HFPT San Francisco – Days 1-3

All the action from the first three days at the HydroFoil Pro Tour stop in San Francisco



Words – Eric Due

Images – Michael Petrikov



Competitors from France, Italy, Germany, England, New Zealand, Australia, Turkey, Brazil and more met at Crissy Field to take part in this event. Four races began in light winds making the racing tricky with solid wind in the middle of the course and light winds inside and at the leeward marks. The conditions tested even the best of the sailors and made for good tactical decisions.  

Ripping around the course in first for the day was last years winner, Nico Parlier from France followed by Riccardo Lecesse from Italy in second who pulled out a bullet in the final heat of the day. Rounding out the top three was local racer Johnny Heineken. 




Reports of 2-4 knots came in with brief surges up to 10 before dropping back to nothing and so, at 4 pm, the official notice came to cancel racing for the day.  

Racing took a turn to trimming, tweaking, and adjusting gear on the beach while everyone waited. One of the benefits of downtime during an event is checking out everyone’s gear and perfecting your own. Hydrofoil racing keeps pushing the technology limits of modern materials and designs. F-One have helped push the limits along with Ozone, Flysurfer, and new players like Enata Kites. The technology in the foil ram air kites has changed dramatically over the last few years to go faster, fly more stable, and point down wind better and hydrofoils also continue to advance and push the limits of carbon-fibre and hydro dynamics. Mike’s Labs foils continue to be a top leader in performance with Spotz, Axis, Enata, KFA, Levitaz, and F4 all pushing the limits as well. Foils are now capable of 40 plus knots of speed downwind and 25 knots upwind at incredible angle.




The fog began to part early and racing began at 11am PST. Day three brought a combination event with three heats of course-racing followed by the Bay Challenge – a race to Berkley Pier and back. After over five heats of racing the dropouts started taking effect with battles brewing all over the field and some sailing drama as well.  

With day two being a lay-day, three heats were run before the 1:30pm skippers meeting for the Bay Challenge. Riders were on 15m kites and Nico Parlier blasted out three bullets to lengthen his commanding lead. Axel Mazella had a better day and ripped out solid seconds but had a possible over early while Johnny Heineken ended the course racing portion of the day tying up for second battling out the podium finishes with Axel. With only one board collision and a kite tangle with a sailboat, the racing was clean and fast.

The wind picked up for The Bay Challenge as the fog backed off almost to the bridge for the 3pm start. The course ran from the San Francisco bridge to Berkeley Pier in the east bay and back. The points from the race count towards the overall Hydrofoil Pro Tour and mix in a great distance and tactical aspect. The fleet ripped east north of Alcatraz, riding the pressure and tide before rounding a mark at the Berkeley Pier and jamming back upwind on a reach back to the upwind finish in front of the St. Francis Yacht Club. Nico Parlier pulled in the fastest time ever to Berkeley and back at 30:21 0 smashing last year’s time of 45:20 by Johnny Heineken. Johnny Heineken finished a solid second ahead of Axel Mazella, firming up second place for the day for Johnny.



To find out more about the HydroFoil Pro Tour go to www.hydrofoilprotour.com

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