John John Florence 

California’s Chris Ward (USA) took advantage of clean eight to 10-foot conditions at Pipeline to top score on Day 1 of the Billabong Pipeline Masters. Ward made two critical, late- barrels to amass a near perfect heat total of 19.90 out of 20.00 in Round 2.

“It isn’t the biggest day and it isn’t really that scary out there, it’s just pristine and there are pretty good ones out there,” Ward said. “You just have to luck out and get in the right position to get them. I was with both of those waves and those were two of the biggest sets in our heat. I was lucky to get under them and I was really happy.”

Currently rated 24th on the 2008 ASP World Tour, Ward needs to make heats to ensure his spot for next year’s tour. His heat win today will see him into Round 3 where the Top 16 seeded surfers on the ASP World Tour will make their 2008 Billabong Pipeline Masters debuts.

Round 1 and the first half of Round 2 were completed today. The first two rounds of the event featured low to mid range seeded ASP World Tour surfers, wildcards and replacement surfers.

Sixteen-year-old John John Florence (HAW) took full advantage of his last minute berth into the event to flare at his home break and eliminate ASP World Tour surfer Jay Thompson’s (AUS) hopes of requalifying for the 2009 tour. Florence found his way into the main event this morning when replacement surfer Reef Macintosh (HAW) was unable to fill in for injured Top 45 surfer Ben Bourgeios (USA).

"I woke up this morning and they said, ’You might get in,’ and I was like, ’Really? Sick!’” Florence said. “I got in in Reef’s spot and I am so stoked."

Florence, who has been charging Pipeline since he was 8-years-old, had his first shot at competing in the Pipeline Masters in 2005. At 13, the North Shore local surfed the trials but did not make it into the main event. He will meet World No. 16 Kieren Perrow (AUS) in Heat 9 of Round 2 which will likely run tomorrow morning at 8.

"I surfed in the Pipeline Masters trials when I was very little but it wasn’t really that good because the waves were really big and weird,” Florence said. “So I am so stoked to be surfing out here when it is so perfect with four other guys out. There were some fun waves out there today."

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ISA Scholarship Program 

The International Surfing Association (ISA) is proud to announce that, in addition to cash component to every beneficiary of the ISA Scholarship, Global Surf Industries (GSI) will be donating a surfboard to each 2009 recipient.

This support and contribution from GSI to the ISA Scholarship Program is greatly appreciated, most certainly by our young surfers.

The ISA has already secured over USD20,000 in funding for the 2009 Scholarship Program.

This funding has been specifically allocated to junior surfers from around the world to offer the underprivileged, young surfers an opportunity to support and advance the success of their academic and surfing careers.

Every dollar received by the donors, is distributed to the recipients, without any administrations costs deducted by the ISA.
 
Helping them is part of our effort for a better surfing future; it would be inexcusable to deny them of this unique opportunity.

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Icah Wilmot 

Top Jamaican surfer Icah Wilmot won the 4th event of the 5 event JSA National Open Series held at Lighthouse surfing beach at Plumb Point on the Palisadoes peninsula on Saturday 6 December. In so doing Icah secured the 1000 points on offer to amass an unassailable 3860 points in the series with only 1 event remaining.

The day was picture perfect with 4 foot surf breaking over the world famous reef. The event attracted 25 entrants in the Open division including 2 Australians and an American. The Women’s division had 5 contestants registered to compete. The first round consisted of 4 heats from which the top 13 advanced to round 2. Three heats then narrowed the field to the top 7 who went into the semi-final round to compete for a spot in the final.

Semi 1 saw Icah Wilmot, Luke Williams and Joel Lawrence facing off for 2 of the 4 available berths in the final. The horn sounded and the eat was on in earnest. 16 waves were ridden in the 15 minute time limit but it was enough time for Icah and Luke to put daylight between themselves and Joel.

Semi 2  had Inilek Wilmot pitted against Ackeam Phillips, Omar Jacks and Garren Pryce. The 4 surfers rode 26 waves between them with Ackeam getting an amazing 10 waves from which the judges would select his top 2. When the clock ticked out, Icah and Ackeam squeaked through to the final.

The grand face off was up next with undoubtedly Jamaica’s top surfers in the water for the 20 minute final. Icah Wilmot, his brother Inilek, National under 18 champ Ackeam and National open team member Luke were squaring off with 1000 points on board for the winner. With Luke and Icah being separated in the ranking by only 400 points it was going to be exciting.

The surfers rode 33 waves among them with Inilek nabbing his full quota of 10 from which the judges pick the highest scoring 2. Ackeam was blowing up, landing areal manoeuvres and pushing the open competitors to their limits. Luke caught an immaculate wave and rode it way down the beach putting the pressure on the rest of the competitors. Icah answered in fine style grabbing a wave and displaying a plethora of moves to the delight of the crowd on the beach.

The competition was fierce and the surfing was world class standard. At one stage judges even had to enforce an interference call on Inilek and Luke which left the door wide open for Icah to sail out into the lead and eventually take the win and the event.

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