Berkeley Circle in 30 minutes. It’s hard to beat. Having done only Olympic sailing for the last 6 years, I’m finally trying to explore other avenues – anything I can get my hands on. I recently trimmed main on the Open 40 California Condor Buzz which was a blast. I’d love to explore foiling, giant Mod 70s, Volvos – any of that, as well as other aspects of sailing like match racing and team racing.

MS: Did you always know this is what you wanted to do?
I started sailing Sabots in San Diego when I was very young. When I was about 5-6 years old, I found out that sailing was in the Olympic Games. I decided then I wanted to go to the Olympics. My whole life slowly got me closer and closer to that goal. Did I always think I was going to win? No, but to have the self-belief that you are is something entirely different. I just believed I could do it if I put in the time, energy and effort. I was fortunate enough to meet people like Bill Kreysler (President, St Francis Sailing Foundation) who helped me out a lot in the beginning and Chris Frackiewicz from New York. Without these sponsors there’s no way I would have made it happen. It’s amazing for me to look back and know that those guys saw something in me that even I didn’t really know I had.

MS: Was your Olympic campaign a college trade off?
In the US, the thought is that you can do both. When I was in high school, I decided that there was no way I could dedicate the time needed to do both school and sail to win a medal. You’re either going to do both half assed and not being truly successful at either, so I went full-time sailing. A testament to that is that I was the only one to win a medal in the 2016 Olympic Games. Looking forward, it’s a balance – do I pursue my career in professional sailing which is the only way in the US that you can continue in the sport, or do I retire at some point, go to school, get a job and go that route? The one thing I have learned about myself is that I like the independence that you learn through an Olympic campaign – it teaches you a lot of skills which have helped me see better ways of doing everything I am doing.

MS: What are some of the challenges you’ve experienced on the Olympic trail?
Ensuring that your living expenses are covered and stuff like that is an important part of a campaign and it can take away from contributing to your final goal which is to win gold. Another challenge is learning how to prepare for the event, and the only way to do that is to go to a lot of events but all that travel and organization can take away from good solid time on the water.

MS: What would you do differently to improve your training?
I’ve had a lot of time to reflect looking back at the campaign and how I would do things differently, how would I improve. The biggest jumps in my ability came about after long training camp blocks. I have become very good friends with the Canadian guys and we basically moved to Florida for four months during the winter. We sailed every single day and that is when I made a massive jump in my skills. I plan on doing fewer regattas this fall and doing many more days on the water. I think that’ll be better for me.

MS: Are you overwhelmed at going into another Olympic campaign knowing what you do?
No, I am excited about it. The only thing I’m a little nervous about is the fund-raising but I’m in the process of making proposals. Nonetheless, there’s still that uncertainty factor, just not knowing how it will all come together.

MS: What DOES it cost to do an Olympic campaign?
: A ballpark figure would be $150K/year prior to the Olympics, then the Olympic year probably $200K, so roughly half a million dollars for a full campaign. I think I needed more money to do what I think I needed to win gold. 70% of the campaign is just boat handling and training, going sailing all the time and knowing what it takes, knowing how to set up in a start, knowing that routine, that’s a huge part. 20% of it is the logistical aspect, the last 10% is just boat speed, that’s focusing on squeezing every little bit of speed out of the boat – for sure there are gains to be made but that last 10% is the most expensive part too, LOL! It’s a funny balance.

MS: What is important to you in your training?
Great coaching is huge and I think that’s one of the things that US Sailing is doing well now under Malcolm Paige’s guidance. He’s got more people involved and is getting great coaches to try to put American sailing back on top. That’s the other thing too, there are plenty of great sailors out there who perhaps don’t have what it takes to get to the top but at the same time they make good coaches. When I’m coaching Finn sailing, on the other hand, there are some things that I keep to myself because that’s my own hard work – they don’t need to know ALL my secrets! Training partners are also important to me. They got me to where I am now. It’s a lot of blood sweat and tears, you push each other to total breaking point. Some of my fondest memories of the Olympics and leading up to the campaign is the time I spent with those guys. I’ll take special trips to Toronto every now and then just to see them because they are truly my best friends.

MS: Just how hard do you need to work at getting to – and staying – at the top in this sport?
I see guys who work hard but you have to work even harder than you think to be at the very top – I think it’s something I didn’t fully realize until about 9 months before the Olympics. I had kind of a dramatic Olympic trials with Zach Raily the silver medalist from 2008 coming back to sailing, it came down to the last race…just knowing he was there definitely pushed me and got me to think of things in a different way which in the long run helped me tremendously. It has changed how I will approach anything for the rest of my life. The Olympics will do that and it’s pretty special to be part of that.

MS: Who do you consider your mentors?
My parents Doug and Connie Paine, and my sponsors Bill and Chris. Chris was a Polish immigrant who came to America with $46 in his pocket and now he he’s very financially successful, a great role model. I happened to meet him at the boat park in Clearwater, FL, and he liked what I was doing. Then, we had the Finn Gold Cup here on the Bay in 2010. We were out in front of the St FYC and I was just wheeling my boat up. A gentleman comes up to me and starts looking at my boat. He introduces himself as Bill and said he used to sail a Finn. Turns out we are both from San Diego, Bill’s parents had a house in Point Loma and Bill was a member at the same yacht club I was sailing for, he went down to the junior program where I was working at the time and said,”I have met Caleb Paine and I want to buy him a boat”. Without meeting Bill I wouldn’t have had the new boat I needed – LOL! I was able to get funding from US Sailing and slowly moved my way up, then Chris bought the boat I sailed in the Olympics. Without those guys, there’s no way it would be possible. It’s one of the coolest things about sailing, you meet the best people, it’s awesome. I have friends all over the world and am very fortunate to have met the people I have – they have been a large contribution to what I have been able to achieve.

**Olympic campaigns are expensive. Anyone wishing to help can go to**

Michelle SladeOne Year Later: Bronze medalist Caleb Paine reflects on his Olympic journey
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First Regionally Focused ODP Training Camp Kicks Off in San Francisco Sept 2-4

Finn sailor Caleb Paine wins bronze in Rio

The first regionally focused Olympic Development Program (ODP) Training Camp gets underway on Saturday in San Francisco with 40 youth sailors, ages 15-20, from around the country. The notable coach lineup includes Rio medalist Caleb Paine (who recently re-located to San Francisco to begin training for the 2020 Olympics) along with Grant Spanhake, Kevin Hall, David Liebenberg, Dane Wilson, Mark Andrews and Pete Melvin.

Sponsored primarily by the St. Francis Sailing Foundation, the 3-day camp will be held at the St. Francis Yacht Club, with additional support from the Belvedere Cove Foundation. The training camp is part of a high-performance fall training series for ODP team members and the US Youth Worlds team to prepare for the Youth Worlds in December.

Significantly, however, this is the first time that US Sailing has extended participation in its training camps to local regional programs. The goal is to have ODP coaches and sailors work alongside the local sailors and coaches to encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing on both levels. Participants will be on the water from 10-2pm daily, followed by a debrief.

“Due to the success of the 2015 ODP clinic here in San Francisco, we are fortunate to again be selected as the venue for this camp,” Pam Healy, St Francis Sailing Foundation advisor and US Sailing Youth Committee member commented. “Significantly, US Sailing will be holding future developmental clinics in various regions across the US to bring up the regional level of local sailors.”

The skill focus for this camp will be on sailing in heavy weather; the October and November camps will focus on speed and racing, respectively. The following classes will be supported: Laser Radial, i420, 29er, and Nacra15.

Paine, who received significant funding and assistance from the St Francis Sailing Foundation throughout his recent – and successful – Olympic campaign is excited to have the opportunity to coach this weekend. “I am so grateful for all the help I received throughout my campaign and know only too well how important training camps like this are for personal development. Consistency and repetition as well as the opportunity to train with others is key.”

Regional sailors attending the clinic were selected based on high skill level (top 15 finishers, or equivalent skill level, at the class Midwinters, North Americans, or other championship-level events) and heavy weather experience (experience and capability sailing in high breeze -20kts), as well as demonstrated commitment to the sport and a high fitness level.


Michelle SladeFirst Regionally Focused ODP Training Camp Kicks Off in San Francisco Sept 2-4
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San Francisco Bay Area’s Daniela Moroz Takes 2nd Overall at IKA TT:RKitesurf European Championships

World Champion Kite Foiler Tests Twin Tip Racing For First Time

Daniela Moroz receives support from the St Francis Sailing Foundation.

With the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on the horizon, 15-year old Daniela Moroz changed gears this past week, switching out foiling gear for a twin tip and inflatable kite to compete in her first twin tip racing event – IKA TT:R Kitesurf European Championships, held in Gizzeria in southern Italy.

The Formula Kite World Champion and Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year had just a couple of sessions on a twin tip and inflatable kite on her home turf, San Francisco Bay, before heading to Italy, so she was stoked with her result: 2nd overall in Girls Under 19 class.

“I’ve never twin tip raced before, and other than those practice sessions, the last time I used a twin tip was when I learned to kite about four years ago!” Daniela said, with her signature grin. “Honestly, I did not expect to do very well at all just considering I hadn’t been on a twin tip in years and was really unfamiliar with the whole format. My goal was just to practice, and, also see how good the European girls are. I did not race against any of the girls that I foil with.”

Moroz performed solidly the first three days of the event, leading the Girls competition. Her goal was to stay as consistent as possible and win every heat but the format posed some challenges, as she explained.

“The challenging part about this elimination format is that you could have one wipeout in one heat, but it could put you out for the rest of that round if you didn’t finish in the top 4 in that heat. When the obstacles were introduced I had some trouble because I’m not at all used to jumping a twin tip, while all the other girls are freestylers that jump (and do tricks) all the time. Throughout the entire week I wiped out twice, but because those wipeouts were in the heats that qualified you to the final heat, they cost me first place and about 20 points.”

On the race course, twin tip racing is done slalom style, while foiling is regular course racing, like sailing. Moroz has a few thoughts about foiling versus riding twin tips acknowledging that transitioning from a twin tip to a foil is extremely challenging. But, she says, going from a foil to a twin tip just feels like going backwards…given there is much less speed and maneuverability involved.

Kiteboarding has been accepted into the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a demonstration/exhibition event and the discipline will be kite foiling, much to Moroz’ delight, with the format and equipment (kind of foils/kites) yet to be confirmed. Meanwhile, Moroz plans to continue TT racing with an eye on the 2018 Youth Olympics; the qualifying event for North America will be in January.

Traveling the world and competing at high profile events has plenty of perks including the opportunity to check out world class kiting spots most kiters only get to dream about.

“The event venue was an amazing kiting spot, probably one of my favorites I’ve ever been to,” Moroz enthused. “The wind was super consistent, flat water, and both the outside air and water temperature were really warm. The food (and coffee!) was amazing. After the event, mom and I flew to Rome and were tourists for a day. It was a really fun trip, and I hope I can go back there next year!”

The FoundationSan Francisco Bay Area’s Daniela Moroz Takes 2nd Overall at IKA TT:RKitesurf European Championships
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Creating Opportunities for Women

Through an initiative by the US Sailing Match Racing to promote match racing among women, the San Francisco Bay Women’s Match Race Clinic and Grade 5 Regatta on July 7 to 9 attracted 36 female sailors from the Bay Area, Southern California, the East Coast, and even St. Petersburg, Russia. The St Francis Foundation provided a grant for the event; in addition, ten J/22s owned by the Foundation and operated by the St Francis Yacht Club were used in the clinic. Foundation recipient Nicole Breault ran the clinic and was assisted by another Foundation recipient, Molly Carapiet.

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The FoundationCreating Opportunities for Women
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10 Questions with Erika Heineken

Erika Heineken has the distinctive honor of holding two World Champion Formula Kiteboarding Championship titles, two North American Championship titles as well as four Canadian National Championship titles. Heineken, 30, grew up in Larkspur and attended high school at Marin Academy, and she and younger brother Johnny are fixtures in the local sailing and kiteboarding scene. An engineer with the City of San Francisco Department of Public Works, Heineken lives in Corte Madera with husband John Tilney, their new baby Cody Heineken Tilney, and chocolate lab Belle.

1. Where did you develop a passion for water sports?

My dad started windsurfing in the late 1970s and when my brother and I got to the age where we could learn to windsurf he immediately threw us on a board. Dad has also been a long time member of the St. Francis Yacht Club so we got on the water when we were very young. There are photos of me sailing on my parents’ boat in the Delta when I was a month old. Johnny and I learned to sail dinghies in the Richmond Yacht Club Junior Sailing Program when we were very young. I also coached sailing at the San Francisco Yacht Club for many years, and was on the University of Vermont sailing team.

2. How did you get into kiteboarding?

Once Johnny converted over to kiting, I saw how much progress he made in a short time and was convinced I had to switch as well. I learned on a trip to Costa Rica one winter when I was in college — what started as a surf trip turned into a kiting trip. I ended up changing my ticket to stay for a month to learn to kite and became pretty competent. I returned home, bought kites and the rest is history.

3. Do you think other sports you played helped you develop as a kiter?

I have played volleyball really competitively since fourth grade and through two years of college at the D3 level. I don’t know how much transferred over to kiting but definitely the competitive spirit did. I am quite competitive when it comes to the top level!

4. What have been your biggest accomplishments in kiteboarding?

I won the World Championships (2012 in Cagliari, Italy, and 2013 in Boao, China), on the Formula Race Board, and I won a tour on the hydrofoil at a time when that form of kiting was very new.

5. What was the most well-earned award?

The first World Championship I won was in Sardinia, Italy, in 2012. It had just been announced that kiting would replace windsurfing in the Olympics so not only was there way more attention all of a sudden internationally at this regatta but it was also the year Johnny and I won the world titles together.

6. How often do you get to hang out with brother Johnny?

We see each other more in the summer when it’s kiting season, and during the winter we try to make time to take our dogs, brown labs who are sisters, for hikes and throw a Frisbee for them.

7. How do you stay in shape and specifically for kiting?

When I’m sailing I try to exercise outside — hike, bike and kite. I’m at the top of my game in the summer when I’m kiting as I’m getting all the exercise I need. We sometimes ride our bikes home from work in the city and I love that. In the winter I try to squeak by with just sailing on weekends and going to the gym but that’s more for my mental health.

8. How do you juggle a career while competing as an elite athlete?

It’s not easy. For about four years I was very focused on kiting and used all of my free time to compete internationally. Now I’m re-evaluating that decision after not kiting for the past nine months and considering how intensely I want to go back. Luckily my work has been flexible enough to allow me to take extra time off.

9. What is your philosophy now that you have a baby; will you stay active in the sport?

We’re not going to try to change our lives too much. Cody will be in tow with us wherever we go (laughs)! Whether he likes it, we’ll have to wait to find out. He’ll go to daycare when I go back to work but on the way home, the beach is between work and home and his grandparents are just down the street so luckily we have a lot of help so I think we’ll still manage to get back into our kiting routine a few days a week.

10. What’s your advice and encouragement for women wanting to learn how to kite?

Being comfortable in the water is No. 1 and skills from other board sports will really accelerate the process but isn’t required. It also pays to learn to fly a small trainer kite before taking a lesson.

The Foundation10 Questions with Erika Heineken
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