I started off 2016 with my 3rd international regatta. From March 19-23, I attended the first stop of the Hydrofoil Pro Tour in La Ventana. I was excited to get back in the water after almost 3 months of no kiting (winter is the off-season for the Bay Area, if there is such a thing as an off-season), as my last session had been in early January when I was in Los Barriles for school’s 2-week winter break.
A week before the event, Matt Taggart, Dominik Zimmerman, Mike Zajicek, Rikki Leccesse, my parents, and I had fun catching up over sushi at the Mike’sLab headquarters.
Because I did not want to miss more school than necessary, my dad and I flew into Cabo on Saturday, March 19, the day of check-in/registration. We arrived in La Ventana around 5 pm. The sun was still out, so I decided to go for a short foiling session to try and find my “sea legs” again. Let’s just say I didn’t find them…
For me, the first day of the event was the worst I had ever raced. Because of the very light wind, I didn’t finish any races, and was last in women’s by the end of the day.
Luckily, day 2 was better, but not by much. I was able to climb up a few spots, but was still far off the podium and gold fleet. The third day, I focused on picking the right sized kites, sailing clean, and finishing every race (that last part was hard). The wind completely died on the last race for Silver Fleet, and I dropped my 13m Chrono V2 a few hundred yards away from the finish line, along with a bunch of other racers. In my mind, I was thinking, “I am not taking another DNF.” So, I swam through the finish line.
My local teammate Cynthia Brown and kiwi teammate Gina Hewson saw me, and decided to swim after me. Although we did not “finish” and had to retire that race, I had so much fun to swim with my teammates and friends with wet kites, and I even threw up a shaka for the drone that was filming us. Even with the extra points, I continued to move up the rankings.
Day 4 was by far my best day. The wind picked up, and I had consistent finishes: 5, 6, 4, 5 in silver fleet on a 15m R1 V2 prototype. I had been reluctant on taking such a big kite on short lines – a set up I am not used to at all. I was very impressed with the performance of the V2, and am stoked to get my hands on one (or two, or three…) for this racing season. I was never overpowered, even when it was blowing low to mid-teens. The 15m R1V2, paired with my fast and dangerous Mike’sLab board and foil turned out to be the perfect set up for that day. I moved up several places, and managed to snag 2nd on the ladies’ podium.
Congrats to all the girls on some close racing. It’s always a blast to compete against my teammates, who have become not only my respected and sportsman competitors but great friends.
Also congratulations to Rikki, Matt, and Nico L. for their performances in gold fleet. I’m super stoked for you guys and am lucky to have you as teammates.
Thanks to my parents for letting me go on this trip and miss five days of school. Thanks to Playa Central, Robby Dean, Adam Withington, Marvin Baumeister, and everyone else who helped organize the event for making it so fun and an experience to remember.
Thank you to my incredible sponsors for their support: Ozone, Mike’sLab, Ronstan, Avasol, Manda, and Surreal.
Some additional footage and links: