- 21 November 2008 | Windsurfing
In 1979 a group of Virgin Islands windsurfers created the Hook-In-Hold-On, a multi-day island-to-island windsurfing race. It quickly became the sports greatest event, but disappeared when sponsor Johnnie Walker pulled the plug in 1986.
The event returned in 1993 under the auspices of Andy Morrell who had placed first in the last Johnnie Walker edition of the event. It was a different sport in the 1990's but Morrell and his team had a vision to re-create the event combining great inter-island windsurfing with a catamaran flotilla and complimented by fun parties.
The 1980's events saw all racing take place on longboards with the F2 Lightening and Mistral Equipe dominating the results. Freestyle competition was sometimes included in the overall result and there was also a formidable "Cruising Class" of competitors who took a little longer to get from island-to-island. Back then the event started and finished in St Thomas and saw long upwind legs.
The obvious change in the 1990's was shortboard racing. The "new" HIHO would sprint up to the top of the BVI's, then spend the rest of the week coming downwind. Also, by the late 90's sponsor Neil Pryde was shipping a container of equipment to the event which meant racers could travel light and use new Neil Pryde sails.
25-years later the event is still going strong with great support from Highland Spring Water and the BVI Tourist Board, plus windsurfing industry support from Neil Pryde and yachts from The Moorings. A new sponsor for 2009 is Red Stripe beer.
The annual Highland Spring HIHO event is windsurfing's greatest week of racing & adventure. It's an intoxicating combination of great windsurfing, sailing and island exploration. The essence of the event is a week-long windsurfing & sailing odyssey through the British Virgin Islands aboard captained catamarans provided by The Moorings, the World's largest charter company.