Words and photos by Nathan Adams — The summer trade winds are blowing as expected from East to West across the Caribbean Sea this time of year but this year they were a steady 25 mph with gusts at 30+ mph, so yes it brought contestable yet challenging conditions but it surely didn’t keep the best surfer from rising to the occasion taking down a lot talent along the way. The 2017 Palisadoes Pro is held along the barrier strip creating the seventh-largest harbour in the world, Kingston Harbour, so due to its exposed coast it receives swell from the trades wrapping the east end of the island right at the harbour creating tricky yet chunky rippable conditions. The positive vibes and One Love mantra of the island of Jamaica is felt as soon as the salt glistened Caribbean air touches your skin, the sweet sounds of Marley pierce your ears and the jerk seasoning spices your brain into a mental bliss rivaled by none.
The contest site for this year’s 2017 Pali Pro held on the Palisadoes Strip along the Harbour in Kingston Jamaica. Photo: Nathan Adams
The surfing at the Pali Pro was just as spicy and anyone who was able to see the contest first hand got to experience the full flavor from the amateurs charging conditions well beyond their ability to the pro division making it look to easy linking multiple maneuvers together and simply destroying sections that most would have gone around in order to check off the criteria of speed, power and flow.
Did I mention the winds were blowing every bit of 25 mph, Ackeam Phillips testing the loft ratio. Photo: Nathan Adams
The competitive field was stacked and shredding was the top choice on the menu with everyone digging into showcasing how well they could devour their portions without a doubt and their were the usual suspects who always continue to set that bar even higher with every passing year. One of those young men is Elishama Beckford and his progressiveness in the water and contagious good vibes were missed this year as he was in California with Hurley doing great things on a multiple fronts which everyone is stoked for but I assure you the boys weren’t too bummed he was gone knowing he has an arsenal of tricks that rival anyone anywhere making him a threat in the lineup. But the gun show of the event was in the semifinals between Garren Pryce and Icah Wilmot where the sea and the tides aligned allowing these guys to literally go ballistic on every section throwing buckets of water in every direction and these guys put on a show of 100% pure shredding.
Despite the smaller conditions the first day, Shane Simmons shows why he has one of the most stylish rail games on the island. Photo: Nathan Adams
Ackeam Phillips, the reigning champ and one of the only regular footers of the event, did not go down without putting up a fight into the final rounds but it was Ivah Wilmot who came out on top this year in the Pro division. Ivah is never an easy name to have in the draw and always rips the bag out of every waves with so much style and precision his turns are like an aquatic signature down the line. He even surfed in both the junior and pro divisions proving he had what it took to be the champ this year, so enjoy the fruits of your efforts you surely do deserve it!
Ronley Lewis clicking off a final maneuver on the inside making the most of the tough conditions. Photo: Nathan Adams
Much thanks and respect to everyone involved with putting this event on from key players like the Jamaica Surfing Association, Jamaica Sport, Visit Jamaica, Vans, Roark and Rum Bar along with the many other sponsors that contributed to the success of another great contest… One Love!
Rough seas mean nothing to seasoned fisherman like these fellas commanding the “Royal Heart.” Photo: Nathan Adams
Shade and coconut water is essential to lasting all day on a black sanded beach and skin chapping winds. Photo: Nathan Adams
This unknown Boston Bay surfer made the trek down the coast for the Pali Pro letting the others know he means business. Photo: Nathan Adams
Ronald Hastings showing he’s not a grom any more by laying down some manly turns like this one. Photo: Nathan Adams
But all that comes at a price when you’re surfing double divisions, surfing hard and the cramps set in — Ronley Lewis and Kai Bourne help Ronald to the medic tent. Photo: Nathan Adams
There’s always something fun for the groms to enjoy… like a huge slide. Photo: Nathan Adams
Luke Williams is all smiles and a grom at heart making sure you’re always enjoying yourself. Photo: Nathan Adams
Success can be measured by simply putting it all on the line and giving it your best no matter what the outcome, Kevin Mckalla proved it this day. Photo: Nathan Adams
The youngest competitor of the event, Ocean Gettins, was from Barbados and despite being the smallest he surely had some of the best style. Photo: Nathan Adams
Nathan showing his fellow countryman Kai Bourne some support from the beach by flying the Bajan flag nice and high. Photo: Nathan Adams
Rum-Bar helped keep the vibes on the beach nice and irie with the likes of 125 “over-proof” spirits. Photo: Nathan Adams
Akeam Phillips scours the lineup looking for the best peaks in his upcoming heat to destroy. Photo: Nathan Adams
The peaks were scattered but Akeam was able to get a little “tanker tow-in” assistance on this right hander down the beach. Photo: Nathan Adams
Kai Bourne from Barbados put on a show winning the Junior division by linking maneuvers like this together all the way to the inside. Photo: Nathan Adams
No matter what island you’re from in the Caribbean, there is an unspoken level of respect for one another like Ronley sharing the joys with Kai’s Junior division victory. Photo: Nathan Adams
Icah Wilmot has been laying down turns like this for years showing the up and coming surfers of Jamaica what “proper” looks like. Photo: Nathan Adams
One of those following Icah’s lead is Garren Pryce, who rips the bag out of everything he surfs from 2 to 10 foot and everything in between. Photo: Nathan Adams
But is was younger brother Ivah Wilmot who took top honors by winning the Pro division with the smoothest lip glides and aerial prowess to rival the best of them. Photo: Nathan Adams
To be chaired up the beach is a feeling like no other and the respect and love for this victory was felt by everyone on the beach with Icah Wilmot and Luke Williams carry Ivah Wilmot.with Eugene Miller sharing in the joys. Photo: Nathan Adams
Ivah Wilmot Pro Division Winner, Kai Bourne Junior Division Winner, Imani Wilmot Women Division Winner and future wahines, Group shot of all the winners including a few 2020 Olympic Rowing Trials winners. Photo: Nathan Adams
Much respect to Billy “Mystic” Wilmot for always going over and beyond to make this event happen every year keeping surfing relevant on the island of Jamaica welcoming anyone who wants to visit this beautiful island with this same smile filled with nothing but positive energy. Photo: Nathan Adams
Tags: jamaica, nathan adams, pali pro