My First Windfoil Race!
By Danicka Sailer
My name is Danicka Sailer, I live in Hawaii and I’m 14 years old. Two years ago, when I started windsurfing at the Hawaii Kai Boat Club, I knew I had found my passion. When I went to the Open Bic Worlds in New Zealand in December, I found out about a windfoiling competition in Manly Beach which was to be the final part in the four-part NZ Boardstore Windfoil Racing Series. The event would take place in March, I had just started foiling two months before, so I had no time to waste: I decided to quickly buy my own kit and train every day for the competition!
When we arrived at the beautiful venue, my friend JP Lattanzi (who is 14 years old like me) and I saw some guys windsurfing out in the bay on the RS:X. They came in and introduced themselves with their coach, and we found out they were part of the Dutch Olympic Windsurfing team! Kiran Badloe was one of them and he ended up winning the entire series! We were blown away. They taught us so much about windsurf racing and foiling in such a short period of time. We got better just by watching them.
On the first day of the competition, we met two other kids our age as well as a few 18 year-olds. After the first day, I was in fourth in the Bronze fleet but decided to enter into the Silver fleet so I could learn more about windfoiling. One thing I noticed while I was there was that everyone had Starboard and Severne equipment, whereas we had JP Australia boards and NeilPryde foils. Perhaps it will make sense to have a one-design class in the future, but as they said we are a growing fleet still in the process of learning and changing. I feel that the range of equipment also has to do with availability. In New Zealand, there are a lot of Starboard and Severne dealers whereas in Hawaii we have more NeilPryde and Naish dealers.
This competition was very different than your regular windsurfing race. It was not only incredibly fast but they had a wide range of race courses. We had scheduled regular race courses, speed runs, distance races, and elimination triangle courses. Although due to lack of wind we were not able to do any speed runs or distance races.
The starts were fast and everyone came in flying out of the water. One thing that separated the really good guys was their jibes and how they pulled the sail over them and leaned out a lot. They also had gigantic sails. They had 10-meter sails for light winds, 9-meter sails for 15-25 knots, and 8-meter sails for the 30 knot days. Their big sails allowed them to get up really fast. Once you are going, the speed in your sail transfers to your board and your focus is on keeping the board steady and not letting it touch the water.
After the competition, I realized that I had learned so much about windsurfing that I could never learn on my own in Hawaii. I mean there were amazing Olympic medalists at this competition! Windsurfing in other countries is amazing. You meet so many people and you learn so much. Windfoiling has gotten so big that we have decided to add windfoiling into our Ring of Fire Baron’s Cup Regatta at home, and I hope to organize my own regatta in the Fall!
Foiling is the future and any chance you get you should take it!