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In the Fast Lane

If you’re wondering what that colorful speed blur is on the Cityfront, it’s fifty of the world’s fastest kiteboarders racing in the Hydrofoil World Tour, hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club. The event has attracted the world’s best, with sailors hailing from 16 different countries. The event started yesterday and runs through Sunday the 10th. 

The results after five races showed the fleet was sorted into clear front runners, with Nico Parlier (France) nabbing straight bullets to put him firmly in the lead, and StFYC’s Johnny Heineken finishing right behind him in every race.

The Hydrofoil Pro Tour is burning up the Cityfront for four days of racing with the world’s top kiters, including local favorites Johnny Heineken and Daniela Moroz.

© 2018 Chris Ray

"Actually getting a really windy event here is exciting," said Heineken. "We always talk it up, and then it’s not as windy as we expect. It’s definitely an advantage for the locals, who are more used to this kind of breeze. It seemed to separate the top of the pack a little more quickly.”

Guy Bridge (Great Britain), the Tour’s frontrunner, stands in third. The top female finisher — and 6th overall — is local high school sailor and 2016 Rolex Yachtswoman of the year winner, Daniela Moroz.

"I’m really stoked so far," said Moroz, who’s juggling racing this week with taking final exams to finish her junior year of high school. "I had all top-ten finishes today. Last year, I was all just outside the top ten, so I’m really happy with that. Racing on Thursday nights and training with Johnny Heineken has helped."

Chip Wasson from a few years ago, attempting to jump the Golden Gate. (Just Kidding).

© Latitude 38 Media, LLC

Jenn Lancaster, race director of the St. Francis Yacht Club, says racing runs from about 1-5 p.m. each day, with most races lasting about 15 minutes. However, on Saturday there’s also a long-distance race from the St. Francis to the Berkeley Pier and back, though predicted high winds could change the sailing schedule.


We spoke to local kiter Chip Wasson, who said, "The speeds just keep getting faster. The difference is between a super-fast jibe and a great jibe, with super-fast being required to stay anywhere near the top. Saturday’s long-distance race will be interesting with high winds on the Cityfront, but lower winds likely down by the pier. That means — depending on the kite size you sail with — you’ll be overpowered at the top of the course or underpowered down by the pier."

Spectating from the Cityfront or the water should be fun, but if you’re on the water, keep your distance — they’re fast! 

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This item will be of particular interest to sailors who use gas-powered outboards as their primary source of auxiliary power or for their dinghy.
Happy World Oceans Day, everyone. Now in its 26th year, World Oceans Day started as an annual event to embolden "the voice of ocean" and coastal communities around the world.