Sports Jamaica
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Footwear company rolls out surfing deal for Jamaica

Keisha Hill, Staff Reporter

The Jamaica Surfing Association (JSA) has attracted a sponsorship deal from footwear company IPATH in excess of $1 million dollars in the first year. The deal covers a two-year period.

IPATH will be releasing a JSA shoe in 2010 that will incorporate the JSA logo in its design.

The JSA will earn a percentage on royalties on sales of the shoe, in addition to cash, travel and product support.

"This is wonderful news for the JSA," said president, Billy Wilmot. "This is the kind of support that we need for the growth of Jamaica's surfing. It shows that our work of legitimising Jamaica as a surfing nation is paying off."

Wilmot stated that after participating in the World and Pan Am Surfing Games, the industry's top surf magazines sent crews to Jamaica and did articles on the Jamaican surfing scene.

"Potential sponsors started to notice us and the next thing we knew, we were getting calls from well-respected surfing-industry brands," he said.

The JSA also has a similar arrangement with INSIGHT clothing of Australia, which will be releasing JSA surfing shorts and a T-shirt line, which will benefit the JSA in the same way.

Surfing images

"The fabric has already been designed and we are awaiting the printing of the material. The fabric will be a collage of Jamaican surfing images," Wilmot said.

Since the JSA's inception in 1999, a number of companies have come on board, including INSIGHT clothing, QUASHI surfboards, XTRAK deck pads, MAGMA wax, BODY GLOVE wet suits, OAM surfing accessories, REEF Footwear, Red Bull, FREESTYLE watches and COPA Airlines.

The JSA also receives support from local companies, including the Sports Development Foundation, of the association's local contests and youth-development programmes.

MailPac Services facili-tates the shipping of team gear, equipment and materials from sponsors in the United States.

"We hope to continue growing from strength to strength," Wilmot said. "We already have individually sponsored surfers and we want this to increase in number.

"Individual surfers can earn a good salary if they can perform at the level and get their pictures in the major publications," said Wilmot. "When they can command media attention, they will attract even more sponsors, and that is one thing that a Jamaican surfer will always have in their favour."