Jamaican Surfers gear up for start of 2016 contest season

On March 26th at Copacabana, Bull Bay, Jamaica’s top surfers will start campaigning for the National Open Surfing title. The event is the first of the Jamaica Surfing Association (JSA) five event National Open Series which crowns Jamaica’s national surfing champion at the end of each year.

Due to budget constraints the surfing association was not able to run the national series in 2015. The defending champion from 2014 is Elishama Beckford. Beckford, who was also Makka Pro Open and Junior Champion in 2014 and runner up at Makka Pro 2015 to Icah Wilmot, who is off the island, is the strong favorite coming into the first event of the series. However he is expected to face stiff competition from the likes of Ivah Wilmot, who finished 2014 ranked number 2 in Jamaica, and other top tier surfers such as Inilek Wilmot, Luke Williams and Garren Pryce. Boston Bay in Portland is expected to be represented by their leading surfers such as Shane Simmonds, past Junior Champion at Makka Pro and one of the Caribbean’s best talents, and other top tier surfers such as Jason Pusey, Michael Panton, Ackeem Taylor and Javaun Brown who have all represented the country at international events.

The following four events in the series will be held at different surfing beaches in St Andrew, St Thomas and Portland. To be added to the 16 year tradition of National Surfing Champions, surfers will have to prove their prowess in a range of surfing conditions and stand out among a field of exceptional talent.