SAN FRANCISCO, CA — San Francisco’s Daniela Moroz finished second in a pro tour sailing event in Mexico as a young teenager in 2016, and her mother, Linda Moroz, thought that it might have been just good luck.
Five years later, Daniela Moroz has won every event in which she’s completed — including the last five women’s kite foil world championships —and it’s clear the early breakthrough was no accident.
“From that experience, I realized how badly I actually wanted to win,” Daniela Moroz said in an interview with Patch. “And so that summer, I just trained a ton and was on the water every day for months, and at the end of that year, I won my first world championship.”
Daniela Moroz, 21, will sail near her hometown this weekend as part of the United States team in the finale of the Sail Grand Prix, which will take place in the waters of San Francisco Bay on Saturday and Sunday.
In The Family
Daniela Moroz practically grew up on those waters. Both her parents, Linda and Vlad Moroz, were avid sailors who met when they were learning to windsurf at the Berkeley Marina. After Daniela was born, her parents took her everywhere they went sailing, from Crissy Field to Hawaii. They didn’t force the sport upon her, but she picked it up quickly.
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She won her first world championship event at the end of 2016 in China, and Daniela’s parents realized her potential.
“I didn’t want her to miss school, but then I realized that she really was very talented and very driven,” Linda Moroz said. “I feel like every unique athlete, when they get to a certain level, they are all talented. But there is that combination of that talent and willingness to work hard, and in that sport, and I think not everyone has it, and she did.”
Kiting wasn’t really on Daniela Moroz’s radar as a career path. It was more of a hobby that she would do on the weekends with her parents, and she competed in other sports, including swimming, water polo, tennis and dance.
But when rumors began surfacing that kite foil racing could be an Olympic sport at the 2024 Summer Games in Paris, Daniela saw her chance to become an Olympic athlete. The five-time reigning world champion is on the right trajectory to represent the United States at the Olympics in two years.
“The Olympics is this sort of end goal, but I really am just enjoying what I’m doing,” Daniela Moroz said. “And my personal goal is just to get better somehow every single day and just enjoy the process and the journey and enjoy this life that I’m very, very grateful and lucky to get to live.”
Daniela Moroz is a senior at the University of Hawaii, where she’s finishing up a business degree. She said she became good at time management, balancing professional competition around the world with classes and schoolwork since she was in high school.
She’s coped with having to finish homework on plane trips instead of sleeping and taking advantage of event postponements.
“Once you get to an event, you have to be thinking about, ‘OK, if there is no wind today, I can’t just be sitting on the beach doing nothing. I have to go and try to get some schoolwork done,'” she said. “So it’s been hard. But, again, I think it’s taught me so much and made me a much better athlete and just a person in general.”
Daniela Moroz acknowledged the “interesting” position she’s in, not having lost a race in which she’s sailed the full event since 2016. She knows that the competition will only get harder.
“It’s going to be super interesting, because for me personally, I haven’t lost recently,” she said. “So I don’t really know how to. And I think it’ll be an interesting experience to actually just have to deal with that and go through that and make the most of a loss and just keep learning as much as possible.”
Vlad Moroz has tried to remind her how special her journey has been so far.
“She lives a life which only few people manage to live in her very young age,” he said. “And I always tell her, ‘I hope you realize that for you this might be normal, but it’s not normal to most of the people on this planet.'”