There is no doubt that the current America’s Cup transition to foiling catamarans has launched interest in that developing corner of sailing into the stratosphere. And though the Cup has sent its developments straight into the veins of the sports manufacturing sector to produce items and boats we all begin to use, this time the prospect seems a little far off.

Not being able to have a tangible connection to the sports marquee event is potentially a missed opportunity. Even the wasp-like foiling International Moth has received a huge boost but in reality, $20kUSD for such a challenging little platform has major limits in usability for the masses.

Upon closer observation, the unintended consequence of the AC loophole that allowed foiling and the impressive mass coverage of the event will likely be an infusion of energy into kitesurfing via their foil boards.

Yes, kiting was on the verge of a major popularity push when is was marked as an Olympic discipline two years ago, the second surge in popularity since the first production drive in the mid-2000s. It was pulled shortly after. But this month, a perfect little storm just formed, and I believe this is a key moment in sailing and kiting history.

Johnny Heineken foiling this month in San Francisco

Johnny Heineken foiling this month in San Francisco

Enter Rolex US Yachtsman of the Year, Johnny Heineken. It wasn’t enough that the wavy-haired, handsome and happy kiter/sailor stole the coveted Rolex trophy from our country’s crop of professional, team jersey-wearing men. Or that he rides his race board in the same low and stretched stance as Matt Sweitzer who turned the world onto the freedom and sex appeal of windsurfing in the 1970s.

This week many of us saw nirvana on YouTube and Johnny was waving us in at the gate. Here’s the impression. The world is watching San Francisco and the outrageously wet and wild scene on the water that is the America’s Cup and this video pops up of Johnny floating what could only be called elegant, buttery and seamless foil board tacks just next to the Cup venue.

Johnny Heineken

Johnny Heineken

A slow, but up beat pulses as we watch the man so casually pirouette through his turns. You’re drawn in immediately and without any knowledge of any water sport, one can ascertain the simplicity and ridiculous natural talent this young guy possesses. THAT’s compelling, and that moment, that video and that cool head of hair sliding effortlessly past an industrial background with a saxaphone playing in the background could be the biggest takeaway and inspiration many will get from this Cup.

Is that a good result? All these ramped up people have to use their energy somewhere and it is unlikely there will be a run on foiling catamarans or moths next month.

Advertisements