Jamaica looking to bring the heat in steamy Surf City
LA LIBERTAD, El Salvador:
IF THE sizzling temperatures in Surf City El Salvador are anything to go by, the action on the beach of La Bocana and El Sunzal over the next couple of days is expected to reach fever pitch as the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games (WSG) get under way with action in 24 heats for the men and 24 for the women.
Jamaica’s veteran surfer, Icah Wilmot, will dip into action first up as he goes up against the United States number three-ranked Tyler Gunter and Chinese Taipei’s number 94-ranked Yu Chia Chi in heat 17.
“When it comes to surfing, I don’t look at the competition, you know what the judges are looking for, so I perform to suit that criteria. It’s going to come down to speed, power, flow and control in your manoeuvres and that is what I am going to aim for when I am surfing.”
The 99th-ranked Wilmot has been in El Salvador for the past week and a half preparing to face unpredictable waves which will test the mettle of the surfers who range from professional tour athletes to amateur competitors.
“The conditions are getting good and if it goes anything like what we had yesterday, it should be really fun. I am going to go out and give it my best, as it is surfing, so you have to depend on the waves. I plan to go out and try to get the good ones and perform to the level I know I can perform.”
Joining Wilmot on today’s opening day is his sister Imani Wilmot, who will be competing late in the afternoon in the women’s open in heat 22 which also includes 20th-ranked Canadian Erin Brooks, 53rd-ranked Taina Angel of Indonesia and 125th-ranked Isabel Higgs of Thailand.
The 92nd-ranked Wilmot is keen to put in a good showing, having also been in El Salvador for close to two weeks accessing the competition conditions.
“I have been surfing in these conditions for the past few weeks now, so I am a lot more comfortable at this spot. I am also better at reading the waves, knowing where they are going to break and identifying which wave will be a good one to give me the best scoring potential possible.”
Wilmot, along with her German coach David Bodenstein, has been working on fine-tuning details that will maximise scoring on waves that can be unpredictable each day.
“The aim is to come up with the best strategy to get the two best scores because that is what they score you on, the best two waves that you ride.”
Following today’s opening round, Thursday will feature the other Jamaicans with number 100-ranked Elishama Beckford going in heat 29 against Australia’s number four-ranked Ethan Ewing and number 96-ranked Cristian Pamiano of Korea.
Jamaica’s Javaun Brown, who is ranked 101, will go up against Australia’s number five-ranked Liam O’Brien and Dominica Republic’s number 92-ranked Saori Perez in heat 33.