Makka Pro 2011: Pro Surfing, Yard-Style

August 2, 2011

Words and Photos by Martei Korley

Icah Wilmott, last year's champion, surveys the conditions

The Makka Pro surf tournament has, for the past five years, invigorated the surfing scene in the Caribbean. Held by the Jamaican Surfing Association on beautiful Southhaven Beach in Yallahs, St. Thomas, Jamaica, the tournament attracts talent from around the Caribbean and the US. For three days–this year, Jul7 29th through the 31st–the otherwise quiet beach enclave teems with activity. As an official tournament, medalists win both monetary prizes and points ranking in their overall seasonal scores. The event’s organizer is singer/actor/surfing activist Billy “Mystic” Wilmot, an eclectic personality who has had a broad influence on Jamaican culture, from his days as the frontman for Mystic Revealers, to acting in the long running Royal Palms sitcom, to helping expose the sport of surfing to the masses. His compound at Cable Hut Beach houses not only a plethora of skaters, surfers and creativesโ€”it also serves as the venue for his “Jamnesia” open mike event. Wilmot has a personal stake in the competition, impartial as he may want to be: His sons Icah (last year’s Makka Pro winner in the men’s section) and Inilek and daughter Imani (This year’s winner in the women’s section) are all stalwarts of the event.

As a free event, Makka Pro keeps things democratic, offering a great beach day with appeal to spectators who may not even swim themselves. The swells could have been bigger, especially during the women’s competition, but there were still some stellar moments.. It of course doesn’t hurt that a veritable fair of activity and booths, with friendly faces selling fried fish and jerk chicken, glow sticks and sugarcane, lined the lawns. Not to mention a bungee jump-like contraption propelling people into the air and capoeira dancers competing with a soundsystem blaring Luther Vandross.

The winner of the men's competition, US Surfer Jensen Callaway, goes up big

Waxing the board before hitting the waves

Small waves on a docile sea impacted a good part of the competition

Spectators braving the changing conditions: Rain kept many at bay on day two of the three-day event.

Once the rain dissipated, everyone wanted a good look at the excitement on the beach

Bajan junior Jordan Heaselgra catches one

Pitbulls, surfer girls, surf rastas and sexwax set an eclectic tone on Southhaven Beach

US surfer Jeremy Johnston shows the crowd what he can do with a small wave

Enjoying the sweetness of the last rays at dusk on the second day of the competition

Satisfaction after a good run...

The winner in the women's' section of Makka Pro 2011, Imani Wilmot

Where is this: SoCal or JA? Eclectic and refreshing, Makka Pro is helping surfing advance locally in the Caribbean

Generation Next in the Jamaican surf world to center stage...

Immediately after the competition's completion, everyone headed out to surf the break

Beautiful Southhaven beach in Yallahs, St.Thomas, Jamaica

Eclectic entertainment greeted visitors to Makka Pro 2011: Here's a capoeira ensemble.

Defying gravity seems to be the idea behind propelling yourself on a bungee jump-like contraption. Those who overcame their fears and the ride seemed to love it. For those who canna cross it: we understand!

A man photographs his wife's flight into the stratosphere. Note the smirk: he tried it before her.