Congrats Daniela Moroz and Guy Bridge! Once again the San Francisco Bay proved to be the toughest ground for hydrofoil racing, delivering gnarly conditions during the 2018 HydroFoil Pro Tour stop. The stage was set for some epic racing powered by the St. Francis Yacht Club!
All competition days provided perfect weather, sunny skies with the wind gusting well over 30 knots around the Golden Gate Bridge and the common traffic besides the course makes this event so special for all competitors. The battle is on with 50 of the world’s fastest kitefoil racers, gathering from 16 different countries, crossing the starting line, their kites powering forward in the wind. The hydrofoils slice dangerously through the water with our FLYSURFER athletes showcasing incredible speed peaking over 40 knots while managing current and boat traffic around the race course. Competition for the lead was neck to neck.
On the first day last year’s tour dominator Nico Parlier (FR) showed his strength, experience and consistency with five first places, leading in front of local legend Johnny Heineken (USA) and the current tour leader Guy Bridge (GBR). New FLYSURFER team member Daniela Moroz (USA) showed her talent on her new SONIC RACE kites and achieved an incredible 6th place leaving most of the Men’s fleet behind. The bay delivered once again on day two. „It was gnarly conditions today. There was a lot of carnage on the water, people crashing that you need to avoid.“ said Will Morris (USA), the top Grand Master after the race. FLYSURFER’s Guy Bridge impressed after getting more and more hours of racing in this special venue and made the most of it taking three first places. „It was a little bit survival by the last one, but there’s no point in holding back – you always have a discard!“.
Welcoming day three of the HydroFoil Pro Tour when Johnny Heineken (USA) was flying over the course showing his tactical skills, knowledge of the tide and an insane high speed regatta record of 82,8 km/h (44,7 knots). „I made fewer mistakes today and it was fun in the full-on chop this morning.“ said Heineken. In the meanwhile our newest FLYSURFER team member Will Cyr (USA), who trained a lot during the winter time, showed that hard work pays off, riding his own shaped foilboard and killing it on his SONIC RACE kites, establishing a top ten result.
FLYSURFER’s Florian Gruber (GER) managed to climb back into the top ten after having hard first days, going with high motivation into the SF Bay Challenge, which is a 15-mile distance run from St. Francis Yacht Club downwind to Berkeley Pier and upwind to the club again. „It’s really hard to predict the wind. It takes more skills, there are currents and wind shifts on the course. That’s why Johnny does so well. He knows where to go.“ said Gruber. In the end it is Nico Parlier (FR) who took the crown of the SF Bay Challenge, with a huge group of hydrofoil windsurfers and kiters stranded in a wind whole next to Angles Island by Blunt point by probably following Heineken, who was in the lead for most of the race until his kite fell from the sky.
The final day of the HFPT promised an epic battle for the podium ranks with Parlier, Heineken and Bridge sitting close together, after battling and pushing hard for three days. As competitors look to the wind-riffed water, a rose ceremony was held for kiteboard racing photographer Michael Petrikov, who photographed many previous international hydrofoil championships and was well-known and loved by the community. That you may rest in peace Michael.
Afterwards the racers jockeyed into position for heat one, ripping over the starting line at just after 1pm, only to have a general recall due to carnage at the start with seven racers down in a tangle of kites. Racers queued for the next start sequence, only to be delayed by a humpback whale closing in on the race course – not an uncommon sight in the San Francisco Bay.
Bridge put the hammer down taking bullets in the next two races, while Parlier and Heineken chased each other up and down the course. In the end, Parlier held on to the lead spot with Heineken just four points behind to take second overall and Bridge two points more for third.
At the top of their game, with near flawless racing, none of them said afterwards that they would have done anything differently. “I just didn’t sail well enough today,” said Heineken. “Guy killed it. I had a good day yesterday and he had it today.” He was pleased to have Crissy Field firing and living up to its reputation keeping the fleet flying kites in the ten-meter range. Bridge said he would have liked to nab that second, but “I’m happy with my consistency.”
Daniela Moroz (USA) took first place among the women competitors, but got bumped out of the Men’s top ten 10, coveted by just a handful of points.
“I was one of the people who got caught in that tangle in the beginning,” she said, and though it didn’t shake her, she suffered a wipeout in the day’s third race that kept her in the drink long enough for too many others to pass her. At 17 years old, Moroz continues to improve in speed, efficiency and handling as she schools most of the fleet. She’ll be one to watch again at next year’s tour.
We at FLYSURFER want to thank the St. Francis Yacht Club for hosting and all volunteers for helping to make this event possible.
We are super proud of our athletes! Huge congrats to Daniela Moroz for winning the female division and Guy Bridge for his podium spot racing for the first time in the bay! Big shout out to Florian Gruber (GER) & Will Cyr (USA) who did well with their top ten finishes!!!