Jamaica’s six-member junior team finished 26th from a field of 31 participating countries at the 2012 DAKINE International Surfing Association (ISA) World Junior Surfing Championships (WJSC) presented by Billabong, which was held at Playa Venao in Panama from April 14 to 22. Hawaii took home the team gold at the event, and Jamaica, which had only fielded half of the country team complement of surfers, finished ahead of countries such as Italy, Chile, Canada, Switzerland and Nicaragua.
“Twenty-sixth place from 31 nations may look like a lowly position, but considering that we only fielded six out of a possible 12 contestants, the result was commendable. The whole purpose of this year’s effort to attend the WJSC was to build our junior surfers, the majority of who are in the first of two years in their respective divisions,” stated Billy Wilmot, president of the Jamaica Surfing Association (JSA).
“We are very proud of their performances this year, especially Elishama Beckford,” he added.
Elishama finished in 57th place, Jamaica’s best individual result at the event. The other Under-16 surfers had mixed fortunes with Ivah Wilmot improving on his past performance to finish 65th, while the talented 13-year-old Javaun Brown fell nine places from 88 to 97. Wilmot noted that Brown, one of the youngest contestants at the event, has another five years of competition left in the ISA junior division and will be a force to be reckoned with in the future.
In the Under-18 division, Jamaica’s three surfers made it to the second round of the repechage and improved on their past performances. Armani Green finished at 81, while Akeem Taylor and Garren Pryce both finished at 65.
The ISA World Juniors brought together over 300 of the best under-18 surfers from around the world to compete for individual and team glory in three divisions (Boys Under-18, Boys Under-16, and Girls Under-18). The event was contested over the course of eight days of competition at Playa Venao, a beach-break located on the Pacific Ocean side of Panama.
Team Jamaica was sponsored by the Sports Development Foundation (SDF), Insight51 Clothing, COPA Airlines, Xtrak Deck Pads and Magma Wax.