Danicka and Mani reporting from Foil Week in New Zealand!
The Hawaii Kai Boat Club on O’ahu is a little piece of paradise, and no one would blame the people running the place if they stayed home and raced club races all year. But they’ve long understood that sailing is a chance to travel and meet other like-minded people, and that the kids at the club would outgrow their local waters, as glorious as they might be. So for the past few years, they’ve sent the youth team to O’pen Bic and Waszp events around the world and now to windfoil events in one of the hotbeds for the young discipline: New Zealand. The kids are starting to measure their progress against outside competition, and the sight of an Olympic torch out in the distance is making them hungry for more. Two of HKBC’s young rippers, 15-yr old Danicka Sailer and 14-yr old Mani Pahuatini, sent us this report from their recent ‘study abroad’ :
From: Danicka Sailer
I recently competed in the Bay of Islands (BOI) Foiling Week in New Zealand, and it was one of the best experiences of my life.
I met many amazing windfoilers including the Dutch Olympic Team coach, Aaron Mcintosh. The racing took place all week with many diverse courses and many different fleets. There were a lot of Waszp, A-Class, and Kitefoilers in the regatta. It was really fun racing with all of my friends from different fleets. We did practice racing, speed racing, course racing, and long-distance racing. I got to experience racing in all conditions including light and heavy winds.
At the end of every race day, we competed in a fun series called the Banging the Corners cup with Randy Cunningham. This was by far the best part of the event. The Banging the Corners Cup was a short fast course where anything could happen.
Everyone in the event was super nice and welcoming and everyone had a good time no matter what. I learned so much about what I need to improve on and what equipment I need next, which is the IQ Foil. During the race, I got to try many different sails like the S2 Foil Race, Sailworks Flyer, and 9.0 Severne Hyperglide 1. I had so much fun on all of them, but I felt for racing I did best on the Hyperglide. I’m now more motivated than ever to keep on training so that next year I can keep up with the top guys.
I want to go to the 2024 Paris Windfoiling Olympics, and racing in competitions like the BOI Foiling Week is a great opportunity and an amazing learning experience. I was the only girl at the event, but that didn’t bother me because I’m used to it. I met so many cool people and I can’t wait to go back next year!
From: Mani Pahuatini
When I first heard about foil week I was so excited. I imagined a week of non-stop foiling and so much fun! My friends Danika and JP went to the event last year and learned so much so fast. My goal was to go to the 2020 edition of the Bay of Island Foil Week and do the same.
I was excited to meet all the pros and learn from them. I knew there would be some instruction on gear maintenance and repair. I also knew I would get to see the gear other people were using, especially the gear that would be used for the Olympics.
We had expected light wind, but when we got there we found out about the local sea breeze and conditions were perfect almost the whole week. The week started with a small fleet of wind foilers and grew considerably by the end of the week. The biggest fleet day had 24 windfoil competitors, plus all the kite foilers and Waszp sailors. It was a great way to be introduced to racing in large fleets.
I always got lapped at the pin so I had a great view of the pros rounding the marks and I learned some new techniques for foil jibing. The races were awesome. They called them “Banging the Corners,” “Fleet Racing,” and we had one “Inter Island” race with a picnic! It was a good combination of courses to have.
The second to the last day of racing took me out. I tacked and was on the lay line to the pin, reaching as fast as I could. My board started to wobble, and BOOM! I hit the water so hard. While trying to figure out what happened, I saw a huge crack in the bow of my board. I got up and managed to finish the race, but my board was wrecked. It’s fixed now, but I couldn’t race with it on the last day.
Foil week met all my expectations. We foiled every day! We had so much fun. We met a bunch of great people and I’m going back next year.