There is no pride as great as the one felt when a Jamaican excels on the international stage! Jamaicans are naturally talented at sports. The fluidity of Jamaican Patois and music as intense as it may be can also be graceful and powerful as seen in the way surfers maneuver the waves in Jamaica. For a long time Jamaica has not been known as a surfing destination but that is quickly changing as one Jamaican has turned the spotlight on Jamaica. His name is Elishama Beckford affectionately known as Shama who is an international athlete and surfing sensation. Shama shot to international fame for his graceful moves (riding the waves in 2017) and now, for the first time in history, he is training to represent Jamaica at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo!
Shama is originally from Bull Bay which is located just on the outskirts of Jamaica’s capital city Kingston, and has earned for himself the title of one of the island's brightest surf standouts. He has been recognized and signed to Hurley, an American multinational corporation that is engaged in the design, development, manufacturing, worldwide marketing and selling of surf apparel and accessories. Hurley worked with Shama on the Jamaica collection line, released this week in celebration of his surfing talent.
Shama’s approach to the sport of surfing has attracted the attention of the surf community globally and has presented the opportunity to work with other surfers and companies across the world. This brings the spotlight on Jamaica as a surfing destination that can compete globally with destinations like Hawaii and Australia. Jamaica is situated in the midst of the Caribbean Sea and is open to ground and wind swells coming through its neighboring countries, the northern and southern sides of the island receives consistent swell which produces top class waves ideal for high performance surf.
The sponsorship by Hurley is a strong investment in the future of Jamaican surfing and also well timed for Shama who will be training as an anticipated Olympic standout ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, where professional surfing will be an official sport for the first time ever.
Shama has competed in the trials for a championship tour event at Trestles in California on the invitation of Hurley. As the first Jamaican professional surfer, and his representing Jamaica as an ambassador, it is quite an achievement. Shama was invited to the Hurley house in Hawaii which gave the opportunity to rub shoulders with the likes of international athletes like Michele Bourez, Julian Wilson and Brett Simpson.
Speaking on his achievements, Shama notes that his drive is to continue breaking down barriers and building the movement so that one day any child in Jamaica will have the opportunity to experience the sport of surfing and pursue careers in it. He normally spends his day surfing or teaching young ones the sport. For Shama, sport was an avenue to achieving his dream, and outlet which he aspires to introduce to Jamaica's talented youth.