If you’re looking for the most coveted event in the windsurfing world – this is it. The Aloha Classic is the greatests windsurfing competition out there, and one of the most challenging water sport events in the world. The aloha classic is held annually in Hawaii, where riders from all over the world gather at Ho’okipa beach. The event is held from mid october to mid november – these are the times when both the wind and the wave conditions present the best opportunities to see who is on top of their game.
The Aloha Classic had many names and many categories of events over the years. The first official event happened in 1984. From the beginning it had competitions for men and women and up to this day the mens and womens competitions are held together in the same event. Up to 1987 the winners of the competition were all Americans, with 1988 being the year when the event went truly international, with Britt Dunkerbeck getting first place for slalom in the women’s competition, and Bjorn Dunkerbeck coming first in the same discipline in men’s competition. Both athletes were from Spain.
The Aloha Classic changed over the years in terms of its format. Initially the organizers strived to make the Aloha Classic worthy of hosting the PWA Windsurfing World Cup. For that, the event had to have three windsurfing disciplines held – slalom, course racing and wave riding. Each discipline is difficult in it’s own way, but for the Aloha Classic the greatest difficulty was commercialisation and sponsorship. The number and generosity of sponsors determined whether or not all of the events would be held, and sometimes the money fell short of the enthusiasm. Which meant that the Aloha Classic didn’t always give out the most desirable trophies. The issue was making sure that the discipline provided the right amount of spectator enjoyment in order to gain viewership. Disciplines like course racing were challenging in that regard, as it usually involved a course at some distance away from shore, away from the cameras and the live audience. Slalom helped with that somewhat, being a discipline about straightforward speed, and closer to land. Eventually that was forfeited as well. The remaining discipline, wave riding, is the Aloha Classic staple since 2010. This comes as no surprise, as the spectacularness of the ridership is what earned athletes points. While the scoring system does have it’s nuances, the long and short of it is – you need to show off better than anyone else. Tackle the biggest wave, at the highest speed, with the tallest jump and the most clever trick maneuver – and the trophy is yours. While it may sound a bit silly, it’s difficult to imagine coming up with a greater challenge for a windsurfer. That is why, despite not having world cup status for a while now, the Aloha Classic is well respected all around the world, gathering large crowds and the strongest windsurfing titans from all around the world.