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Clean Sweet Wind

Taking a few days off and heading down to Antigua to race wooden boats is a treat, even by our standards.  Our annual pilgrimage to the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta sponsored by Panerai combines our passion for racing with a love of wooden boats.  The event, which is one of the largest gatherings of its kind in the World, blends competition with a wonderful celebration of traditional sailing.  

                   


The starts are jammed with drop dead gorgeous boats including elegant schooners, racing sloops and traditional wooden working boats.  We race aboard Zemi, a 40' sloop built on the beach in Carriacou in the Grenadines by the renowned shipwright Alwyn Enoe.  The Carriacou sloops form a virtual one-design class within the regatta.  The racing is tight, and the post-race camaraderie, fueled by Mount Gay and local Antiguan rum, is boisterous.  The boats are traditional in every way with just two winches, a long boomed mainsail and a genoa.  You sweat in the main sheet by hand and the spinnaker pole is a length of bamboo.  There are no instruments.  It's all about boat speed and tactics.  Local knowledge is king, and with a boatload of Antiguan's there is no shortage of tactical opinions, occasional disagreements and plenty of jokes.  Oh yeah, everyone is on the lookout for fish too.  (Antiguan's, the lot of them, all love to fish).  

Zemi was off the pace on day one of the regatta but we pulled it together and posted solid 2nd place finishes in the remaining three races, including an excruciating 5 second margin on corrected time in race #2.  We had all conditions from squally 30-knot squalls with 15-foot seas to gorgeous 15-knot trade winds under blue skies.  Rain or shine we were comfortable in our HIHO Suntek shirts!

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Viva Peru

Wake up early and spin down to STT to catch the 9:00amflight to Miami.  4hr layover in MIA and then depart for Peru.  Arrive in time for dinner at La Gloria , considered Lima’s best restaurant.  Peru is home to our knit suppliers and we visit often. 

We enjoy developing new styles, checking out samples, discovering fabric improvements and monitoring quality.  Best of all Peru offers exquisite cuisine and each meal is a culinary feast.  Lunch is usually ceviche, recognized as Peru’s best-known contribution to international cuisine.  Dinners, which in true Latin style, are started late, are at restaurants like the aforementioned La Gloria, or at Osaka, the cities best Japanese restaurant. 

Lima sprawls and a working day involves driving from factory to factory through the gritty working class Northern portion of the city in taxis.  Meeting our suppliers and seeing our product being made is important and, for us, gratifying.  Savoring Peru’s fantastic cuisine is a bonus!

 

 

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Inspiration

We draw immense inspiration from our life in the Caribbean.  We are surrounded by beauty.  Stunning islands, tropical scenery and simply the most beautiful water color in the World.  

 

A view from Tortola takes in nearby islands, the translucent Caribbean sea and lush mountains divided by plunging valleys.  Gardens overflow with tropical flowers and exotic palms.  Evenings are topped of with a sunset fit for a travel brochure.  

 

We find the sea perhaps the most compelling colored with almost every shade of blue available.  Shallower waters radiate turquoise and aquas while the deeper channels between the islands are darker blue.  It's no wonder that this is one of the favorite colors in our line!  

 

On smaller Caribbean islands the beach sand is clean and white.  The afternoon sun sparkles off the water, and the sky, particularly in the Winter months, is a radiating clear blue.  At night the stars wrinkle down on us.  

 

Our designers translate all this into prints and patterns, and we get noticed for our originality of style.

 

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Recommended Island Reading

 

Here are three books we love.  If you are lucky enough you can read them sitting on the beach with your toes in the sand, or reclining on your boat at anchor.

Although it's now 20-years old, "A Continent of Islands" is a great social, historical and political resource for the Caribbean.  Best-enjoyed if you are journeying through the islands, as in a yacht out of Antigua, or (gasp) aboard a cruise ship.  Our copy is dog eared and stained from traveling with us to Tobago and back.

Herman Wouk's "Don't Stop the Carnival" is charming, hilarious and rather to accurate.  Loosely based in the Virgin Islands it describes the trials & tribulations of buying a business and running it.  Anyone moving or considering a move to the Caribbean must read this!  

"The Islands and the Sea" aggregates a collection of writings about the Caribbean.  Conveying the beauty of the islands and the rich diversity of it's people, the collection of stories spans the history of the Caribbean from the first explorers to the living Trinidadian writer V.S. Naipal.

 

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Growing Nicely

 

Growth and expansion are the dream of any small company, and no more so than ours at HIHO.  While our genesis is in Tortola, we aspire to see our brand for sale in the Palm Beaches and the Hamptons, and in many places in between.  To that end we hit shows on a regular basis where, in the confines of a 10' x 10' booth space, we show off our clothes and spread Caribbean love.  Truth be told, we love selling and enjoy trade shows.  They are a lot of work, but very rewarding.  It's wonderful when owners or buyers fall in love with HIHO.  

You can learn a lot from the market and we always return to Tortola armed with more good ideas for our next line and motivated to work hard and design more.  It's the dead of Winter but we'll be at MODA in New York City starting February 24th for three days.  It's our second trip to New York in the last two months.  Trading our balmy Caribbean weather for the ice and bluster of the North East Winter, we proudly show our Summer line, and spread a little more Caribbean life and sparkle.

 

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What's in a name...

 

 

In the 1980’s the Johnnie Walker Hook-In-Hold-On event was windsurfing biggest & best-known event.  It was conceived in 1979 by local Virgin Island windsurfers and quickly grew into an intoxicating combination of great inter-island racing, fun parties and a yacht flotilla.  As local windsurfers we were thrilled every Summer when the event took place.  I mean it was like having the Super Bowl in town and we eagerly competed in as many editions as we could.

 

 

 

Johnnie Walker pulled the plug on their sponsorship after the 1986 event.  HIHO owner Andy Morrell nailed a 1st overall that year, collected a Pan Am plane ticket at the awards ceremony and flew back to Europe to finish university.  After that it was on to the pro windsurfing World Cup tour for a few years before knuckling down to get a job.  Thinking outside the box he bought the Hook-In-Hold-On name and re-started the race under the acronym HIHO in 1993.

 

 

 

Within a few years the event was sponsored by Bacardi Rum and Morrell was banging out the race T-shirts as fast as he could.  “We sold them in a basket in my mother’s store in town,” he explained.  “And then we decided to build a brand.”  

 

 

 

This year’s Highland Spring HIHO is the 20th edition of the “modern HIHO” event.  It’s been a roller coaster of a ride.  

 

 

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Caribbean Travel + Life Mag

One of our favorite magazines is featuring HIHO in the June/July issue.  Pick up Caribbean Travel + Life on news stands now to read all about the Highland Spring HIHO windsurfing and stand-up paddle boarding event.


The writer, Matthew Miller and photographer, Shelly Strazis joined us for last year's event and looked at the event through the lense of a pirate's spyglass telescope to write this story.  Excerpt:

We’re offshore Anegada, 14 miles from the safe shelter of Virgin Gorda.  But who’s chasing us? The ghost of Sam Bellamy? Henry Morgan? “It’s Jim,” says John. “He’s crafty.”  Jim Hawkins, the crafty narrator of Treasure Island ? No, Jim Wallace, the cheerful British Airways pilot we drank with last night. This is the HIHO, a weeklong windsurfing and stand-up-paddling race that crisscrosses the BVI.


Download and read the full story here.

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Product Review

The guys over at Gorp.com recently did a product review of our long sleeve Suntek shirt.  And we're happy to report, they love it as much as we do.

 

Not surprisingly, HIHO Suntek is a staple in my own wardrobe.  Whether I'm going SUPing with my two boys or out on the boat with friends, the long sleeve Suntek holds up in the hot Caribbean sun (and sea for that matter.)  Within minutes of getting out of the water, it's cool and dry.  I just wore a short sleeve version when I participated in the Malibu SUP Cup here on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.


The guys at Gorp.com really liked the "Keep Calm and Paddle On" design, but we also offer it with our logo and cool faded map of the islands on the front, as well as one with our signature compass graphic.  

And for the surfer girls, Suntek comes in the "Hidden Surfer" design in white and a dark sunset color, like this:


If you haven't tried HIHO Suntek yet, see what you're missing.  We sell them in both men's and women's sizes and they retail between $40 - $44, depending on the sleeve length. 

So, thanks Gorp.com!  You guys are the experts and we're glad to have your stamp of approval!

Cheers!


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Lunch on Necker, anyone?

Necker Island is the exclusive private island belonging to billionaire and BVI resident, Sir Richard Branson.  I'm excited to announce that the 74-acre paradise is also a stop on the Highland Spring HIHO race this year.  


Each day of the race, windsurfers and stand-up paddle boarders race from island to island.  We stop for a catered lunch on some of the world's most amazing beaches.  And on Monday, July 2, competitors will finish the race on the white sand beaches of Necker.

After completing the challenging race from Eustacia Sound, racers can relax in the crisp teal waters of the Caribbean Sea or float in the massive pool belonging to Branson himself. 


Necker Island has long been one of our favorite islands in the British Virgin Islands, actually in the entire Caribbean.  We were lucky enough to have a photo shoot there a few years back...



Maybe we'll take some items from HIHO's Resort 2013 line with us to Necker in July and snap a few shots.  You could always come with us!  If you're looking for some adventure this summer, the Highland Spring HIHO is for you...  Learn more at www.go-hiho.com/hshiho

Cheers,


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UPDATE: Soggy Dollar Bar Dash for Cash

We've finalized the course for the Soggy Dollar Bar Dash for Cash SUP Relay Race.  Paddler's will race from Tortola's Trellis Bay to the Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost van Dyke.  Hard to believe it is now just a little more than two months away.  

Have you gotten your team together? Each team must be comprised of three members, and one of those members must be female.  We're keeping things interesting!

We think the stand-up paddlers are going to find it both fun and challenging. Take a look:

Start: Dash for Cash
At the Eastern point of Trellis Bay, the first paddler from each team starts in the shallow waters at the top of the bay.  The support boats hover offshore ready to pace the racers as they head downwind through the Caminoe channel towards Guana Island.  Strong winds will push the paddlers.  The current may be flooding in which case it’ll add an extra couple knots of speed.  If the current is moving upwind then expect big rollers in the middle of the channel.  Estimated start time is 9:00am on Friday, July 6.

1st Changeover: Guana Island Cut
Teams must make their first changeover by the narrow cut separating Tortola and Guana Island.  The sea conditions flatten out and racers can choose to stay inshore out of the wind and in almost mirror flat sea conditions.  Support boats will be in the area to assist paddlers as they enter and exit the race.

Course Conditions: Tortola’s North Shore
Sea conditions will get challenging as the swell bounces off the several headlands that define the North shore of Tortola.  This might be the most difficult portion of the race.

2nd Changeover: Brewers Bay
Teams must make their second changeover by the time the second paddler reaches the Eastern point of Brewers Bay. The course opens up after Brewers Bay, as paddlers head into open water.  If the wind is from the South teams should paddle a more South Westerly route; if the wind is from the East then a simple direct line course to Jost Van Dyke will suffice.

Finish: Dash for Cash
The first paddler to hit the beach, run up and touch the designated finish flag wins $4,000 cash for his team!  The finish may be challenging as the paddlers thread their way through the myriad of anchored boats in front of the world-famous Soggy Dollar Bar.  Second place finishers win $1,000 cash and the third place team wins $600. 

If you would like to compete in the Soggy Dollar Bar Dash for Cash, email me at andym@go-hiho.com  We're still accepting participants in the Highland Spring HIHO as well.  And remember, registration is free for competitors in the HIHO race; $600 per team for everyone else.  Hope to see you on the course in July!



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Dash for Cash to Soggy Dollar Bar

It's an exciting time at HIHO.  Not only are we making great clothes to fit our lifestyle here in the British Virgin Islands, we are planning some pretty awesome events...  
 
And the best part?  YOU can join us.  Our latest announcement is the 'Dash for Cash' SUP relay race to one of our favorite spots in all of the BVI, the Soggy Dollar Bar.  


{photo credit: Soggy Dollar Bar}

We are big fans of stand-up paddle boarding and this is a great way to combine two things we love: SUP racing and painkillers!  Have you ever had the Original Painkiller from Soggy Dollar Bar?  If not, this is a great reason to get yourself to the BVI in July.  Well, that, and the winning team will receive $4,000 cash!  Here are all of the details...hope you can make it!


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

$4,000 ‘Dash for Cash’ SUP Race to Soggy Dollar Bar
The Highland Spring HIHO Race adds a relay race to its week of competition

April 5, 2012 (Tortola, British Virgin Islands)  ‘Painkillers for everyone!’ when the winners of the first-ever Soggy Dollar Bar ‘Dash for Cash’ reach the beach.  The stand-up paddle boarding relay race will be held on Friday, July 6 during the Highland Spring HIHO – a week-long windsurfing and stand-up paddle boarding competition in the British Virgin Islands.  The Soggy Dollar Bar ‘Dash for Cash’ is open to everyone, not just participants in the HIHO.

“We’re excited to open up the HIHO for this one-day race and include stand-up paddle boarders from around the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico,” says event organizer, Andy Morrell.  “Four thousand dollars for the winning team buys a lot of painkillers!” 

Teams of three will race from Trellis Bay on Beef Island to Jost van Dyke’s White Bay, home of the world famous Soggy Dollar Bar.  “It’s an honor to be part of the inaugural Soggy Dollar Bar ‘Dash for Cash” with such great partners as Highand Springs and HiHO,” says Jerry O’Connell, owner of Soggy Dollar.  “I can’t think of a better finish line than the  Soggy Dollar on White Bay.  The Soggy Dollar family will be there with open arms (and many Painkillers) to welcome all the supporters and participants in this challenging event. It will be well worth their efforts, I guarantee it.”

One of the world’s top stand-up paddle boarders, Chase Kosterlitz, will be racing on the Fanatic Team.  In addition to top local and regional racers, the United Kingdom’s top female stand-up paddle boarders, Kristy Jones will also make the ‘Dash for Cash.’

To ensure a fair race, all relay teams will use the same board design as they make the 12-mile trek.  Also, each team must have at least one female paddler.  Catamarans, provided by The Moorings, will be stationed along the race route to assist with the participant’s transitions and cheer them on.

The first team to reach White Bay will win a $4,000 cash prize.  The second place team will receive $1,000 in cash and the third place finishers will receive $600, which covers the price of entry.  To register for the Soggy Dollar ‘Dash for Cash,’ e-mail Andy Morrell at racebvi@surfbvi.com. The entry fee is $200 per person or $600 per team.  For participants in the Highland Spring HIHO, the entry fee is already included.  The registration deadline is June 6.   

Morrell says there are still a few spots left for the week-long event, the Highland Spring HIHO; it runs from July 1 – July 8, 2012.  The Highland Spring HIHO attracts water sports enthusiasts from around the world.  Staying aboard captained catamarans from The Moorings, competitors take part in an ambitious week-long racing event in open water.   Great sailing and nightly parties make the HIHO as much for non-racers as it is for competitors.

Visit www.go-hiho.com for more information.

###

ABOUT HIHO
Highland Spring HIHO combines windsurfing, stand-up paddle boarding, yacht racing & island adventure. Participants experience an odyssey through the beautiful British Virgin Islands, daily racing, great food & live entertainment.  Living aboard captained catamarans from The Moorings, the World's largest charter boat company, participants compete in SUP or windsurfing classes alongside pro & amateur racers from around the world. Highland Spring HIHO is as much fun for non-competing participants who can enjoy great sailing or other water sports and discovering new islands and destinations.

ABOUT SOGGY DOLLAR BAR
Soggy Dollar Bar is the birthplace of the Original Painkiller, the popular cocktail that blends rum with its own secret concoction of juices.   The name of the bar is derived from the fact that many people swim ashore from their boats, thus buying their drinks with soggy dollars.  For more than 40 years, Soggy Dollar Bar has been attracting boaters and drinkers alike to the white sands of White Bay, Jost van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands.

{photo credit: Kayla Beiler}

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HIHO, The Race

HIHO isn't just a Caribbean clothing brand, it's also a world-renowned water sports adventure held here in the beautiful British Virgin Islands each summer.  As a young windsurfer, I competed in the HIHO race for many many years, winning it in 1986.  


The Highland Spring HIHO combines windsurfing, stand-up paddle boarding, and yacht racing into an action-packed week-long adventure.  Living aboard captained catamarans provided by The Moorings, the world's largest charter boat company, participants compete in windsurfing or SUP classes alongside pro & amateur races from around the globe.  


Highland Spring HIHO is as much fun for non-competing participants who can enjoy great sailing, the pristine beaches of the BVI and the nightly sponsored parties.  Check out this video from last year's race...


Highland Spring HIHO 2011 from Ryan Reede on Vimeo.

We make sure the participants are looking good with swag bags full of HIHO gear.  The race jersey is available for purchase here on our site.  If this looks like something you'd enjoy, which I can almost guarantee, registration is still open for the 2012 race.  We'll set sail from Tortola on July 1st.  Join us, won't you?  

Cheers,


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