Your Premier Jamaican Sports Portal
Wilmot, Beckford glide away with series
Keisha Hill, Staff Reporter
Spectacular performances, including world-class manoeuvres, were the major highlights of the fifth and final event of the Jamaica Surfing Association's (JSA) National Open Surfing Championship Series, held at Boston Beach in Portland, last Saturday.
Less than 300 points separated the top two male competitors and in the women's division, the top two were divided by 60 points, as Inilek Wilmot and Elim Beckford emerged national male and female champions, respectively.
Inilek, who has been in immaculate form all year, finished the five-meet series with two wins, a second, a third and a fourth to amass 4,260 points out of a possible 5,000 and the men's national title.
Elim, who finished with two wins, two seconds and a fourth, collected 4,390 of the 5,000 points on offer to secure the women's national championship title.
Esther Beckford, Elim's sister, took female honours in Saturday's competition, while the men's segment was won by Shane Simmonds.
The first round of competition saw 27 surfers in five heats take to the water. Standout performances were displayed by Eugene Miller, Tristan English, Drum Drum-mond, Luke Williams, Icah Wilmot, Shane Simmons and 12-year-old Ackeam Taylor.
There were major upsets in the second round as first round stand-outs Williams, Drummond and Miller did not advance, while Michael Panton, Omar Jacks and Fabian Wilson barely managed to advance to the third round.
In the first semi-final, Icah Wilmot and English moved on to the final, followed by Inilek Wilmot, while Michael Panton and Lloyd Jacks were eliminated.
In the second semi-final, Shane Simmons continued his winning streak, taking his third consecutive heat and securing his spot in the final.
Ackeam Phillips also surfed well and qualified for the final from this heat, but Eneson Lightbourn and Fabian Wilson failed to advance.
In the men's final, Tristan English and Icah Wilmot rode the most waves in an attempt to achieve two solid scores.
Ackeam Phillips started the heat strongly and after the first exchange of rides he was in a good position ahead of the pack.
However, he failed to maintain the momentum in the closing minutes and his performance earned him third place.
Inilek Wilmot also scored good rides throughout the heat.
However, in the final minutes, Shane Simmons caught a lovely wave and performed a series of well-executed manoeuvres, including a tube ride. He was rewarded with the highest score of the final, finishing in first place ahead of Inilek.
In the women's final, Esther Beckford started with a ride that was to be the highest score of the final. She moved fast and fluid, performing four good manoeuvres to complete her ride which left her competitors, Elim and Imani, to play catch-up.