The Fiji Times » Point of Origin: The Ocean Adventurer


This is the continuation of the story of Colin Philp, the man behind the mission, with his brother John Philp.

He was born on October 24, 1961, the eldest of three sons of Colin Ernest Philp and Ana Kafoisolomone Wainiqolo. His father had three wives in his lifetime and fathered a large family.

Colin Sr was an architect from Hobart, Tasmania and was a town planner in the 1950s.

“We were exposed to his thinking about the built environment and the wider world,” John said.

Their old man introduced his children and encouraged them to think about adult concepts, and with an interesting set of friends from all over the world, the Philp children had learning opportunities during bedtime conversations. dinner with the guests present.

Her mother was the eldest daughter of a large family in Vanuabalavu, Lau knew well and was devoted to her family and her role in it.

“She is particularly interested in her traditions, knows all of our oral history and has instilled those lessons in us.”

Colin grew up on water. The family lived on Draunibota Bay in Lami, and Saturdays were filled with activities on the water.

“If the swell was good, we were already at the Suva Lighthouse surf spot before the sun came up.

“We started surfing there around 1981, an exciting time for teenagers.”

Later in the day, they sailed at the Royal Suva Yacht Club, racing dinghies or Hobie Cats.

“There was plenty to do, swimming to Mosquito Island, camping on the islands across the bay, building treehouses and flying kites.”

Later, Colin would co-found the Fiji Outrigger Canoe Racing Association, bringing the traditions of Go to paddle to Fiji, even taking a team to the Moloka’i Hoe, the largest Go to world boating competition held annually in Hawaii.

School holidays were when sailing got serious, with their dad taking them on his yacht, Tauon trips to Lau, Kadavu, the Mamanucas and even as far as Australia on a few occasions.

“We sailed a lot. John said Colin, as a sailor, was sometimes gentle and a perfectionist, influenced, coached and mentored by their older brother Anthony Philp – from one of their father’s previous marriages. Anthony is an accomplished businessman and sailor himself, having imported the first Hobie Cats to Fiji in the late 70s, the first windsurfers in the early 80s and organized many international events along the way. It would have made no sense for Colin not to have participated in all the adventures he did.

“He had the seed of adventure in him, and he also had a mind of his own, stubborn as some might call it.”

John said Colin once broke into the newly opened yacht shop in Lami, where the Lami Oceania Wesley Church now stands, and told Anthony he was starting work there and leaving. school early to do so.

“He finally talked him out of it and Colin went back to finish high school.

“Colin certainly had his own idea of ​​how to do things, a family trait.”

John also said that after a disagreement between their father and Anthony, Colin packed his things and moved to Australia to live with his mother, but ultimately decided to return to Fiji as she was moving to Tonga within three months of her birth. arrival.

“I remember the time he came home all scratched up and told our dad he had just had an accident with his new motorcycle.

John said Colin bought a toy car, which was handy for chasing girls, windsurfing with his buddies, camping with their good friends David Watkins and Anton Lee, collecting bottles to raise money for everything project in progress at the time. “He had a good circle of friends at school, so he was obviously popular and a good friend.”

Colin tried his hand at a few businesses, opening the Wai Tui surf shop in Suva in the late 90s. Ahead of its time and in a very small market for the niche, but a cool hangout for surfers and anyone interested in water sports. Unfortunately, it was ransacked during the 2000 coup and the march and looting of Suva. “Ultimately, it probably went the way of many small businesses – not enough revenue and less than ideal gross margins.

“PFD Ltd, the lifejacket factory which he co-founded with his longtime friend Mike Towller, has been very successful and has contributed greatly to Fiji’s export economy exporting millions of dollars of products to Australia, and now employs 200 people.

“His last venture was Drua Marketing, a company dedicated to sustainable products like Simple Green biodegradable cleaning products, electric speedboats and reef-safe sunscreen.”

He ran Drua Marketing with his life partner Lee-Anne Lee. He said Colin had a legendary temper, but was too sweet and kind for business.

“His staff always joke about it, but they all loved him too because he cared about them. “He needed a partner to look at the books and get into that finer detail that a lot of people don’t.”

John said the two biggest influences in Colin’s life were his father and brother Anthony.

“Our father had successful architectural offices in Hobart and Launceston, Tasmania and Fiji.

“He developed his own hotels, and designed and built his own 90ft yacht to sail around the world.

“One of our cousins ​​in Tasmania told me recently that our father was part of a lobby group that eventually led to the government declaring the Freycinet Peninsula a national park on the east coast of Tasmania.

“His older brother who brought all sorts of innovations to Fiji, a very successful entrepreneur in many fields of endeavor, marina developer, sports administrator, community leader and elite sportsman who completed the circumnavigation of the globe on ‘Tau‘ that our father never had time to start.

He said Colin was the first baby Philp of this dynamic period that led to Fiji’s independence, receiving all the love and attention from his young mother, with all the buzz going on around him, must instilling enormous confidence in him.

“If you imagine Colin growing up, at the age of three, playing on the construction site of the Tradewinds Hotel (now the Novotel Lami) that his father took over in 1967, and certainly he didn’t want anything material, perhaps was a natural progression that an intelligent human with some empathy who was confident of his place within it could read the world around him and want to do something to make it better? met him, could all agree that he was indeed a gentleman.

“He liked to laugh and joke, especially in that teasing way that westerners find different from islanders.

“And he certainly never said no when someone asked for his free time and advice.

“A very gentle and compassionate and intelligent being who also had his human side, his flaws.

“As a brother, I only knew the soft side, I was never a victim of his temper.

“Only love and compassion.”

Like all who fly, he leaves behind a family – his accomplice Lee-Anne, his children Renee, Stephanie, Jason, Maria and Ryan, his grandchildren Cayel, Hayley, Leyla and Adonis, and his siblings Mike, Janne, Anthony, David and John – and looking at what he’s done with his life, the way he’s touched and inspired so many people, one can only hope the angels know what they’ve got or what awaits them.


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