Hiko Sport is family owned and run company from the Czech Republic. Ivan and Marcela Hilgert were both professional canoe slalom athletes who brought their passion for paddling into building what is now known as Hiko. 

It all started because one couldn’t get quality paddling equipment in Czech. “I asked my friend who had a company manufacturing life jackets in the U.S. to send me the material and I will try to put it together here.” Marcela Hilgertová remembers the birth of the HIKO. “After dinner we put the kids to sleep, took down the table cloth underneath which we marked lengths of straps and rubber cords and together with my husband we worked late nights,” Marcela describes the beginnings with a sewing machine in an apartment in Prague. Because the number of orders was increasing and the foam for life jackets was taking more and more space, they rented two rooms in a university’s dormitory. “And that is how it went on. Every time we ran out of space we had to move to a bigger place.”Marcela summarizes the strategy. 

The year was 1990 when Ivan and Marcela Hilgert started their business. The roots of their relationship to paddling go much deeper however...