Portsmouth, RI (January 12, 2017) – Olympic Bronze Medalist Caleb Paine (San Diego, Calif.) and IKA Formula Kite World Champion Daniela Moroz (Lafayette, Calif.) today were selected as US Sailing’s 2016 Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year.
This selection follows the announcement in December of the eight men and six women shortlisted for the award and recognized as sailing’s top performers of the year by US Sailing. A slate of nominees, determined by the membership of US Sailing, was presented to a panel of accomplished sailing journalists, who together discussed the merits of each nominee and individually voted to determine the ultimate winners.
Foiling prodigy Daniela Moroz has reached the pinnacle of her sport at the age of 15. On the world’s largest stage, the high school sophomore rose to the occasion on the final day of racing at the IKA Formula Kite World Championship last September in Weifang-Binhai, China.
Moroz was on equal points with reigning world champion, Russian Elena Kalinina, 18, on the last day of racing. Despite the light air, which had typically favored Kalinina, Moroz won all four races on the final day to secure the world championship. She won eight of 12 races overall.
Moroz posted top results throughout 2016 on the Hydrofoil Pro Tour. She placed first in the women’s fleet at the Final Round in Rockingham, Western Australia and first place at Round Three in Pointe d’Esny, Mauritius. Moroz’s consistent results propelled her to the top of the Hydrofoil Pro Tour women’s final standings.
“It didn’t feel real at first,” said Moroz. “I couldn’t believe it actually happened. It’s always been something I dreamed of doing ever since I started kiting. I’ve been training and racing with Erika Heineken since the beginning and she is a role model and inspiration to me. To be able to do what she did means a lot.”
“The Hydrofoil Pro Tour was awesome,” added Moroz. “It is one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Traveling around the world and being able to compete is a dream. The racing is a big part of it, but it’s not everything. I’ve made some great friends along the way.”
Moroz learned how to kiteboard at the age of 11 while taking lessons on Sherman Island. In the summer of 2013 she had her first racing experience out of Crissy Field at one of the Thursday Night Races. Soon after, she learned how to foil and raced the entire 2014 season on a Sword.
“Both of my parents were windsurfers, so they introduced me at an early age. “I chose kiting because this sport had really taken off. Soon after I began racing, the progression from raceboards to hydrofoil had started and I followed that progression.”
Moroz has her sights set on another world championship and she would like to race on the Hydrofoil Pro Tour again in 2017. She also has high hopes that kiteboarding is selected as a sailing event for the 2020 Games in Tokyo. Moroz will also be preparing to compete at the Buenos Aires 2018 Summer Youth Olympic Games.