The Lighthouse finalists: Inilek, Luke, Icah and Shama

The first event of the Jamaica Surfing Association’s 2010 National Open Series kicked off at the Lighthouse surfing beach along the Port Royal Main Road on Saturday 16 of January. Top Jamaican surfer Inilek Wilmot, Brother of 2009 National Open Champ Icah Wilmot, walked away with the 1000 points on offer for the win and now leads the points race in the five event series which climaxes in December.

The waves were a foot overhead with a stiff on shore breeze that set up a current running through the line up making conditions very challenging for the fourteen competitors who registered to compete.

The first round saw the lighter breeze and better waves. Heats of four surfers went out for 15 minutes. Judges were looking for demonstrations of speed, power and control with manoeuvres executed in the critical sections of the breaking wave to award maximum points. The standard of surfing was high and the top seeds advanced without difficulty.

The semi-final round saw the level of surfing go up a notch. The first heat was a matchup between Luke Williams, Icah Wilmot Ackeam Phillips and Michael Panton. The surfers caught 15 waves between them. Luke surfed strongly and impressed the judges who unanimously gave him first and a spot in the final. Icah and Ackeam were in a tit for tat struggle for the other spot in the final and the judges split decision gave to Icah. After his strong showing in the first round Michael could not find the better waves and finished fourth.

Semi final 2 was a a match up between youth and experience Thirteen year olds Shama Beckford and Akeem Taylor faced off against Inilek Wilmot and Eneson Lightbourn. Eighteen waves were ridden and the judges had their work cut out for them. Shama rode five waves and racked up a heavy 2-wave total Inilek waited for the wave to shine on and caught three. Eneson fired back with five waves of his own but they were only good enough for third. Akeem caught five and was touch and go with Eneson but when the scores were tallied Shama secured first and a spot in the final whit Inilek getting second and the other final spot. Eneson took third and Akeem fourth.

The final was a rip roaring affair. Shama, Icah Luke and Inilek paddled out in very challenging conditions. They had 20 minutes to impress the judges with their best 2 rides. The horn sounded and the final was on.

The judges witnessed 20 scoring rides by the surfers from which 0only the top eight would matter. Surfers were finding it hard to find longer rides and were going for impressive big first moves and there was less than a point separating the field at one stage.

As the clock ticked Inilek snagged a connecting wave that stood up and took him all the way down the beach providing an open face on which he unloaded a string of high scouring turns which gave him a distinct edge over the rest of the field.

Luke was exploding off the top on the short rights he was finding and even landed a small aerial.

Icah had a strong run to the final but seemed to run out of steam and was not finding the better waves and struggled to finish third. Young Shama started the heat strongly with a high scoring wave but couldn’t find a second to back it up and had to settle for a very respectable fourth.

Here are the official standings after the first event of the five event JSA 2010 National Open Series:

1Inilek Wilmot
2Luke Williams
3Icah Wilmot
4Shama Beckford
5Ackeam Phillips
5Eneson Lightbourn
7Michael Panton
7Akeem Taylor
9Oshane Usher
9Garren Pryce
9Armani Green
9Ronald Hastings
13Conrad Smith
13Ivah Wilmot