Windsurfers start the first race of the six-day Highland Spring HIHO event on Monday at Virgin Gorda’s North Sound. Photo: TODD VANSICKLE

The annual Highland Spring HIHO windsurfing and stand-up paddleboard event got under way on Monday at Virgin Gorda’s North Sound.

Andy Morrell has been organising the event for the past 19 years. In the 1980s, he used to compete in the weeklong race, which takes windsurfers around the territory.

Last year Mr. Morrell added stand-up paddleboarding, which has proven to be a success. In fact, the 36 paddleboarders outnumber the 24 windsurfers competing in this year’s event.

“I really like having stand-up paddling,” Mr. Morrell said. “It really opens up the event. [However,] I am not giving up on windsurfing.”

The event has attracted top athletes from around the world, including South Africa, France, United Kingdom, Brazil, United States, Canada and the Caribbean.

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Top paddleboarder Slater Trout and number-one-ranked formula windsurfer Wilhelm Schurmann are also taking part in the event.

“It’s a great week; it’s a lot of fun,” Mr. Morrell said. “We are very serious about the racing, but we’re equally serious about the parties.”

See the June 30, 2011 issue for full coverage.