The swell was pumping in overhead sets in the glassy conditions and the surfers were chewing at the bit for a chance to show their worth.
The semifinal round was a scorcher. The first heat had Icah Wilmot, Michael Panton, Inilek Wilmot, Ronald Hastings, Ivah Wilmot and Jamoy Hall paddling out. 19 waves were ridden. Michael opened up the heat strongly and held the momentum for most of the 20 minutes.
Icah and Inilek were struggling to find waves and the result was beginning to look very interesting. Ivah took off on a wave and had a bad fall forcing him to with draw from the heat and settling for 11th place leaving the other 5 surfers to duke it out.
By the final horn the judges had Icah with the lead followed closely by Michael and Inilek for the other 2 spots in the final. Young Ronald finished 4th in the heat for equal 7th place points and Jamoy 5th for equal 9th place points.
The second semifinal was a 5 surfer affair between Garren, Ackeam, Shane, Shama and Akeem. 22 waves were ridden. Garren had his best heat of the contest as he shredded the Lighthouse lefts with authority. Ackeam offered the most competition but finished in second.
Shane got a brilliant wave in the opening seconds of the heat but struggled to find a back-up score and managed to hold on to 3rd and the remaining spot in the final.
It all came down to the final. The on shore wind had come up and was howling as Jamaica’s top 6 competitive surfers Shane, Icah, Inilek, Ackeam, Garren and Michael faced off for the last time in the event. 29 waves were caught with high scores difficult to come by in the breezy conditions. Shane started the heat strongly and by his third wave had a commanding lead.
Defending national champ was floundering and couldn’t seem to find a wave to give him a chance and was desperately searching. Inilek sat patiently and found 2 waves out of his 3 that made a statement. Aerial specialist Ackeam was trying but couldn’t land any of his attempts and had to depend on good old fashioned ripping to get 2 scores.
Garren, like Icah, was searching for a wave or two but was getting skunked while Michael couldn’t seem to find his groove. As the heat wound down Icah got 2 quick ones and moved up the standings and at the horn was able to take second behind Boston Bay’s Shane Simmonds who walked away with the 1000 points for the win.
The next event of the JSA 2012 NOS will be held on Saturday 11th February at Peenie Wally surf beach, Buff Bay, Portland.
Final results of Round #1 of the 2012 Jamaican National Open Series:
1st - Shane Simmonds
2nd - Icah Wilmot
3rd - Inilek Wilmot
4th - Ackeam Phillips
5th - Garren Pryce