Teen takes on challenge

Alexia Williams took her win in the East End Surf Challenge Monday with a wee bit of luck and an angel on her shoulder.

Because surely her father was there in spirit; urging her on.

‘My dad used to love jet skiing and I took it up to honour him – and now I love it too. It’s an amazing sport and I’m so grateful to my friends and family for making this possible,’ she said.

Alexia, 15, was the youngest rider in Monday’s race and won the Naya Man spirit award.

What made the day and the race so special for Alexia – besides winning – was that she was racing for a cause.

Alexia was racing in memory of her father, Avalon Shane Williams who recently died of cancer at the age of 34.

She gave half her winnings of $750 to HospiceCare, giving back what she can to help other families needing palliative care. The other half was re-invested into her craft.

Her plan is to split her prize money each time she wins a race event.

Alexia is a Year 12 student at St. Ignatius from Lower Valley and was one of only two female racers. The other was her friend Kimberly Arch.

Alexia was thronged by fans, including the family’s two Dobermans, sporting T-shirts emblazoned with Shane’s photo and reading ‘#26 riding in memory of my Daddy;’ a touching tribute to the smiling man whose life was cut so tragically short.

To participate in the race Alexia needed to raise $2,500 to cover entry fees, fuel and all the necessary maintenance and modifications to make her craft raceworthy.

With the help of her mom, Ashley, and five sponsors, Cayman’s Halfway Pond Racing Team and Alexia emerged victorious in her category, coming just two laps short of finishing all four grueling races; a major achievement for anyone, let alone a first-timer.

The hardest part about racing?

‘Everything,’ she said, grinning. ‘Your whole body’s sore but you have to just power through and hang on no matter how tired you are – that’s the only way to win.’

The East End Surf Challenge culminated Monday in an exciting day of Jet Ski racing with three-, five-, seven- and 10-lap races off Heritage Field.

Treated to sunny skies and a cool breeze, the crowd was wowed by the usual pack of speed demons like Tony Rankine, Vance Ramgeett and newcomer Matthew Leggett.

Results for the men’s races weren’t in by press time.