Veteran surfer Icah Wilmot could hardly hold all his winning trophies after the Jamaica Surfing Association (JSA) awards ceremony, which took place at Wicky Wacky in Bull Bay, St Andrew, recently.
Wilmot was crowned the national champion after securing four of the five events at the National Open Surfing Series last year. Ronald Hastings, who finished runner-up in two events, placed second in the national rank.
Zoe Anais Bain secured the women’s championship with Gabrielle Chung as the runner-up.
Wilmot, along with Bain and Chung were all part of Jamaica’s team that featured at the World Surfing Games in Huntington Beach in California, USA, in September.
For Wilmot, last year was a stellar year with lots to come on the horizon for Jamaica in surfing.
“This season was really good for me as I have been training really hard and putting in the work since surfing is now on the Olympic stage. This year is going to be even harder because I have a lot of the younger guys chomping at my heels, so I have to really turn up my game,” said Wilmot.
The JSA also handed out several other awards, including the youth award, which went to para surfer Nathaniel Bailey, who hails from the south coast, with Javain Brown also recognised for his work on the north coast.
Youth scholarship awards were also presented to Malia Crawford and Dejanae Harvey, while members of the World Surfing Games, the Pan American Surfing Games and the Para Surfing Games participants Tonto Campbell and Bailey were also recognised.
With Jamaica improving its ranking at the last World Surfing Games, President Inilek Wilmot says the aim is to get more specific training for the island’s surfers with 2023 being a big year for the sport.
“We really had a lovely year with a lot of highlights and I can say that our surfing is growing. For 2023, we want to develop our surfers technically by getting some support from international coaches that can come and help us as we enter the qualifying cycle for the next Olympics,” Inilek Wilmot said.
The Gleaner‘s Lennox Aldred was among some of the special awardees on the night for the newspaper’s support of the sport of surfing.