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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Dean Bowen 

Dean Bowen served notice today that he could well be the next emerging young  Australian surfing star with an incredible display of powered precision surfing as he demolished the field to win the Australian under 18 Junior Surfing Title.

Throughout the event Bowen was the surfer to beat and he left nothing to chance in the final opening with an excellent 8.65, backing it up immediately with another excellent 8.75 and then at the half way point of the final sealing the deal with an outstanding 9.5 ride!

“ I have absolutely loved the waves here all week at Margaret River and it’s just so great to win an Australian Junior Title – Past winners like Parko (Joel Parkinson) and Tom Carroll went on to become legends of the sport and to win this event is really special” said an ecstatic Bowen after his win.

“It gets me into the world junior titles in Ecuador next year and I’m so looking forward to that event – To represent Australia there will be great and already I’m confident we can win – Australia has the best surfers as far as I’m concerned and we’ll be going there to show that to the world!”

Bowen’s massive tally of 18.25 out of a possible 20 left all his rivals chasing a combination of scores to try and catch him with Queensland’s Tim McDonald coming in 2nd on 14.25 followed by fellow south coast NSW surfer Jordi Watson on 13.5 and South Australia’s Khai Adams in 4th place on 9.75.

Bowen also complimented his big win today by scoring the events only perfect 10 point ride in his semi final and most who witnessed his performance this week are in no doubt the powerful and likeable goofy foot surfer has a big and immediate future in the sport along with a resemblance in style and power to Australia’s most recent champion goofy footer (right foot forward) surfer Mark Occhilupo!

The girls under 18 final was a far closer battle today. The lead see sawed throughout between the three dominant NSW girls and in the end Paige Haggerston (Coal Point/NSW/Newcastle) and Sth Coast NSW surfer Kirby Wright finished tied in first place on 14.10 with Haggerston getting the result on a countback due to a highest scoring ride of 7.35 to Wright’s 7.25.

“ I can’t belive I’ve won such a close final!” said Haggerston “I was struggling in last place half way through the final but then found a really good wave and put myself in contention – I just searched hard for a decent ride in the final 5 minutes and when I got one I knew I had to get another good score to defeat Kirby and somehow I’ve made it – It’s the best feeling!”

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Tyler Wright

Tyler Wright’s (NSW/Sth Coast/Culburra) amazing year continued today when she took out the Australian under 16 Girls Junior Title at Margaret River in Western Australia.

Wright, 14 years of age, earlier this year shocked the surfing world by becoming the youngest surfer to ever win an ASP World Tour event and while she was always expected to win this event today, no one would have predicted it would be by the absolute narrowest of margins of three hundredths of a point (0.03) or such a hard fought final for her to win.

Wright opened with a reasonably strong 5.75 ride early in the final to be in the lead but then made a very uncharacteristic error half way through when she was scored an interference over local West Australian surfer Mikalea Greene by taking off on the outside of Greene and affecting her scoring potential.

The interference penalty meant that Wright had her second scoring ride halved and her competitors seized the opportunity to exploit her weakness.

Mikalea Greene quickly found a strong 6 point ride to take the lead from Wright and with just minutes remaining in the final it looked like Wright was gone but she remained cool in the crisis, found a decent wave and was able to score the required 6.17 to snatch back the lead and take the victory.

“ That was a hard final to win, harder than the ASP event in Sydney a few months ago!” exclaimed Wright after her win.

“ I was a little too aggressive early in the final and that forced me to interfere but I always knew that I could still win despite the penalty. I was getting frustrated toward the end when I couldn’t find a decent wave but finally that right wave came to me and I managed to just get the score – it was a hard fought win.”

Wright went on to say “ The year has been amazing and to finish with an Australian Junior Title is very special – I’ll head off to Hawaii in a couple of days and start focusing and training hard for the ASP World Junior Titles in Sydney early next January – that’s my next goal”.

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