A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
Icah Wilmot Takes 2008 National Open
In so doing, Icah secured the 1000 points on offer to amass an unassailable 3860 points in the series with only one event remaining.
The day was picture perfect with four foot surf breaking over the world famous reef. The event attracted 25 entrants in the Open division including two Australians and an American.
The Women’s division had five contestants registered to compete.
The first round consisted of four heats from which the top 13 advanced to round two. Three heats then narrowed the field to the top seven who went into the semi-final round to compete for a spot in the final.
Semi 1 saw Icah Wilmot, Luke Williams and Joel Lawrence facing off for two of the four available berths in the final. The horn sounded and the eat was on in earnest.
16 waves were ridden in the 15-minute time limit but it was enough time for Icah and Luke to put daylight between themselves and Joel.
Semi 2 had Inilek Wilmot pitted against Ackeam Phillips, Omar Jacks and Garren Pryce. The four surfers rode 26 waves between them with Ackeam getting an amazing 10 waves from which the judges would select his top two.
When the clock ticked out, Icah and Ackeam squeaked through to the final. The grand face off was up next with undoubtedly Jamaica’s top surfers in the water for the 20-minute final.
Icah Wilmot, his brother Inilek, National under 18 champ Ackeam and National open team member Luke were squaring off with 1,000 points on board for the winner. With Luke and Icah being separated in the ranking by only 400 points it was going to be exciting.
The surfers rode 33 waves among them with Inilek nabbing his full quota of 10 from which the judges pick the highest scoring two. Ackeam was blowing up, landing areal manoeuvres and pushing the open competitors to their limits.
Luke caught an immaculate wave and rode it way down the beach putting the pressure on the rest of the competitors. Icah answered in fine style grabbing a wave and displaying a plethora of moves to the delight of the crowd on the beach.
The competition was fierce and the surfing was world class standard. At one stage judges even had to enforce an interference call on Inilek and Luke which left the door wide open for Icah to sail out into the lead and eventually take the win and the event.
The final horn sounded and it was up to the judges to sort things out. When the spray settled and the results were announced, Icah Wilmot paddled away with the top spot and the 1000 points which gave him an unassailable total of 3860 from four events and the championship series title for 2008.The Ladies also had their time in the spotlight. With the waves some of the best of the day, Raine Jackson, Jules, Imani Wilmot, Elim Beckford and Danielle Ohayon paddled out. They rode 30 waves in the 20 minute final with the two Australian girls dominating the waves.
Raine showed her class with Jules nipping at her heals. Imani put up a strong challenge but it was not enough. Elim and Danielle just couldn’t find the right wave necessary to score the needed points to come into contention. When the heat ended Rain was in first, Julia in second, Imani third, Elim fourth and Danielle fifth.
The standard of surfing has improved remarkably over the past two-three. I feel very proud of the strides we have made in the sport” said JSA President Billy Wilmot.
“We now have sponsored surfers from Jamaica making inroads in this very competitive sport. I have always had the confidence that we can do it… and we will!”
The next and final event of the 2008 National Open Surf Championship series will be held at Boston Beach in Portland on December 20 beginning at 10 a.m.