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Surfing film to reflect positive view of Jamaica
Keisha Hill, Staff Reporter
Surfing in Jamaica will soon hit the big screen.
A docudrama based on the development of the sport in Jamaica is scheduled for release in the Caribbean in mid-June.
The 76-minute feature length film dubbed Surf Rasta combines surfing and skateboarding scenes highlighting the journey of Anthony 'Billy' Wilmot, and sons Inilek, Icah and Ishack in relation to the emergence and continuation of the sport in Jamaica.
The film took five years to be completed and has a similar storyline to the Jamaican movie Cool Runnings. It sees the surfing team fulfilling their dreams to compete in the World Surfing Games in Ecuador.
Director Rick Elgood said he was motivated to produce the docudrama while filming a scene from the movie One Love. He said while at the Norman Manley International Airport, he came across the team on their arrival back to the island from an international competition.
"I bumped into them when they had only been to one or two international surfing competitions," Elgood said. "I hadn't seen skateboards in Jamaica and they were really just about the only ones who had them and were practising surfing and skateboarding," Elgood said.
Elgood said he immediately seized the opportunity and saw it as a fantastic move to have the team involved in the One Love movie at the time.
"I got them into a couple of scenes skateboarding in the background. I wanted to give it a contemporary type of feel," he said.
After discovering how far they were into surfing, he said he decided to make the docudrama about the start of and development of surfing in Jamaica.
"I felt it was a really wonderful thing to be doing in Jamaica, as it is a relatively cheap sport that any kid or youth can do," Elgood said.
He indicated that the production of the film was difficult because it was an independent documentary and hence the length of time it took for completion.
Elgood said it is likely that the film will be premiered at the Barbados Film Festival.
"The film is a positive view of Jamaica, something that is not necessarily seen around the place too much and so it will help to push Jamaica's surfing ability into the international surfing and skateboarding communities," he said.
Wilmot, who is now the president of the Jamaica Surfing Association, said Elgood approached him and an agreement was reached to shoot the movie.
"He started shooting footage here in Jamaica and then the team was going to Ecuador for the World Games in 2004. He came with us and shot footage over there as well," Wilmot said.
Wilmot said it was a wonderful concept and an idea that they hoped would help the sport to move forward as much as possible.
"It will be exposure for Jamaica and Jamaica's surfing. It is a positive move towards cementing the work that we have started in exposing Jamaica as a surfing nation and as a tourism product," he said.
Also featured in the film are international pro-surfer Dan Malloy who has been a Jamaican surfing mentor for a number of years, Luke Williams and female surfer Danielle O'Hayon.
For more information visit www.surfrastamovie.com