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2012 Jamaica National Open Surf Champ Still Undecided With Only One Event Remaining!

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Icah Wilmot came away with the 1000 points on offer at Makka surfing beach on Saturday 8 December. Last year’s defending champion Icah Wilmot is in with a fighting chance. His latest win gave him 1000 points which pushed him past his elder brother Inilek into third place in the standings. Akeem Taylor and Shama Beckford, two under 18 surfers, still remain atop the standings in 1st and 2st place respectively after 2nd and 3rd place showings at Makka and with only the final event in the series remaining, less than 100 points separate the top 3 challengers.

The day started with the surf looking dismal at best but by 9:30am some waist high sets started coming through the lineup. The venue was prepped and waiting for the surfers from the north coast to arrive. The waves continued to improve as the morning wore on and by midday some respectable shoulder high waves were marching in. After a while the Bostonians rolled in and the event kicked off.

The first round saw five 4-man heats paddle out. With 2 eliminated in each the field was cut in half by the end of the round. All the top seeds made it through the first round and set up in the semifinal round for a shot at a spot in the final. Each of the 3 heats in round 2 met ever increasing wave size and the local surfers went for bigger and bigger moves to match the Caribbean’s offerings. It wouldn’t be easy as there were lots of challengers in round 2 and all were surfing at the top of their game.
Semi 1 saw Michael Panton, Akeem Taylor and Ronald Hastings facing off for 15 minutes. Between them they caught 16 waves in the low scoring affair which judges saw a 5 point ride as the highest reward able effort. None the less Michael and Akeem advanced to the final.

Semi 2 was between brothers Icah and Ivah Wilmot, Shama Beckford and Javaun Brown. The 4 surfers were able to catch 18 waves in the 15 minutes with scores a bit better than the heat before as wave conditions continued to improve allowing for the judges to throw 6.5 as the highest score. When all was said and done Icah snatched first spot with Shama in second and both advanced leaving Javaun and Ivah eliminated in 3rd and 4th.

The 3rd semi saw Inilek Wilmot, Ackeam Phillips and Dwayne Hall face off for their 15 minute encounter. They rode 19 waves in the improving conditions with the highest judges’ score being an 8.5 ride as the waves got even better. At the end of the heat Inilek and Ackeam advanced to the final.

There was a free surf session before the final which gave the other surfers on hand a chance to get their fins into some of the best waves seen all day as the judges got a much deserved break. But the time was ticking by and the job had to be done so after a 20 minute break all was ready for the 20 minute final.

It would be a six man final with the best Jamaican surfers of the day all looking to step up in the ranking. The horn sounded and it was on! Twenty three waves were surfed between them. The standard of surfing was the highest of the day with the best sets arrived on queue. Everyone had 6.5 to 7.5 waves in their scores and no one had broken free of the others. The clock was waiting on no man and as time wound down there was a lull in the sets. Then with about 3 minutes to go the sea lit up with back to back waves which saw the best exchanges of the day taking place with judges dropping 8’s and 8.5’s.

When the final horn sounded and the scoes were tallied Icah took the win, Shama Beckford second, Akeem Taylor third, Ackeam Phillips fourth, Inilek Wilmot fifth and Michael Panton sixth.

The final event of the series is scheduled for series leader Akeem Taylor’s home break Boston Bay on the 22nd of December. The tricky waves of the renowned north coast venue will no doubt give him a definite advantage and make for a thrilling series finale! Below are the national open standings after 4 of 5 events.

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Written by jamarch