This year at H2Oi (yes, that is an O not a zero) was my first year in attandance. With highschool in the past and college up until last year, it was near impossible for me to ever make the drive from Philly to Ocean City, Maryland for one of the biggest gatherings on the East Coast. My pictures didn’t turn out all that great, but I went down there to have a good time, not stress over coverage.
I dipped out of work around noon on Friday and hit the road with a couple of buddies en route to OCMD as well. While mixing in with other caravans on the way down, excitement was instantly building. This year, I saw a lot of drama (to say the least) with the event when it came to immature people and people without European vehicles. I myself drive a slammed Cadillac CTS-V, so fitting in down there was not exactly ideal. However, most of my weekend was spent hanging out on the strip with my friends and the car parked back at the hotel. I went down there for the experience and to see for myself what the hype of H2Oi was all about.
Friday night at around 7pm, we rolled into town and I was instantly overwhelmed by modified and lowering cars of all makes and models. Being that this was also my first time in OCMD, it made it a little tough to navigate on that first night with bumper to bumper traffic and thousands of people standing along Coast Highway. We met up with those that we were staying with, checked in, and went for a little cruise down the strip. There was an imediate feeling as if you were in an imaginary world where everyone was an enthusiast. Describing what it was really like is the hardest part about it.
After that initial cruise down the strip we parked the car, grabbed our Razor scooters (ScooterGang4Life) and headed on down to the tap house. From what I have seen, the Tap House on 45th street turns into the hub of all activity during the night time hours at H2Oi. When we got there on Friday night, that was easily confirmed. Hundreds of people flooded the parking lot and sidewalks as cars zipped by on the street. The constant chatter of “Do a Burnout!” and “Jonah Hill!” filled the area, from street level to the highest balconies across the street. After enjoying the evening and seeing some of the craziest builds I’ve ever seen we headed back to the hotel to call it a night….at 4am.
Rolling out of bed at 10am and hungry for breakfast led us down to Denny’s at the Gold Coast Mall. Awful. It was simply awful, but that’s besides the point. By 11am, the strip was jam packed from 112th all the way past 36th, where we were staying. The day time was definitely a more calm atmosphere that the after dark hours. We spent a good amount of time cruising the strip but traffic, no A/C in the V and 86* weather left us wanting to break out the scooters again and cruise around in a different fashion.
StanceCoalition hosted a small scale Misfit’s of H2Oi meet at 7pm on Saturday night, so after some all you can eat crabs at Higgins, we made our way up to the community park on 127th street where we met up with a bunch of fellow enthusiasts. Unfortunately, due to a G37 owner who decided to go tearing up the street, blow a stop sign, and continue to fly off toward the strip, the cops were called and the meet was broken up. We took some time to adjust the suspension on the CTS-V some more and lowered it some more. With that we cruised the strip some more only to find the large 5 car pile up including that yellow Corrado. This then rapidly turned into a massive burnout pit a block away while the OCPD was distracted. Afterwords we cruised until it was about that time to head on back to the Tap House. So much was happening in so little time it felt. It was similar to a casino experience. You stop looking at your clock because the world around you never slows down, next thing you know its 4:00 in the morning again and you find yourself slowly walking back to the hotel room.
Sunday morning we hit the road for PA again. If you read all of that, thank you. We met a lot of cool people down there this year and also hung out with some of our really good local friends. Yeah there may be a few bad apples that may sour the view of H2Oi to some, but all in all it is the gathering of a bunch of people with a common interest. I quote ‘LocalLou’ when he told me that “respect gets respect”. That’s it.
Photos & Words: Mike DeFusco