Daniela Moroz Claims Fifth Consecutive Formula Kite World Champion Title

Daniela Moroz atop the 2021 Formula Kite World Championship podium celebrating her fifth consecutive title | Photo by Robert Hajduk

TORREGRANDE, ITALY (October 17, 2021) – After much anticipation during the light wind postponement on shore, Daniela Moroz (Lafayette, Calif.) took the win in her final race, securing her fifth Women’s Formula Kite World Champion title. Under the new scoring system that will be utilized in the kite’s Paris 2024 debut, Moroz only needed one more race win on the final day of racing to bring home the gold. Joining her in the finals was Great Britain’s Ellie Aldridge, finishing second, France’s Lauriane Nolot in third and Poema Newland in fourth. 

In the thrill of the adrenaline and high emotions, Moroz reflected on her accomplishment, saying “it feels really good. I have to give all my props to the whole squad, the coaches, the team, my parents, friends, and family for the support. It takes a village and I’m really thankful to have their encouragement behind me. I’m absorbing it all right now… the conditions were very difficult this week, even when it was windy, it was super shifty, so making a good plan was tricky. You had to change your decisions and tactics on the go and the regatta was full of reacting to what was happening on the course. It was very technical racing and I’m happy with how I did throughout the event. I sailed really well and saw improvement in my sailing even since Formula Kite Europeans last month.” 

Light winds caused a delay on shore for the four male and four female athletes who qualified for finals. While on shore in the suspense and anticipation with a fifth consecutive title so close in reach, Moroz said “this morning I tried not to think about racing too much. I had a relaxed breakfast with the squad and our team and tried to stay calm and confident. Once I was on the water, I got a little nervous, but as soon as the warning signal went off, I switched modes and dialed in.” 

Daniela Moroz, all smiles after crossing the last race in first | Photo by Robert Hajduk

“For the final race, I didn’t have the best start,” said Moroz. “I was on time, but I didn’t have the best positioning on the line. The right was a little favored and I ended up going further left than the rest of the women and had to roll the fleet on a port tack when I crossed back. When I reached the starboard layline, Lauriane Nolot (from France) had already tacked to lay the mark, so I tacked inside of her. I ended up laying the line a little better than her and had a better rounding which set me up for the downwind and the leeward rounding. I had a great few roundings after fighting for the positioning on the first windward mark, and that was the move that won the race. By the final upwind leg, I had the bullet locked in.” 

Racing was tight all throughout the event for the women and provided a spectacular show for spectators, coaches, event organizers and race officials. Because finals day only consists of the top four athletes at the end of day four, none of the men of the US KiteFoil Squad sailed the last day of the event. 

US KiteFoil Squad results, closing out the largest World Championships of Formula Kite history: 
      • 1st – Daniela Moroz (Lafayette, Calif.) 
      • 15th – Markus Edegran (West Palm Beach, Fla.) 
      • 28h – Kai Calder (Alameda, Calif.) 
      • 33rd – Evan Heffernan (Santa Barbara, Calif.) 
      • 34th – Will Cyr (San Diego, Calif.) 
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. Men will begin in evenly divided small groups, and women begin in evenly divided small groups.  
      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 two or 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) 


Daniela Moroz sailing with the gold pinnie denoting her first place ranking in the event Photo by Robert Hajduk for International Kite Association

TORREGRANDE, ITALY (October 15, 2021) – After 10 races in the men’s fleet and 12 in the women’s, the qualifying series of the 2021 Formula Kite World Championship has come to a close with gold, silver, and bronze fleet racing beginning Saturday, October 16.  

Results: https://www.formulakite.org  

Securing spots in the gold fleet from the US Kitefoil Squad: 
                • 1st – Daniela Moroz (Lafayette, Calif.) 
      • 15th – Markus Edegran (West Palm Beach, Fla.) 
      • 30th – Kai Calder (Alameda, Calif.) 

After winning all three races on day one, two firsts and two mishaps on day 2, and a worst score of second place on day three, four-time World Champion Daniela Moroz sits in first place overall heading into tomorrow’s gold fleet racing. “Racing has been really close in the women’s fleets,” said Moroz, who sailed with a larger kite than most of her competition for the day and pushed through to the end. “I’ve been working on making consistent incremental gains throughout the event and making each lap a little bit better. I’m really excited for the next few days and to fight for my fifth title.” 

Markus Edegran had a strong day, winning a race and putting up a consistent score line through a combination of good starting, tactics, and board handling. “That kind of performance was both a confidence boost for Markus, and a validation for the entire Squad,” said coach Charlie McKee. 

“I’m finding myself in a similar position to the Kite European Championships,” said Edegran, reflecting on the September event in Marseille, France. “I’ve sailed consistently enough to advance to gold fleet with the door to the semifinals (top 14) open. A decent day in gold fleet tomorrow will be enough to continue to the next stage and get a top 10 finish at my first World Championships.” 

Snagging the 30th and a ticket to the gold fleet after moving up four places from day two is Alameda, California athlete Kai Calder. “It feels great to put it all together in the last day of qualifying and get through by the skin of my teeth,” said Calder after a solid day on the water in a maximum-pressure setting. “The fleets have been super tight and the racing level is through the roof. I’m super stoked to have achieved that goal and I look forward to keep sending it.” 

Coach Charlie McKee commented on the collective strength of the squad and how the group has been applying their teamwork on and off the water: “We are midway through the World Championships, which has been an amazing display of skill and athleticism. The team-first approach of our athletes was on full display today. We had some tough moments early in this regatta, but they really lifted each other up and came through with some great performances this afternoon.” 

The 2021 Worlds is the first major event for the US Kitefoil Squad as a dedicated training group, and Moroz, Edegran, and Calder had a lot of praise for their teammates and the large role they played in their advancements. “I need to give a huge shout out to our crew that has been collectively raising the bar,” said Calder. “We have all put in a lot of hours on the water and all of us truly had the potential to make it.” 

Advancing to the silver fleet from the US Kitefoil Squad (places 31-60): 
      • 31st – Will Cyr (San Diego, Calif.) 
      • 37th – Evan Heffernan (Santa Barbara, Calif.) 

“It’s been a heck of an event,” said Cyr. “It’s my first time in Europe, and I’m excited to see the level out here. For the last year and a half, all my close battles have been with Kai, Evan, and Markus during the travel restricted Covid era. It felt great to leverage the lessons learned from our time together to dive headfirst to this diverse fleet. I am proud of how our team has performed and excited to see where our trajectory leads us. One thing is for sure, our combined efforts will lead to so much more than any of us could do alone.” 

“Today was a tough day for me,” said Heffernan. “I had strong movements in all my races but was unable to hold on to the results I was looking for. This is the first major event of the quad, and it is evident that the Olympic spirit is among the fleet. The level has dramatically improved and I’m looking forward to the challenge ahead to get back to the top. So far, it has been a great event for our squad with strong support from the US Sailing Team. The next steps on the path are already in the works for what will make the greatest impact. Today was tough but has increased my drive to push my abilities.” 

Racing will be live streamed on the US Sailing Team Facebook page beginning at 0745 ET on Saturday, October 16 and Sunday, October 17, courtesy of the International Kite Association. 

Saturday Broadcast Link | Sunday Broadcast Link


5 US Kitefoil Squad Athletes Ready to Roll for World Championships in Italy


TORRE GRANDE, ITALY (October 10, 2021) – Five members of the US Kitefoil Squad are ready for action in Italy for the 2021 Kite World Championships after numerous intensive training camps as a squad and countless hours of preparation on their own. Announced in June of 2021, the newest Olympic discipline set to make its debut at the Paris 2024 Games, the Formula Kite, has attracted 92 men and 51 women to the west coast of the island of Sardinia. 

On the water for the United States: 

  • Kai Calder (Alameda, Calif.) 
  • Will Cyr (San Diego, Calif.) 
  • Markus Edegran (West Palm Beach, Fla.) 
  • Evan Heffernan (Santa Barbara, Calif.) 
  • Daniela Moroz (Lafayette, Calif.) 

This year’s World Championships will hold a lot of “firsts” for both the US group and the international fleet, as the discipline advances and professionalizes as an Olympic Class. 


First Major Event for the USA Kite Squad as a Group

The 2021 Formula Kite World Championships marks the first major event for the American Kite Squad, the top US kiters who have been managed and supported under the US Sailing Team Development Program since ___. As a pre-Worlds scouting trip, Moroz and Edegran traveled to Montpellier, France in September with Coach Charlie McKee for the 2021 European Championships with the goal of bringing back as many lessons as possible, and the three debriefed with the squad during their final training block in Long Beach, California before heading for Italy. 

“As a squad, this is our first major event of the quad,” said Heffernan who placed 22nd in his first World Championships in 2019 at Lake Garda, Italy. “This will be a great opportunity to display the progress of our training and see that the process is working. This event is the start of a new chapter for our squad as we transition to a more structured race program. We are excited to have these resources on our team and are looking forward to the continued growth.” 

“The squad has been really emphasizing a strong decision-making process,” said McKee. “They have been really good at using the power of ‘Team’ to figure out the conditions quickly each day, and enact a simple tactical plan so they can focus on speed and technique.” 

Making his Formula Kite World Championship debut, Markus Edegran reflected on the benefits of the squad training over the past nine months: “It’s been great to have a bit more structure with a coach to incentivize everyone to get together more often and more seriously for some good training before a big event like this. Having the starting and small racecourse training with a bunch of other athletes has been great to simulate the situations we’ll have at these events. 

New Format

Competing in the Formula Kite Europeans to gain experience with the new regatta format was a primary goal for Moroz, Edegran, and McKee last month in Montpellier, and the rest of the group is ready for their first shot at the same structure that will be utilized at the Paris 2024 Games. 

“I’m pretty stoked on the new format,” said Calder. “It gives you an opportunity to sail with a game plan and not the have the pressure of needing to sail a perfect regatta from day one. Although everyone would love to sail a perfect regatta, things happen, and this new format allows you to clear your head and know that you can still make it in the medal races.” 

Heffernan, with a bit more experience in the new format having sailed it once before at the 2019 Association of National Olympic Committees World Beach Games, said “The format puts a focus on top finishes and winning races which is not the case for a normal sailing series where consistency is king. The format greatly affects the sailing mentality and I’m excited for the challenge.”

Read more about the new format below. 

First World Championships with the New Olympic Discipline Designation

With four World Champion titles to her name, Daniela Moroz is no stranger to this event and has witnessed the evolution of the class at the highest level over the years. 

“This Worlds is very different,” said Moroz. “It’s the first Worlds in the Olympic quad so everything is much more competitive, and all the countries have been building their teams. They all have coaches and the sport is getting much more professional overall. It’s really cool to see it develop in that way. I’m excited for the sport and to see where it goes from here.”  

First Time Back at a Worlds for the International Fleet Since 2019

Since Covid-19 forced the cancellation of the 2020 World Championships, this year’s event will be a reunion for the sport’s top kiters. Notable competitors with success on the world stage include two-time World Champion Axel Mazella from France, two-time World Champion Nicolas Parlier from France, eight-time World Champion Florian Gruber from Germany, and our own Daniela Moroz with four World Champion titles and two Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year awards. Other regular podium finishers are in attendance and include current men’s European Champion Maximillian Maeder from Singapore, Russia’s Elena Kalinina, Great Britain’s Oliver Bridge, and Conner Bainbridge. 


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[results link to come]