The Challenge of the Surf

Caymanians are no strangers to the challenge which comes with the pounding surf. Previous generations made their living on the high seas. Now there comes a new breed of seagoers. They don’t man wooden boats or command steel ships.

Instead, they’re called jet-ski racers, and sit astride personal watercraft capable of generating speeds that their ancestors could only dream of on the waterways. And at the end of the day, tired and weary from the terrific pounding they take, these watery warriors will exchange their craft for spanking four-wheeled transport until another year.

Still, it’s precisely the brevity and intensity of those hours on the water which draws each rider and spectator like a magnet.

Next year is here. Next time is here. It’s time to go racing again.

The 2007 Digicel East End Surf Challenge, the first and one of the highlights on the jet-ski racing calendar, is only a matters of hours away, and organizers Team 2Frenzied, are putting the finishing touches on this year’s renewal.

The headline event occurs on Monday 22 January at 10 a.m. when 15 racers will attempt to best each other in the Super Stock and Modified divisions over runs of 3,5, 7 and 10 laps off the beach at the East End Heritage Field.

Familiar faces such as Billy ‘The Kid’ Ebanks, Craig Smith and Vance Ramgeet will be on hand, while the likes of Jeremy Thompson will step up to do battle with newcomers like Richard Gonzalez and a grizzled veteran named Don Patrick will drop his mechanic tools in an effort to show others how it is done.

Among the $10,000 up for grabs in total prizes and monetary reward, there will be a top rookie named and a new ‘Nayaman’ crowned as that rider who best exemplifies the spirit of the Challenge in conduct, performance, and professionalism.

In between races, the colourful crowd, which is expected in the thousands, will see competition among fish tea cooks in the Flowers Bottled Water Fish Tea Cookoff while the voice of the Challenge, Chuck ‘Tailor-made’ Taylor, entertains and informs all with his smooth and pertainent commentary.

A King & Queen of the Beach will be crowned and those who fancy their dance moves will be given an opportunity to show them in various contests as the vibes from Renaissance Disco and the mellow voice of John the Baptist keeps belting out.

The same combination teams up for the Friday, 19 January event-a ‘Total Togetherness’ concert along with Edwin Yearwood, Bajan DJ Monsterpiece, and local performers Daddy Stu, Big J and more. Tickets cost $10 in advance, $15 at the gate.

On Saturday and Sunday, the focus shifts, but the sense of enjoyment is no less.

The Food Fest set for Saturday, is just that-a celebration of East End’s rich tradition of cooking that has set it apart, and for this all-inclusive happening, which starts at 4 p.m. and ends at 11.45 p.m., patrons can eat and drink all they can consume for $40 in advance and $50 at the gate. Eternal Vibes, DJ Dominic and Bajan DJ Monsterpiece provide the musical company.

Prior to Monday’s grand conclusion, there is the day before and that all-popular sport of football takes to the stage on the beach in the form of the Admiral Administration GOL Beach Football Tournament.

While Sunday is traditionally a day of rest and relaxation, there will be little of those activities when the tournament kicks off at 9 a.m.

The sandy version of the World Game is proving to be immensely popular and sponsor Admiral Administration hopes to spread enthusiasm for this version of football while spurring the development of youngsters and the interest of spectators past and current.

All in all, the 2007 Digicel East End Surf Challenge promises to be quite an event. And, seeing is believing.

During four days the entire range of emotions will be on display. Those who trek to the little village of East End will be the witnesses to high drama as each day casts its own spell.

Sponsors for the event are: Heineken, Appleton Jamaica Rum, Admiral Administration, Flower’s Bottled Water, Dean’s Carpet Cleaning, Cayman Airways, Enviroseal Cayman, Coconut Car Rentals, Automotive Art, Caymanian Compass & What’s Hot and Vibe 98.9 FM, the official radio station of the 2007 Digicel East End Surf Challenge.