Meeting a legend: Daniela Moroz

Can you share some highlights from your career in kitefoil so far, and what inspired you to pursue this sport professionally?

I started kitefoiling 10 years ago and started racing the same year because I was inspired by my parents who raced windsurfing in the ‘90s and early 2000’s. Since then I’ve won 6 World Championships and 4 European Championships in the Formula Kite class, was named US Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year 4 times, and was a finalist for Rolex World Sailor of the Year twice.

Kitefoil has gained popularity as an Olympic sport. What aspects of kitefoil racing do you find most exciting, and how do you see the sport evolving on the Olympic stage?

I’ve always been addicted to going fast so I love the speed and connection to nature. Having good feel for the kite behavior and the foil in the water and the moments when those things all come together is so unique. It’s been really cool to see the sport develop over the last 10 years and I definitely expect us to keep going faster with even better performing gear in the Olympics.

As a successful athlete, what advice would you give to aspiring kitefoil racers looking to make a mark in the competitive scene?

Enjoy the process and embrace all the ups and downs. We are extremely lucky to be able to do this and ultimately it’s to have fun so make sure you enjoy everything along the way.

Mental health is increasingly recognized as a crucial aspect of an athlete’s well-being. How do you prioritize and maintain your mental health during intense training and competition periods?

My mental health and mindset has really become a priority for me especially in the last few months. I meet with a sport psychologist every week, have a very specific routine I do every day, and have skills I’m developing to help me improve my mindset. It’s just as important as the physical training, sometimes ever more so!

With the Olympics approaching, how are you preparing for the upcoming challenges, both physically and mentally?

Mentally I’m really prioritizing optimizing my mindset and making sure I’m enjoying the whole process. Physically I’m hitting the gym a lot and getting high quality hours on the water.

What goals have you set for yourself in the Olympic year, and what would winning a medal mean to you?

Everything I do and have been doing the last several years is to give myself a shot at a medal. At the Olympics I want to deliver my best possible performance and I know I’m capable of winning a gold medal if I do my best. It would mean everything to me and my family and to bring a gold home to the US after we’ve really struggled as a nation the last few Games’ would be really special.

Beyond the Olympics, what are your long-term aspirations in your kitefoil career? Are there specific milestones or achievements you’re aiming for?

I just want to keep enjoying it and keep racing for as long as possible. I am definitely thinking about LA 2028 since it will be a home games. Outside of that I’m excited to see what other opportunities might come up in high performance sailing so I’m really just getting started!

What features of the Atlas 2 do you particularly appreciate, and how has it contributed to your performance?

I love how simple and easy to use it is. It makes my training sessions really productive and efficient and having the live feedback right there on my board is a game changer.

Can you share a memorable experience or achievement in your career that stands out as a defining moment for you?

Overall I’m really proud of how I was able to balance high school, university, and SailGP with my kiting. It was often really difficult but it made me into a much stronger athlete and person so I’m really grateful for those other opportunities.

Outside of kitefoil racing, what are some activities or hobbies that you enjoy, and how do they complement your life as a professional athlete?

I’ve learned it’s really important to have those other activities to do in order to disconnect and come back to kiting feeling stronger. I used to wing foil and surf foil a lot, lately I’ve been playing tennis and getting into golf more, and then I also try to do some moth sailing whenever I can! I was also a swimmer growing up so anytime I can go swimming is super fun.