SURFING & JAMMIN’ IN JAH MAICA
Jamaica had always been a destination with which he had dreamed, but always for some things or others he could not go. From a very young age I have been involved in Reggae and Rastafari culture; In fact the first tape that fell into my hands, thanks to my brother Capi, was one of Bob Marley and since then my love for reggae has been increasing and increasing every day. I have traveled extensively to many places alone in order to catch a good wave, but I have also done it for attending a good concert or reggae festival. Along with surfing, they are my two great passions. So the possibility of combining surfing with reggae on this trip has been a plus to everything.
When the possibility arose to escape to the island with my girlfriend Ale , I started to document myself about surfing on the island and although I knew there were good waves, from what I had seen in some videos, such as the Drive Thru Caribbe and especially the Broke Down Melody, I never thought there were such good waves and so many good surf spots, especially on the south and west of the island. In the north, there are also waves, but less frequent, because Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic plug many of the swells and need more sea; Usually there is also more wind. In this search for information, I realized that Jamaica has 8 months of good waves and soon began to highlight the figure of a family, which are essential part to understand the surf in Jamaica, the Wilmot . On the Internet there are a thousand sessions of all of them and everything they are doing for the evolution of surfing in Jamaica. The main figure in this saga is that of Billy “Mystic” Wilmot , a rasta who started surfing the Jamaican waves from a very young age and who is currently the Jamaican team coach and soul of everything that represents surfing on the island as well Like what reggae has represented on the island.
A possibility of evasion of the many problems that are generated in the Jamaican Ghettos, a possibility to redirect their lives and to be able to travel and to know other cultures and countries. Billy is a person who has been educated and educated and talk to him and listen to him fills the senses. He is a great surfer, great person, great musician and great influence for all the boys of the suburbs of Kingston. As a good rasta Billy cares about his own and understands that surfing can help many families. His love of surfing is only comparable to his love of reggae. It is a RASTA with capital letters. In its day was the soul of the group The Mystic Revealers , a cult group on the island and hear him sing is amazing. The feeling that lets you see him sing is the same as when you see him surfing. An amazing person, it has been a blessing to know.
After 10 hours of flight, we arrived in Jamaica, the 3rd largest island in the Caribbean and Mecca for any Rastafarian. We arrived with a good swell on the way and with a forecast of hurricane, which is certainly guarantee that there will be sea.
Our trip began in Montego Bay (MoBay), the 2nd largest city on the island, with more than 110,000 inhabitants and where tourism is a major part of its economy. Formerly it was the residence of many hippies that came attracted by the beaches of white sand and crystalline waters. Today, that has changed and it is tourists, who come en masse, by a complaint from agencies and tour operators around the world. It is a bustling city, but at the same time quiet. It is imperative to visit the handicraft market, where to lose and haggle with the dreadlocks and with all the women who want you to see their posts and to buy them. There is everything and above all there is very good vibe in this market, which is a little quieter than the one in Kingston.
We quickly left MoBay heading east towards Ocho Rios, a fishing and tourist town, which was one of the last Spanish bastions on the island. Before arriving at Ochi, as the Jamaicans call it; There are 3 visits essential. 1) The Dunn River Falls are waterfalls that can be walked and one of the many beauties of the island. Jamaica has 127 rivers and drinking water is guaranteed. This water irrigates the entire island and impregnates it with magical landscapes, which seem to be drawn from a story. 2) Green Grotto caves 3) Dolphin Cove, where to swim with the dolphins.
As far as surfing is concerned in this area, the best option is Runnaways , but it needs a lot of sea. Further east there are incredible beaches, such as where the James Bond movie was shot, and some surfing, in Annotto Bay and especially Buff Bay and Orange Bay. In this area and in Port Antonio (of the most beautiful), there are two of the best waves of the island. Penny Wally’s is a derechón and the best of the east coast. Very good wave and one of the magnets, which receive more sea on the island. Near this wave is the Blue Laggon, where the movie was filmed, an amazing site and Boston Bay , a magical place with a lot of surfing history, was the first place where surfing in Jamaica; Crystal clear water, and where we got good bathrooms. It has a very funny left and the right is also pretty. The place is out and there is a beach bar, with a small surf school and locals, as in all of Jamaica, are very coiled, although there is always some ruinilla, that kills that good spirit “irie”. Jamaica can be dangerous, especially at night, but you do not have to have much paranoia, because normally, people are very coiled. What if you have to understand is that they have suffered 400 years of slavery and that suspicion towards the whites is more than understandable. If you respect and they see that you are not a simple tourist and that you are there because you love their music and their culture, soon you will make good friends. In fact the motto in Jamaica is “no problem”, but if you have any problems, you will have it with someone who possibly intimidates, because physically the Jamaicans are from another galaxy. It’s hard to leave Boston Bay, but farther south, the best waves begin. Long Bay in Portland is a good point break that offers good right and especially left. Further south, El Rancho (difficult to access) and Hector River’s , good olitas left and right. In Morant Bay Bay, there is a rivermouth, Rozelle Beach and many good spots, where there is no one, like Jelly’s, Little’s, Canon Cave, Graveyard … it is one of the areas to explore and where there are better waves. But without a doubt, the best wave in all of Jamaica, at least for me, is in the Yallahs area and is called Makka’s , a full-fledged leftist , who holds enough sea and is usually more protected from the wind than his waves Neighbors. Makka’s is a cream.
At Bull Bay (Nine Miles) is where Billy’s “Mystic” Wilmot’s home is located and is the cradle of the island’s top surfers, who are none other than Icon and all of Billy’s kids and their friends. Very good people all and they are flying. The first wave I saw surfing Icon, in Cup , became an aerial reverse ironing perfect. All the Insight kids Billy supports are very good surfers, they have had an insurmountable teacher and they have been able to take advantage of it. Cup is a very funny wave, with a small reef, which breaks right and left, the right is very funny and the left is more hollow. Usually there are kids surfing and there is very good atmosphere. The only one is that the water is super polluted, with Kingston looking at the bottom. Close to Kingston airport there are 2 of the best waves and they hold up more size, Lighthouse , this is right in the airport area, so it does not encourage much surfing, but the right is a tubazo and the left breaks very nice. The Wreck is another good wave, but it does not work much and Zoo , takes the palm, a lefth tubazo, on a reef that intimidates and possibly the largest wave of the island.
In the Caribbean there are very good waves and Jamaica is about to explore as far as surfing is concerned, but there are also a thousand other things to see and do on the island. The whole southwest of the island is quite wild and is a jungle. Many trips will take you to the Black River to see the crocodiles and even feed them. For the Negril area, it is quite touristy, but if you have the chance to dive in the coral it is amazing and if you are lucky you will see even sharks. A good place, where to see good concerts and to flipar of the jumps that give in the cliffs is the Rick’s Café. In the St. Elizabeth area, there are some of the most beautiful waterfalls on the island, the Ys Falls . The typical waterfalls, where you see the dreadlocks bathing with their families. Lucea, to the north, is also very pretty.
As far as reggae is concerned, I think we have gone to all the most iconic sites, or at least we have gone to all the places where we wanted to go. From the Reggae Explosion in Ocho Rios to the Bob Marley Museum at 56 Hope Road , Kingston, Chris Blackwell’s legendary home, then bought by Bob Marley and where he remains one of reggae’s most influential record labels, Tuff Gong Studios. This site is live reggae history, with the Irie Fm station and all the history that Bob Marley and his family have lived here … pure reggae. Be inside this museum and see the impact of Marley on the world, as well as all the work that has done Rita and the saga of the Melody Makers, with Ziggy at the head. Must visit. Highly Recommended.
Another must-see near the museum is Trenchtown , one of the suburbs of Kingston, where he spent much of his teenage years. Kingston, it is dangerous, but if you go with your head there is no problem, what you will notice are looks of racism stuck in your eyes. A lot of Jamaicans do not touch it … and less with a couple of blanquitos, but it’s a good place to get to know the real Jamaica. Like the Spanish Town.
Another good excursion is to the mountains , the Blue Mountains , where one of the best cafes in the world, and especially St. Ann, is supposed to be on the Nine Mile , where Bob Marley was born and you can understand many of his songs, and Even meet some of his friends and family, who teach you everything with pride, where he was born, where he then went to live with his mother Cedella, who died last year; You can lie in bed, meet the mythical Zion Rock, where he composed many of his songs and how not to visit and kiss his grave, where he rests; Although Rita Marley is determined to take her body to Ethiopia, as the Rastafarian writings and all the ideas related to Marcus Garvey and HI M Haillee Selassie I, to many the Jamaican Jesus Christ, to others, a simple dictator. In any case, it is a mecca. From here, many dreadlocks will want to take you to the ganja plantations and see some of the sacred rastas of the dreadlocks, although you will not understand much because they speak in their native language, patois. If you have the opportunity, do not hesitate to go.
Jamaica “is a must” for the life of anyone who loves reggae and if you add to it the good waves that are all over the island and the amount of people with a good spirit “irie” and who care about the legacy RESPECT & ONE LOVE is a trip you should not miss. I hope to be able to return very soon. Bless U Jamaica. Jah Love.
“A rasta is born, not done” “Rasta is creation”
JAH LIVES CHILDREN. RASTAFARI.
Text: Nachete García (SCHOOL CANTABRA DE SURF)
SURFERS: ALEJANDRA PALOMERO & NACHETE GARCIA.