Nothing else she would rather be doing

Published on October 3rd, 2022

American Daniela Moroz was uniquely positioned amid the emergence of kite racing in San Francisco Bay. As the class and equipment evolved, her skills were matched against the men developing the gear, and while not quite keeping paced, she crushed the other women.

Moroz has been riding this wave from an early age. She sailed her first World Championship at age 14, won her first world title a year later at age 15, and has since then taken the kiting world by storm, winning five consecutive World Championships. But getting her sixth title will be hard.

With the Class equipment now to be used in the Women’s Kiteboard event at the Paris 2024 Olympics, the international crème is rising… fast. The 2022 Formula Kite World Championships will be held October 11-16 in Cagliari, Italy.

While the top riders just finished competing at the 2022 European Championship, Moroz passed on defending her 2021 European title to focus on training at the Worlds venue. Leave no stone unturned…

The 2022 World Championship will have 156 athletes (94 men and 62 women), and while Moroz will seek to defend her title in the deepest fleet yet, she maintains her trademark stoke.

“I’m really excited to be back in Cagliari. It’s just as I remember – beautiful, mostly sunny, warm, challenging conditions, and the best coffee every morning! I have been coming to Sardinia every year since 2018 (except for 2021) and every year has been incredible!

“It is definitely one of my favorite cities in the world – it’s extremely unique and I always love coming here every year. The people are always nice and welcoming, there is beautiful scenery, amazing food, and of course, really good sailing conditions, so it doesn’t get much better than that.”

Moroz hopes her early training will pay off. “I think this is a really difficult place to sail no matter what the conditions are like,” she explains. “It’s not just about going fast, it’s also about sailing smart and understanding how the wind behaves with the local geography. I really enjoy sailing on the offshore mistral wind days because I love the challenge of the shifty wind.”

She considers becoming familiar with the location in advance as a key point on the road to the Worlds: “It was important for me to get familiar with the conditions and the different types of wind and sea state that we can see here this time of year. In addition to getting lots of hours on the water I also go to the gym every morning to lift weights and go swimming.”

As to what is needed to secure her sixth title, Moroz is very clear on the necessary skills. “It’s always a combination of speed, boat-handling, strategy and tactics, equipment, and the right mindset.” She also identified who her main rivals will be: “I think the most competitive riders will be the French and British teams. They have been doing really well all year, especially Lauriane Nolot and Ellie Aldridge. Everyone has improved so much, it will be a really competitive regatta.

“Lauriane and Ellie are some of my closest friends, and I think everyone in the kite fleet is quite close and always look out for each other. I feel really lucky that I get to compete with some incredible women and I have so much respect for all of them.

“I just love my sport and learning how to improve every day! I am incredibly lucky to get to do something I love which allows me to travel around the world with some of my closest friends and have fun. I am also just extremely competitive and have a drive to be the best no matter what I do, and there is nothing else I would rather be doing right now.

While a sixth title would be massive, her view extends beyond it. “This World Championship is another important step towards the Olympics and it is an opportunity to practice competing under pressure and delivering your best performance. I think the Olympics are on everyone’s mind, it’s definitely the long term goal and it’s exciting that kiting will be part of the Games in 2024.”

Source: GLE Sport, US Sailing

Editor’s note: This report previously stated how she won her first world title at 16 years of age, but she was in fact 15 years old.

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