The dinner table conversation at Barbara Kendall’s house may have just got a bit more interesting after the Kiwi Olympic great was beaten by her own daughter at the Australian national wingfoiling championships in New South Wales.
Seventeen-year-old Aimee Bright, who is also one of New Zealand’s top young windfoilers, took out the women’s division at the Aussie nationals at Woollahra Sailing Club at the weekend, with Kendall in second.
Bright finished the regatta in 11th overall with fellow Kiwis Paul Snow-Hansen fourth, followed by Kosta Gladiadis (fifth), Sam Thom (sixth) and Jeremiah McDonald (eighth).
Fourteen-year-old Gladiadis was also crowned the winner in the under-19 category.
Kendall, a five-time Olympic windsurfer who won Games gold, silver and bronze during her illustrious career, was 25th overall.
“It’s the first international wingfoil event I’ve done and to get this result is really amazing,” Bright said on Monday.
“It was a lot of fun having my mum out there racing with me. It’s not much different to what I’m used to though because back at home, at our Manly Sailing Club, I’m used to racing with her all the time. It was still good having her out there, laughing with her after every race.”
Bright's success Down Under didn’t come as a surprise for Kendall.
“I spent every race watching her from the back of the fleet and she performed incredibly well,” she said.
“For her to get this result in a fleet of 45 and to be constantly on the heels of the leading guys shows just how much potential she has. It's like she was born with foils on her feet and I think she has a bright future - whether that's in wingfoiling or windfoiling."
The increasing popularity of the class has shades of her own windsurfing journey, Kendall says.
"It's evolving pretty quickly and it’s a bit like windsurfing was in the early 80s, when we were pioneers of the sport. The whole thing is happening again with wingfoiling and it’s really exciting to be in this first wave of this sport.
“It's one of the fastest growing watersports at the moment because, in many ways, it’s so easy. The equipment is small and relatively cheap and it’s just so much fun."
While not on the Olympic programme for 2024 or 2028, Kendall – who has been heavily involved with the International Olympic Committee for much of the past 20 years - believes it’s on the right track.
"From experience it’s quite hard to get a new class into the Olympics but the first big step was getting wingfoiling included in the World Beach Games in Bali later this year," she said.
In the meantime, it’s back to windfoiling for Bright – last year’s under-19 national champion in the female fleet.
“Windfoiling has always been the more serious racing to me, while winging is just pure fun – it’s not as hard on my body and I can just go out there and relax,” Bright said.
“If anything, the two classes complement each other – it’s like cross-training and, right now, I’m just enjoying both.”