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Shane Simmons / Esther Beckford Take Final National Open At Boston Bay – Jamaica

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Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 31 December, 2007 : – – The fifth and final event of the Jamaica Surfing Association’s 2007 National Open Surfing Championship Series was held at Jamaica’s first Beach of Surfing, Boston Bay in Portland on Saturday December 29th.

The event was a thriller. With 1000 points on offer for the win it was a nail biting finish as less than 300 points separated the top two male competitors and in the women’s division the top two ladies were separated by a mere sixty points. The action began at 10:00am with Jamaica’s top surfers competing for National honours.

With the surf reaching 5’-6’, the advantage was with the local surfers who knew the idiosyncrasies of the famous North Coast Break, but from the warm up session it was clear that the south coast surfers were not going to stand idly by and let them have their way.

Men’s early rounds

The first round of competition saw 27 surfers in 5 heats take to the water. The irregular shape of the reef at Boston Bay created somewhat unpredictable conditions, keeping both surfers and spectators on their toes. There were many exciting moments and near upsets throughout the round. Standout performances were put on display by Eugene Miller, Tristan English, Drum Drummond, Luke Williams, Icah Wilmot, Shane Simmons, and 12 year old Ackeam Taylor (who did not advance but surfed impressively).

The second round was the venue for the big upsets. Some surfers such as Michael Panton, Omar Jacks, and Fabian Wilson who just managed to advance through the first round pushed forward to the third round. On the other hand First round standouts Luke Williams, Drum Drummond and Eugene miller did not advance. Going into the semi-finals it was apparent that there was little room for predictions.

Men’s Semis

In the first semi-final, Icah Wilmot and Tristan English used good wave selection and strong surfing to advance to the final, followed by Inilek Wilmot. Michael Panton and Lloyd Jacks ended their run in this heat. In the second semi-final, Shane Simmons continued his winning streak, taking his 3rd consecutive heat and securing his spot in the final. Ackeam Phillips also surfed well and qualified for the final from this heat. Eneson Lightbourn and Fabian Wilson failed to advance from the second semi-final heat.

There was a sense that the five surfers remaining in the competition at this point were survivors of the tricky conditions and the threat of other talented surfers. By this time they were well aware of the importance of a good heat strategy at this venue, and the ever present risk of bad luck.

Men’s Final

Tristan English couldn’t seem to find any of the good waves that came through and so finished in 5th place. Icah Wilmot rode the most waves in the heat in an attempt to achieve two solid scores. He too however did not get his hands on any of the best waves that passed through and finished in fourth. Ackeam Phillips started the heat strongly, after the first exchange of rides he was in a good position ahead of the pack. He however couldn’t find another solid score until his last ride in the closing minutes.

His performance earned him third position. Inilek Wilmot’s seemed to have the best heat strategy, as he was scoring good rides throughout the heat. However, in the final minutes of the heat Shane Simmons caught a lovely wave and performed a series of well executed manoeuvres, including a tube ride. He was rewarded the highest score of the final, finishing in first place ahead of Inilek.

Shane’s win was celebrated by all the Boston Bay local surfers. He was greeted with applause and cheering when he returned to the beach. It was his first win of the series, at the final event, and in front of his home crowd. Congratulations Shane Simmons.
The Ladies Final

In the women’s final, Esther Beckford started with a ride that was to be the highest score of the final. She was moving fast and fluid, performing 4 good manoeuvres to complete her ride. For the rest of the heat the other girls were playing catch up. Imani Wilmot didn’t get the waves she needed to give her enough scoring potential to make a real bid for the number one position and finished in third.

Elim Beckford had some good rides towards the end of the heat, but they were not good enough to take first position. It was Esther Beckford who did not ride many waves for the heat, but was able to get another nice ride to back up her first score and win the women’s division.

Place Open men NOS 5
1 Shane Simmons 1000
2 Inilek Wilmot 860
3 Ackeam Phillips 730
4 Icah Wilmot 670
5 Tristan English 610
6 Eneson Lightbourn 583
=7 Michael Panton 555
Fabian Wilson 555
9 Lloyd Jacks 500
=10 Drum Drummond 488
Luke Williams 488
Eugene Miller 488
=13 Jason Pusey 450
Dwayne Tracey 450
Dwight Robberts 450
=16 Conrad Smith 413
Gawayne Gallimore 413
Gabre Beckford 413
Ackeam Taylor 413
Jamoy Hall 413
=21 Warren Lewis 380
Garren Pryce 380
Sanjae Lewis 380
Richard Curtis 380
Errol Cousins 380
=26 Shama Beckford 355
Leopold Bignall 355

Place Open women NOS5
1 Esther Beckford 1000
2 Elim Beckford 860
3 Imani Wilmot 730



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Written by Staff Writer