From the Deep: Surfing with Jamaica’s Wilmot Clan

August 11, 2014

Words by Jesse Serwer


Surfing and reggae have been bedfellows since the first Cali bro caught vibes from Bob Marley (actually it goes back even deeper), but in Jamaica that connection hasn’t always been so clear. One person, however, has been working for decades to establish the island as a serious outpost for the sport: musician and actor Billy “Mystic” Wilmot. With his sons Icah, Inilek, Ivah and Ishack and daughter Imani (the Caribbean’s first female pro surfer) by his side, Wilmot (who’s best known for his work with the band Mystic Revealers, and as “CC” from Jamaican TV show Royal Palm Estate) has established his Jamnesia compound in Bull Bay as one of the Caribbean’s top surf destinations, educating local youths in the sport and providing accommodations for visiting surfers looking to experience JA’s best swells. (It’s also been home to many a jam session, including some of the earliest gigs by reggae revival stars Chronixx and Protoje; and hosts a skate bowl that was the site of one of our first webisodes, featuring the Nurdz Republic skate crew).

Naturally, when Surfer Magazine set out to spotlight Jamaica for their September issue, they headed right to Bull Bay, where Wilmot and sons ( Imaniย who resides primarily in Canada, is unseen) gave pro surfers Dylan Graves and Dane and Tanner Gudauskas a proper introduction to JA. In addition to the magazine’s feature story, the Wilmots (and visiting pros) are the subject of a 9-minute video, which follows Graves and the Gudauskas’ as they catch waves with the Wilmot brothers and other local surfers.ย ย Watch the video here and, for more on surfing in Jamaica, check Martei Korley’s photo essay on the Makka Pro surf tournament.