2015 was an indescribable year of firsts for me.
My family and I celebrated New Years in Los Barriles, Baja, as always. While on the trip, I filmed my first ever kiting video – an instructional video on how to foil. (Watch it here).
I turned 14 at the beginning of February, and later that month, my family and I drove down to San Diego on a long weekend for the SoCal ProAm hosted by Boards Unlimited (Nico Landauer, Brian Camet). It was my first time kiting in San Diego, and my first time racing on a foil kite – a 12 meter Chrono.
A few weekends later, we had family friend Chip Wasson and his family over for dinner. It was thanks to him that I was able to go to La Ventana for the Gold Cup. Somehow, he was able to convince my mom to let me go, and I will be forever grateful for that.
The Kite Foil Gold Cup Mexico in March was an experience I will never forget. It was my first international competition, my first time traveling to race, the first time on the podium, the first time I won prize money, my first time in La Ventana – so many firsts on that trip and I will never forget the results! (Read more about that event here).
The St Francis Yacht Club Thursday Night Kiteracing Series first race night was the Thursday after we got home from La Ventana. It continued every other Thursday all the way until September. I got protested for the first time, and have learned a lot more about rules since then.
The same week we got back from La Ventana, I swam in the 2015 short course Speedo Far Westerns held in Morgan Hill. I had qualified in the 1,000 yard freestyle. Right after swimming, my dad and I decided to go to Waddell Creek for some wave kiting. It was my first time at Waddell, my first time wave kiting, and it kept me coming back several times after that.
In May, the Rippin Rio race returned to Sherman. We had a lot of fun racing on the Sacramento River. Race strategy and technique really came into play.
In June, I graduated from middle school.
I competed in a few other StFYC hosted events, including Elvstrom Zellerbach, The Challenge, The Classic, and the Bridge to Bridge. It was my first time doing the Challenge and the Classic, and both were very tough races that I look forward to in 2016. (Read about the Classic here, the Challenge here, and the B2B here).
The Gold Cup came to San Francisco at the end of July. It was incredibly exciting to have the best in the world at my local spot and I am looking forward to the 2016 SF stop of the Hydrofoil Pro Tour. The first U.S. Youth Foil Nationals were held as part of the Gold Cup. It was my first Nationals of any kind, and I was lucky to be competing against my own team – Nicolai Sponholtz, Sebastian Sponholtz, and Haydn Fischer.
On the weekends when there was no swim meet, my family and I would spend days at Sherman Island, where conditions are perfect and the sunset sessions beautiful. The delta was where training on my F4 foil and Ozone kites would happen. One of the firsts of Sherman this year was my first foil tacks.
Olympian and coach Michael Gebhardt came over from his paradise in Cabarete, D.R., for our annual Junior Kiteracing Clinic. I’ve learned so much from Gebi over the years and am super lucky to have him as a coach. Especially when there’s a possibility of going to Buenos Aires for the 2018 Youth Olympic Games for kiting.
We are drawing 2015 to a close with our annual Baja trip. And this year, for me, it’s not just a trip. I’m calling it Winter Training Camp 2015-16 for the first time.
First protest, first podium(s), first foil kites, first international events – this year was a year I won’t forget, and I’m stoked to see what 2016 will bring!