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Billy Mystic reveals shortcomings through film ...while surfers seek to engage stormy waves

Published:Sunday | October 2, 2016 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small
Surf Rasta’ director Rick Elgood with cast members Danielle Ohayon, Luke Williams, their friend and Anthony Billy Mystic Wilmont’s sons Inilek and Icah Wilmont.
Billy Mystic among young Jamnesia surfers.

"The surfers are all on edge right now," offered Billy Mystic (of the Mystic Revealers reggae band) after exchanging pleasantries during an interview with The Sunday Gleaner on Thursday, an hour before sunset, as Hurricane Matthew grew in strength to category two, (upgraded to category five up to press time).

"This is their time. The winds, the rough seas and the waves ... , when you know how to ride a wave, and know the one that's going to pull you right back to shore; that's what they're looking for. The rough seas. When they tell all the small crafts to come in and give warnings and all that, that's when the surfers want to go out," says Mystic, real name, Anthony William George Wilmot, who has been up to more than just making music with his Mystic Revealers reggae band, as he has been making inroads with documentaries and short films, that have been aimed at bringing more exposure to his Jamnesia establishment and surfing in Jamaica.

Mystic has become the reference point for surfing in Jamaica ... . His children - Icah, Ishack, Inilek, Imani and Ivan - having performed around the world at top international surfing competitions, despite limited access to equipment.

"There is no surf shop in Jamaica. There is no company specialising in shipping down such equipment," Wilmot told The Sunday Gleaner. He expounded on this fact in the second of two short documentaries, developed on his own backyard beach of big waves that pull surfers in.

The meeting and collaboration of the Jamnesia community and the Gadauskas, was first captured on the short documentary film, The Misfits of Bull Bay (2014) after twins, Dane and Patrick Gadauskas and their younger brother Tanner of San Clemente, California, visited Jamaica in search of 'positive vibes'.

The three accomplished surfers had begun referring to themselves as Positive Vibes Warriors, an attitude passed on by their parents and their surf culture, which became "a concept that eventually connected to Jamaica", with one common element, reggae music.

Supported by the talents of Wilmot and his fellows, a reggae soundtrack carried the film - virtually wordless, short; live performance recordings, and long shots of long boards, and clips of twists and flips.

This year, the concept of the Gadauskas/Positive Vibes Warriors saw more development than the surfing display of The Misfits of Bull Bay, with the release of the follow-up short documentary film, Positive Vibration: A Surf Drive for Jamaica.

After arriving and following the vibes to Jamnesia, the brothers found the small community performing at a level that was "surprisingly high" and riding on waves that were "actually fun".

More so, the Gadauskas were compelled to give back to the Jamnesia surf community which lacked adequate resources. Two years after their first visit, the brothers resorted to social media, and with no expectations, they accumulated up to 10 surfboards during the first weekend. The next week, there were over 100 donations of surfboards; after a month, there were over 200.

Included in the haul of donations for the surf community were other surfing necessities, like leashes, deck pads, wax, fins, fin keys, T-shirts and shorts.

The film premiered at the Surfing Heritage Museum in California on September 12.