This was one of the first few times that kiteboarding was included in the Sailing World Cup. So, in late April, amidst a tough second semester of my second year of high school, I traveled to the south of France to compete. We had a wide range of conditions, from 10 knots on one day to a strong mistral of 30+ knots on another day. I finished 12th overall in the fleet and 1st in women’s.
2016 was by far one of the craziest years of my life.
In January, I began the year in Mexico during winter break. Check out this post for a full recap of those two weeks of training. Back at school, I had my first week of high school final exams.
In February, I turned 15.
In March, I traveled back to Mexico for the first stop of the Hydrofoil Pro Tour, finishing second in the women’s division. Read about that event here
In April, a couple weeks after the Pro Tour, I went to Maui with my mom for spring break. There, we kited, relaxed, ate, and kited some more. I also met up with Adam Withington while we were there, and he gave me a tour of the University of Hawaii Maui campus. Watch the video here and see the pictures here. Back home, the first Bluerush Thursday Night Kiteracing Series race night was during that month.
In May, I focused on school, as the second week of final exams were coming up in the first week in June. After that, I was done with school for the summer. In late June, I got a face-ful of the trailing edge of the mast on my foil, and ended one day with some stitches on my nose and a week of not touching water.
In July, Nico Parlier came to the bay and we trained almost every day of the month. We also spent a weekend in Lake Tahoe, where we practiced our light wind skills by kiting on the lake. Watch our edit here.
August was another busy month. At the beginning, I did the second stop of the Hydrofoil Pro Tour here in San Francisco. It was great to show the out-of-towners what the bay is all about. Read and see some pictures and other media here.
A couple days later, my mom, Nico and I all flew to Mauritius for the third stop of the tour. There were amazing conditions and stunning scenery in Mauritius. Check out the media from that event through this link. Right after Mauritius, I flew back home to San Francisco and started school the next day. Summer had gone in the blink of an eye.
But a highlight was still yet to come. In September, I traveled to China with my dad for the 2016 IKA Formula Kite World Championships. After six days of super light wind conditions, I was proud to be bringing the world title home to the bay.
In October, I got back to school and swimming. It was nice to be able to relax a little bit after the world championships.
In late November, I traveled to Perth, Western Australia, for the final stop of the 2016 Hydrofoil Pro Tour. We had amazing conditions and a great event, and were even able to do some touring around the spot. Check out event recap here and watch my video here.
After Perth, I was home for only a few weeks in December before I flew out for the annual family Baja trip for winter break. I was able to train a lot in Mexico with Rikki, Johnny, and Nico Landauer. It was also a nice trip that didn’t involve competing, just hanging out and having fun with my friends and family. Watch the video here
As I said, 2016 was a pretty crazy year, and it makes me beyond excited to see what 2017 holds.
This stop was the biggest of the tour with 56 riders competing representing 17 countries, including 6 women from 5 countries. We had a lighter breeze of around 10 knots earlier in the week and then it really picked up at the end with gusts going over 30 knots. I used a 7m, 9m, 10m, 11m, and 15m over the four-day event. They were all Ozone R1 V2’s with the exception of the 11m R1 V3 prototype. While we had varied wind speeds, the water was very flat throughout the week. I am beyond satisfied with the performance of my Mike’sLab foil and board and all of my kites.
I finished 18th overall, 4th under 18, and 1st in women’s. On the tour, I finished 10th overall, 2nd under 18, and 1st in women’s. I couldn’t be happier with my finishes from this year and am excited to improve more next year.
Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed to this tour and for making it possible. I speak for all the riders when I say we are very lucky to be able to compete at some of the best racing venues in the world and are grateful for the immense support we’ve received over the course of this year. I am really looking forward to next year on the tour!
I have to begin by saying that there are no words to describe how happy I am to have won this event and achieved my goal of earning the world title. It’s been a goal of mine since I started racing, and I still can’t believe that I did it.
We raced in 8 knot and 25 knot conditions. It was great racing with the rest of the girls from around the world, and I am honored to share the podium with Elena Kalinina and Steph Bridge, two incredible kiters and racers that I have looked up to throughout racing. I look forward to racing with you girls more in the future!
Thank you to everyone for your constant support and for cheering for me from back home! I am so grateful to have so much support from coaches, friends, and family. Especially thank you to my parents for supporting me since day one and helping me achieve my goals.
Finally, thank you to my sponsors – Ozone, Mike’sLab, Ronstan, StFYC, and StFSF.
Press Releases –
When I first heard about Mauritius, I was thinking “It doesn’t even sound like a real place,” with its seemingly imaginary turquoise water, blue skies, white-sand beaches, and green landscape; not to mention the consistent, daily 15-20 knot breeze and almost flat lagoon.
The Hydrofoil Pro Tour stop on the island happened to perfectly fit in with my school schedule; the event finished on the Saturday before school started. It was the best way to end summer vacation.
Nico Parlier and I had been training for over a month in the bay in preparation for the second and third stops of the tour. We kited almost every day until racing began. We flew out for Mauritius a few days after the SF event.
My mom, Nico, and I arrived in Mauritius on August 12th. It took about 30 hours to get there: 16 from SFO to Dubai, an 8-hour layover in Dubai, then another 6 hours to Mauritius. But once we were there (with all 5 oversized bags and 1 luggage!), it was all good – even the 11-hour time difference didn’t matter!
In between training sessions, we were able to do a couple touristy trips. We visited the local market, and also climbed to the summit of Lion Mountain, the main mountain that overlooks the racing venue.
Every day we were there, there was a super consistent 15-20 knot breeze, as promised by the forecast and by the local riders. Throughout the four days of racing, I used a 9m, 11m, and 13m, in addition to a 7m during training.
I have been really impressed with the new R1 V2’s performance. The kites allow me to have much better angles both upwind and downwind than on the R1. They are also much more stable and I never have to worry about the wingtips collapsing. The kites have a much wider range – I found that I could handle a bigger kite in more wind and a smaller kite in less wind. I also feel that they absorb gusts much better, which is something I especially felt racing at Crissy Field.
I finished 19th overall out of 41 riders, 9th in youth (under 21), 2nd in juniors’ (under 18), and 1st in women’s. I had a lot of fun racing against the best girls in the world at a venue outside of North America.
Thank you to all the event organizers for making this event happen. Thanks to Robby Dean and Jessica Barhydt and to the supporting race committee for their hard work on and off the course. Also thank you to the incredible media team for taking some awesome photos and video footage. It was an amazing event that I really hope will happen next year.
Thank you to my sponsors – Ozone, Mike’sLab, Ronstan, and the St Francis Sailing Foundation.
Last but not least, thank you to my parents for letting me go on this amazing trip.
I’m looking forward to the rest of the season, including the World Championships in China in a few weeks.
Training Day Report – http://hydrofoilprotour.info/news/mauritius-training-day/
Day 1 Drone Video – http://hydrofoilprotour.info/news/maritius-race-day1-drones/
Day 4 Report – http://hydrofoilprotour.info/news/maritius-race-final-day/
Final Results – http://hydrofoilprotour.info/results/mru/
Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/hydrofoilprotour/?fref=ts&ref=br_tf
The venue of round two of the Hydrofoil Pro Tour included views overlooking the world-famous Golden Gate Bridge in “sunny” San Francisco, California (we only saw the sun on the last day of the four day event). But even with Karl the SF fog’s extended visit, we had three days of intense course racing and one long distance race, totaling with 16 races.
I was lucky to be able to train almost every day of the past month with Nico Parlier. Over the month, there was never a dull moment. Between kiting at Crissy and Sherman and the endless drives in the supervan, I learned so much and so thankful to have been able to spend so much time on the water.
Though I’m really happy about my final result (17th overall, 1st and only female, 3rd junior), I’m even more happy about the fact that we had about 48 competitors representing abut 10 countries. The thing about this sport is that you make friends from all over the world. I always get sad at the end of each event, knowing we have to go back home and each in our separate ways – but the truth is that it’s never really good-bye. We’ll always see each other at the next event or the one after that.
Thank you to everyone who came out to support this event and to everyone who helped pull it off. We couldn’t have done it without you! Thank you to the StFYC for being a constant support of the kite racing community at Crissy Field and, as always, for hosting us crazy kiters. Last but not least, thank you to our long list of sponsors and donors for helping us make this event and this tour a reality. Also, thanks to Michael Petrikov and Sebastian Tron for helping us prove this event really did happen with their awesome shots.
I would also like to thank my sponsors: Ozone – the R1 V2’s are soooooo gooooood. Thank you for the kites! Mike’sLab – thank you to Mike for working night and day to make the best foils and boards. Ronstan – thank you for the watch!
Finally, thank you to my incredible parents for allowing me to compete and work to achieve my goals. I literally wouldn’t be able to do anything without you.
P.S. I still can’t believe I leave for Mauritius in a few days!
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: