Some of the world’s best sailors and stand-up paddle boarders will compete in the second annual Painkiller Cup on Jan. 25.
The 14-mile downwind team event was first introduced during last year’s weeklong HIHO windsurfing race, which has included stand-up paddling in recent years. However, organizer Andy Morrell has shelved the HIHO race and is now focusing solely on the one-day Painkiller Cup.
“Now that there is no more HIHO event, we are just going to make the Painkiller Cup into its own animal,” said Mr. Morrell. “I think the HIHO event we ran for more than 20 years is done.”
Mr. Spithill was encouraged to compete in this year’s Painkiller Cup by crewmember and friend Shannon Falcone of Antigua, who competed in last year’s paddleboard race.
Other top paddlers include Kai Lenny, the world’s number-one stand-up paddler, Chase Kosterlitz, the top paddler from the United States and last year’s Painkiller Cup winner, and Belar Diaz, the number one stand-up paddler from Spain.
“They are really into paddling,” Mr. Morrell said. “They are super athletes and paddling is part of their training.”
A welcome party for the America’s Cup sailors will be held on Jan. 23 at the Bitter End Yacht Club. The sailors will also make presentations at various yacht clubs during their visit to the BVI.
Aside from the challenge and idyllic location, competitors most likely have their eyes on the prizes. More than $11,000 will be shelled out to the top five teams, with first place taking home $5,000. There will also be a $750 cash prize for the team who reaches Guana Island first.
The last team who finishes the race will get their $250 entry fee refunded.
The 14-mile race starts at Trellis Bay, Beef Island and finishes at White Bay, Jost Van Dyke.
Six teams have already registered for the event. A team consists of three paddlers with a minimum one female. Only one paddler from the team is in the water at a time, while the other two competitors follow the race aboard a chase boat. Paddlers will have to rotate every 30 minutes.
For individual racers, there is the Mini-Painkiller Cup, a three-mile race that starts at Sandy Cay and finishes at White Bay, JVD. The start of that race will get under way once the fleet of Painkiller Cup competitors reach Sandy Cay. The $50 entry fee will include lunch, a hat and a race jersey.
When asked if the Painkiller Cup could become the biggest paddleboard event in the Caribbean, Mr. Morrell said, “I have never tried to run the biggest events, I have always tried to run the most interesting events. I want the Painkiller Cup to be a bucket list event. I want it to be a little different.”
For more information visit: www.go-hiho.com