TDC International Surf Festival 2012 a Huge Success!
The Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Development Company (TDC) International Surf Festival 2012 (ISF12) was blessed with a weekend of excellent waves, beautiful weather, great entertainment, and most importantly world class performance surfing. The Surfing Association of Trinidad and Tobago hosted the event and welcomed surfers and officials from Australia, Barbados, Jamaica, United States, and Venezuela.
The visitors and locals were greeted by the best surf conditions the event has experienced in its 3-year history, with waves in the 5 to 7 foot range. These surf conditions provided the perfect platform for the pro surfers to express themselves with both high-flying aerial maneuvers and traditional power surfing, much to the amazement of the large crowd of spectators on hand.
Last years Open Men’s Champion Francisco Bellorin of Venezuela, who was regarded the man to beat in this event, was able to hold onto his title for a second year in a hard fought final heat against Florida’s Jesse Heilman who held onto the lead until the last minute. Bellorin walked away with US$3500 for first place, while Heilman won US$1500 for his performance. Chris Duff of Florida and Rafael Perreira of Venezuela were held =3rd Place and took home US$500 each. Balandra’s Christopher Dennis was the top performing T&T local surfer, reaching the quarterfinal round where Chris Duff narrowly beat him.
In the Women’s Pro Division it was the Battle of the Bajan Chelsea’s that stole the show, with Chelsea Roett winning first place and US$250 while Chelsea Tuach took second place and US$150. Local girl Kathy-Ann Smith, aka Toco Slasher, took third place in the Women’s Pro Division, winning US$50.
In the Pro Junior (U21) Division, which was stacked with young talent from Barbados, it was Bruce Mackie that took top honors and went home US$600 wealthier. Fellow Barbadian Che Allen, who was the youngest surfer in the division at 11 years old, performed extremely well surfing with maturity well beyond his age and took second place and US$400. Local standout Dario Jordan managed to secure 3rd place and US$250, while Chelsea Tuach of Barbados finished 4th and took home an additional US$100.
The Beacon Insurance U16 Division was an opportunity for the up and coming junior surfers to show their stuff. Young Che Allen took first place, followed by Joshua Burke in second. Local boys Josh Galt, Elton John and Jayel Lewis took third, fourth and fifth place respectively. All competitors in this division received Trophies courtesy of Beacon Insurance and prize packages from the Western Atlantic Pro Surf Series.
In the final division of the day, the Expression Session gave competitors an opportunity to free surf and show the crowd just how radical they could perform without the pressure of being eliminated from the contest. After 30 minutes of great action it was Joshua Burke of Barbados that won ‘Best Wave’ and US$250, while Rafael Perreira took home US$250 for the ‘Best Maneuver’.
Chairman of the Trinidad and Tobago Tourism Development Company (TDC), Rajiv Shandilya, was on hand for the entire event and presented prizes to the champions in the Open Division. Shandilya took the time to speak to the large crowd on hand and re-affirm the TDC’s commitment to sports tourism in Trinidad and Tobago, and specifically to the Sport of Surfing.
The TDC ISF12 is the 3rd sanctioned event of the Western Atlantic Pro Surf Series 2012, the only Pro Surfing Tour in the Eastern US and Caribbean, and the 2nd event of the Caribbean Surfing Championship 2012, which began in Barbados and will be concluded at the final event in Jamaica in July. Surfers at the ISF12 earned valuable points to better their standing in both of these Championships.
The International visitors to the TDC ISF12 were exposed to a very unique cultural experience as the surfing was capped off on Saturday with this country’s top Bikini Contest featuring 10 stunning beauties from both T&T and overseas. As the sun set, the streets on Sans Souci came alive with a street party that eventually moved into the community Basketball Court and featured incredible live performances by local legends Orange Sky and Joint Pop.