My Own Private HIHO
- July 29th, 2011
- in Yachting
My Own Private HIHO
When I think of HIHO, I think of a windsurfing adventure in the BVI that attempts some hundred miles or so over the course of a week. Throw in a few crazy parties and catamarans as a home for a week, guaranteed wind and a lot of training and anticipation and it’s grit, go and as the legend of the Highland Spring HIHO is known, “go big or go home.”
In fact, this year’s event was all big—all of it. I joined the last two days of windsurf racing, and jumped into what struck me as an evolutionary event. For over 25 years, the windsurfing event has been know worldwide as a master of challenges—big sails and big boards, big winds and big parties. Promoter, owner and race director Andy Morrell purchased the event after winning the event himself, before heading back to the BVI’s familiar and fawned after waters. A big fan of stock board racing on any level, he spent years developing the event and the complimenting brand of clothing alongside.
Andy is no stranger to event organizing. In addition to the international event, Andy is credited with running several successful surf series for youths and adults. Drawing local surfers from the USVI, he also initiated the long board shootout which roped in international celebrities such as ‘Wingnut’ Weaver from Santa Cruz, better known for his roles in the Endless Summer surf movie series. This year, with the assistance of enthusiasts such as local school teacher and formidable paddler Adam Cole, he organised the BVI Sup Cup. This year’s event brought both eager onlookers and well-seasoned competitors to a venue that encorporated stand up paddling, sailing and windsurfing—and, overall, a massively fun turnout.
The event drew in veteran champs such as Tom Pace and 16-year-old Slater Trout from the USA, and winner in the windsurfing class and pro tour athlete Wilhelm Schurmann from Brazil. There were water sports enthusiasts from Brazil, Switzerland, Australia, South Africa, England, USA, Canada and the BVI. Ages of competitors ranged from 13 to late 50s, all out on the water for personal bests, competition and just plain old fun. To start a race is to finish it—and to start this race meant to kick off from one island as a watery caravan and end up on another to a hopeful homecoming, and hearty lunch. But one thing was clear: once the race began, there was no turning back.
This year’s differences made the event very different and one of the most relaxed I have ever seen. Paddlers, windsurfers and sailors by title made up for 100 people on tour in the BVI, enjoying every minute of it. Conditions were difficult or epic at times, depending on which way you look at it. Some days blew 30 knots, others a clean 25, and Andy was careful to try and put the windsurfers in the wind and the paddlers in the lee.
Bottom line is, when you get to a prize giving and everyone has a sun soaked, wind burned suntanned smile, you know you are amongst people sharing a fun experience. There were winners everywhere this year, and Andy made a special point of thanking everyone, crediting everyone for making it happen and in turn they all thanked him. I left the event knowing all well that—as a BVI resident—I can go back and experience the pristine waters on a paddleboard, or steady winds with a kite or sail, just about anytime.
For further info on HIHO go to www.go-hiho.com