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.

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God Went Surfing With The Devil

Since the year 2000, over 4,300 Palestinian and 1,000 Israeli lives have been claimed by the escalating conflict in the region. The situation grew markedly worse in 2006, when Israel responded to the election of Hamas by sealing off the borders, ending the free-flow of people and goods. Palestinian militants reacted to the siege by targeting Israel's civilian population with deadly rocket strikes; the Israeli Army countered with air strikes, targeting militants but often claiming the lives of innocent residents.

In 2007 it emerged that a small group of young men were surfing in Gaza, sharing battered surfboards they had attained prior to the siege. Word traveled north to Israel, and that same year, a mixed group of Israelis and Americans delivered a dozen boards to their Palestinian counterparts.

In the spring of 2008, they would attempt to deliver another 23 surfboards into Gaza. By this time the situation in Gaza had deteriorated further, the border still sealed, with military activity a near daily occurrence.

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Chris Waring

Local surfer Chris Waring (Seal Beach, CA), 22, won the Katin Pro-Am Team Challenge presented by Primo, an ASP Specialty Event, in an action packed final to assist in claiming the win for team Reef today in solid four-to-six foot (2 metre) surf at North Huntington Beach Pier.

The Katin Pro-Am Team Challenge not only awards the individual winner, but also crowns the best overall performance put together by the four-man teams.

Waring battled back to claim his first Katin Pro-Am Team Challenge victory after local talent Brad Ettinger (Huntington Beach, CA), 25, posted the event’s only perfect 10-point ride with a lengthy barrel into the pier. Waring found a barrel of his own to claim a 9.53 out of 10, and quickly followed up with a 6.50 to overtake the goofy-footer, holding on for the win despite a valiant effort by Ettinger to bounce back.

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