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Hard work paying off for kite squad; Moroz takes 2021 European Championship win

by US Sailing Team 15 Sep 16:22 BST
Daniela Moroz (USA) - 2021 Formula Kite & A's Youth Foil European Championships © IKA / Alex Schwarz

Daniela Moroz (Lafayette, Fla.) emerged victorious at the 2021 Formula Kite European Championships that finished Sunday in Montpellier, France.

The four-time World Champion sailed a stellar regatta and successfully navigated the new format of Formula Kite championship racing on the same waters where the sport of kiteboarding first originated in the mid-1990s.

"I'm super happy with how Europeans went- I think it sets me up really well for the Worlds [in Sardinia, Italy] next month," said Moroz. "It was awesome to have Charlie McKee [two-time Olympic Bronze medalist- Bend, Oregon] as our coach. Our squad has been working on a few things in preparation for the Worlds, and the Europeans acted as a perfect dress rehearsal."

Another American on the course was Markus Edegran (Sherman Island, Calif.) who placed 16th in a very competitive fleet of 90 men. "I've been sailing a few small European events in Spain and Italy where I've had the chance to race some of the top European riders, and it's clear that everyone has been training hard," said Edegran. "Getting everyone together in one place in Montpellier was great, and we're expecting to see a similar crowd at the World Championships next month."

"In terms of my performance, I was pretty happy with how I executed," said Edegran. "In the new racing format, we sailed through a few stages which was different from most sailing formats I've experienced. But it was exciting and I was happy with how I handled each stage. Unfortunately, I got knocked out earlier than my goal, but I'm feeling positive and I'm looking forward to a better result at the World Championships."

Beyond results, the Formula Kite Europeans provided a wholistic experience for the competitors; Edegran noted, "It was great to connect with the other riders. We all stayed in the same place on the beach, and we got to interact with the kite designers, board manufacturers, and rigging providers. It was good to exchange knowledge and keep those relationships strong."

With the Europeans wrapped up, Edegran, Moroz, and McKee are returning to Long Beach, California, where they'll reconnect with the rest of the US KiteFoil Squad for a final training camp before the Worlds.

Moroz had nothing but positive reports on what the US KiteFoil Squad has meant for her development.

"Training with the squad has been amazing. We've had really good training throughout the year and it's contributed a lot to my performance. It makes such a big difference when you have people pushing you. There are around ten of us at the training camps so it's been really cool to have everybody contribute and push each other. Our kite squad brings a neat range of perspectives to the table whether it's sailing, technology, engineering, kiting- whatever it may be, everyone has something to add to the group so we're all improving together."

Coach McKee echoed Moroz's reflections and added how the European Championship for Moroz and Edegran benefit the larger group back home. "We're really happy with how things are going- the entire group has worked together really well. One of the benefits of Europeans was that two of our squad sailors were able to experience the new format, get a sense for where the level of competition was, and build a list of things we need to work on back home. We have a camp next week in Long Beach and Markus and Daniela are eager to kick things off by sharing everything they learned in Montpellier with the rest of the squad. That's the goal- compete at these large events, learn what there is to be learned, and bring it back home to raise the level of the squad."

US Sailing Team Head Coach, Luther Carpenter, emphasized the value of Moroz and Edegran making the trip to France to check in with the broader KiteFoil scene: "We have a strong domestic squad that's been working incredibly hard with Daniela, Markus, and Charlie so the Europeans served as a check-in for the rest of the squad to gauge how strong they are as a group after observing how Daniela and Markus performed. And now Daniela, Markus, and Charlie are bringing back everything they've learned to help the KiteFoil squad grow together."

The format for the Formula Kite Olympic discipline is currently as follows:

  1. Both men's and women's fleets initially seeded into equal groups. For Formula Kite Europeans, men began in three groups of 30 (90 sailors total), and women began in two groups of 20 (40 sailors total).
  2. All competitors race up to 12 races over three days then get sorted into bronze, silver, and gold for the men, silver and gold for the women, for 4 additional races with points carried over.
  3. Upon completion of gold fleet day two racing, the top two kiters from both men's and women's divisions automatically advance to the Final.
  4. Places 3 through 14 in both men's and women's gold fleets go into semifinals where they race two races in two groups of six, with the winners of each group advancing.
  5. The Finals consists of the top 4 racing until someone gets to 3 race wins.
  6. The leading kiter enters the Finals with two points and must only win one race to bring the regatta to a close.
  7. The second-place kiter enters the Finals with one point and must win one more to take the title.
  8. Third and fourth place kiters that entered the Finals with zero points must win three races. (This exact scenario played out in the men's fleet of the European Championships where Maximillian Maeder from Singapore entered the Finals with zero points, won three consecutive races, and won the 2021 Formula Kite European Championships).

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