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Feeling Tiny, Going Big!

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  • Feeling Tiny, Going Big!

    Daniela Moroz, an up and coming kiteboard racer from the East Bay and student at Campolindo High School in Moraga penned this eloquent piece for her school paper, which we share with you now:

    "There are a lot of things in the world that make us feel small: skyscrapers, the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Canyon, trees, elephants.
    I could go on.

    Other things make us feel small, like sadness or fear, or disappointment. Then there’s the ocean, which is really big. It covers over 75% of the Earth and we have only explored 1% of it.
    I have been in the ocean more times than I can count, whether it’s for kitesurfing, surfing, swimming, snorkeling, or paddle boarding.
    And each time it makes me feel so small.


    While it makes me humble, it also fills me with a sort of confidence. It inspires me to chase goals and strive to be the best I can be. Swimming in the open water can be scary.
    I hate the feeling of not knowing what’s beneath me. In the winter, when I’m surfing, the ocean water freezes my feet and makes my nose numb.

    If I’m kitesurfing, the ocean spray whips my face and the roar of sound beats against my ears, creating a thrilling experience.

    I am addicted to the adrenaline that comes with riding across the face of an ocean wave. The ocean has become a place where I feel most at home.

    The natural feeling of being close to the water is comforting anytime, anywhere.

    Whenever I start talking about kiting, however, people tend to look at me in confusion.

    Kitesurfing, commonly referred to as “kiting,” is an extreme water sport similar to sailing. In sailing, one to eight people work together to steer a sail that is attached to a boat.

    In kiting, a single rider harnesses the power of the wind to propel themselves across the water by steering a large inflatable kite.

    The board I ride is called a hydrofoil board, or foil board. Bolted to the bottom of the board is a hydrofoil, or hydroplane, which is a very small airplane shaped figure at the bottom of a mast. While riding, the foil generates the force called “lift,” causing the board to rise above the water.

    I can not remember a time when I did not love the water. It’s like I was born in it, and that’s because of my parents. They first met at the Berkeley Marina, sharing a passion for windsurfing (a sport very similar to kiting). When my mom was pregnant with me, she raced in the San Francisco Classic, which is an extremely demanding windsurfing race, in the summer of 2000. She was one of only nine people to finish (ten if you include me).

    It has become a joke in my family that when I sailed my first Classic this past summer, I already knew my way around the course. As I grew up around the sport, my passion for water also grew. At three, my parents were pushing me around on my very own sail board. A few years later, in 2005, my dad started kiting. I was fascinated by it. Seven years later, in 2012 when I had the choice to learn windsurfing or kiting, I chose kiting.

    Now, I am ranked 24th in the world overall (men and women), 2nd in the world for women, just nine points behind the leader. I am ranked 5th overall for those under 21, and 2nd overall for those under 18. Over the summer, in the International Kiteboarding Association Kite Foil Gold Cup in San Francisco, I finished 2nd in women’s competition and 29th overall.

    The U.S. Junior Foil Nationals were held as part of the Gold Cup, and I finished 3rd. I am now sponsored by Ozone Kites USA, F4 Hydrofoils, Mike’sLab Boards, and Ronstan Race Watches, and I am supported by the St. Francis Yacht Club of San Francisco and the St Francis Sailing Foundation.

    Kiting is unique: The speed, mechanics, technology, and stunts are all eye-catching. It is a fairly young sport, it is constantly evolving, and there is always something new. Companies are improving kite models, board manufacturers are trying new designs, riders are creating new tricks – there is never a dull moment.

    Athletes can choose from a variety of genres, including freestyle, wave-riding, or racing. Unlike other extreme sports, women are at the forefront of Kiting innovation. My typical kiting day begins with family brunch. After filling up on omelets or scrambled eggs, we head back to our house and check the wind. In the summer, Sherman Island, located in the Delta along the Sacramento River, or Crissy Field, in San Francisco, are the default venues for kiting. These places are constantly windy, and with the wind comes great friends. Whether on the water or having dinner after a long day, the camaraderie of the sport is unlike any other – people always have your back and will help you out.

    While Sherman is a fun place to go for testing foils or just riding around for fun, Crissy Field, in the bay, is one of the toughest places to sail in the world because of the challenging conditions. The payoff is a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Whenever I’m under that bridge, the feeling is extraordinary.

    Like the ocean, that bridge really puts things in perspective for me. I realize how lucky I am to be alive. Those feelings inspire me to go back to the ocean all the time. Not only does it make me happy, it makes me salty.

    People are going to find this weird, but I love finding salt in my ears or crusted in my eyebrows after a long session on the water. Whether it’s kiting or surfing, the ocean inspires me. It pushes my limits and it has also taught me the limits sometimes push back (a.k.a injuries).

    Thank you, ocean, for making me feel tiny, humble, inspired, grateful, stoked, and salty… all at once. And thank you for making me come back, even if it’s for the exact same feeling every time."
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  • #2
    The girl is tough. Parents must be proud!