Black Immigrant Daily News
Paddleboarders flocked to the Virgin Islands on Saturday to participate in the 11th annual Painkiller Cup, 11th annual Painkiller Cup, which spanned three islands.
It was the first time since the pandemic hit that the event saw such varied participation from neighbouring islands including St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix.
“There were a few people that flew in from Florida, California and Massachusetts,” said organiser Andy Morrell.
Seven three-person teams started in Trellis Bay and participated in a relay race to White Bay, Jost Van Dyke. Last year, only five teams participated in the long race.
“I think that we had a good turnout in the long race. I think people just couldn’t get into the BVI last year,” Mr. Morrell said.
“A couple of teams couldn’t come last year just because it was hard to come in. I’m glad the BVI is fully open now.”
That was especially true for the winning team, “Team Bohlke,” a group from St. Croix and Florida.
Bill Craft, Isabel Picard, and Jeramie Vaine have competed in the Painkiller Cup at least eight times, but the pandemic kept them away from the territory.
“We love coming here to the VI, and it’s always fun being with friends and in this spot, so we love it,” Ms. Picard said.
The three plan to return next year and compete again.
Mr. Craft congratulated Mr. Morrell on hosting the event and spoke more about the racing that day.
“There were some bumps out there and we had some rain and made some rainbows,” he said. “It’s just a beautiful day in the islands.”
Dozens of paddleboarders line up on Sandy Cay with their boards, waiting for the horn to start their race. (Photo: ZARRIN TASNIM AHMED)
Mr. Craft wasn’t alone in the challenges that his team faced.
Sam Morrell, winner of the shorter race from Sandy Cay to JVD, was also up against difficult water conditions. Nevertheless, he managed to pull ahead of his father Andy, who took second place among the 34 paddlers competing in the shorter race.
Despite choppy water movement, weather conditions were good overall and the race went smoothly, according to the elder Morrell.
“It was a really fast race for the guys in the team race,” he added. “So the first two relay teams were fast because they had the wind at their back in the first segment.”
Mr. Morrell has hosted major windsurfing and kitesurfing events for decades and now runs the Painkiller Cup annually.
“We just run this very casually and it’s a simple event, but it’s very fun,” he said. “We enjoy putting on a fun event. We rustle up the money for the prize money and our business contributes significantly, and that’s why I enjoy it. I have plenty to do, so it’s nice to do something easy and that the people enjoy.”
A portion of the proceeds from the event always goes towards the Family Support Network, Mr. Morrell added.
Andy Morrell, organiser of the race, participated this year and placed second in the shorter race. (Photo: ZARRIN TASNIM AHMED)