Tue | Sep 26, 2017

Wilmot glides closer to national title

Published:Monday | June 20, 2016 | 6:00 AMLivingston Scott
Wilmot

Icah Wilmot took a step closer to claiming the 2016 National Surfing Open Series after winning the second event of the series at the Palisadoes Peninsula.

The surfer went into the tournament with experimentation at the forefront of his mind. But things went smoothly from the outset, and he never looked back.

Wilmot gained another 1,000 points for topping the championship and now leads the series with 2,000 points. He finished ahead of Elishama Beckford (860 points), who sits third in the overall table on 1,415. Third-place Icah Wilmot (730) is not in the top six. Fourth-place Ackeam Phillips (670) holds second spot in the overall standings with 1,530, while Inilek Wilmot, who finished seventh, is fourth overall with 1,285.

"This is the first set of contests that I have won in about a year. It's a good stepping stone to know I can still beat some of these guys. I got a new board about a week ago and everybody else's board has three new pins at the bottom, but mine has two big ones and they are a lot shorter, so it was really an experiment to see if I could perform in a contest on this board.

"I performed pretty well in the first round. I scored nine out of 10 points and I wasn't even trying hard and I almost got a perfect score, so the board was capable and I was capable and I got the win; so I had a lot of confidence going into the next round," he said.

POSITIVE OUTLOOK

Wilmot believes his positive outlook in adverse situations also played a major role, especially when competitors became disgruntled with the location.

"When I got to the beach and looked at the waves and saw how difficult they looked, I bear in mind that everyone is facing the same thing and the same problem, so it means you have to be at your best. So my mindset going in was a bit different. They were saying a lot of things and that in itself gave me the upper hand.

"In each heat, I had a plan. You have 10 waves in 15 minutes, but only the best two count, so I made plans throughout the day and whatever I came up with worked, and the day went well because of how smoothly each game plan went," he added.

Wilmot knows that victory in the next event of the series, the Makka Pro, which takes place later this month, can virtually seal the Open Series title, and he is hoping his first Makka Pro championship win will also give him his first Open Series title.

"Even though it's not over yet, winning these events is a bit of a relief. It takes pressure off my shoulders. I have two excellent scores already, and I only need one good placement from the events remaining. So it's basically mine, so I am feeling relief right now.

"I came close to win it (Makka Pro event) a few times, but I was never 100 per cent fit and I had to be surfing in two divisions at a time. But I am fit right now ... and I know I am capable. I just hope everything works out the way I want," he said.

Meanwhile, Elim Beckford won the female division.