It began with my feet tapping to the rhythm!

     I remember driving and listening to Bob Marley’s Uprising album full volume and just thinking, here’s a melody, a sound, a voice glowing with energy. A call to action for freedom, and for unity, forged in the fires of overcoming adversity. On a primal level, everyone can relate to that feeling in their own way and in their own translation. To me the sounds of reggae music and the voices of Jamaica didn’t just stand for rhythmic vibrations of optimism, they stood for overcoming the struggles that hold us back from coming together as one. That’s when I knew we had to go to Jamaica and feel it for ourselves. I had seen some photos of these interesting blue waves there as well as heard of one family in particular that seemed to be at the heart of the small but passionate Jamaican surfing scene.

     Billy “Mystic” Wilmott began riding waves as a grommet on his body board in 1968, and has been surfing hard ever since, sharing his love for the ocean with his 5 kids, all of whom rip with their own unique style and prowess. Their home on the outskirts of Kingston is named “Jamnesia” and serves as a gathering spot for all the young local surfers, skateboarders, musicians to come together and shred. When we arrived with our friends, the Graves brothers, at the front of Jamnesia it reflected the grittiness of the Jamaican spirit itself. A rough concrete skate bowl at the entry. In another corner a collection of old surfboards hid under leaves as another board sat on two poles waiting to be repaired for another time. Small wooden shacks served as accommodations and in the middle of it all was a wide open space filled with instruments and colorful art. It Certainly had a unique energy to it. Even as an empty space you could tell this was a home for the community to support one another and express themselves through music, mentorship and activities. Billy is a classic. Rich with stories of days of surfing from the past and hopes of where Jamaican surfing might grow in the future. I was really impressed with the talent level down there, as the groms borrowed boards and absolutely ripped! There was a rawness to their approach, and you could see their natural athletic ability adapting to whatever equipment they could get their hands on. Airs, carves, spray and dreadlocks flying all over the place all with these amazing glowing smiles. It was so cool to share those sessions and experience a rhythm and style of wave riding purely Jamaican.

     This generation of young Jamaican surfers has the passion to grow their talents. There is a love and an excitement that is tangible. You can feel it in every interaction when talking about surfing, boards and riding waves. What we experienced in Jamaica was a culture with dreams of reaching their own potential as a surfing nation. And from the very core of my spirit as a human and as a surfer, I want to see them realize those dreams. It’s places like Jamaica that possess the magic of a primitive joy and the unfiltered appreciation of simply riding waves that many of us take for granted every day. The biggest problem facing their development is the lack of surfboards that exist there. The resources of resin, foam, fiberglass are expensive and scarce, and even with that finding a shaper with enough experience is near impossible. For these kids to have the opportunity to realize their own potential, helping to provide surfboards would be a massive step in the right direction. From longboards or soft tops for the young beginners, to performance shortboards to the current crop pushing the limits I am optimistic that it would have a huge impact on the hope for a future of Jamaican surfing.

     That is where the idea came from, to do a Positive Vibe Warrior “Surfboard drive for Jamaica!” The surfing community globally is very diverse. We come from all corners of the earth, with different backgrounds and beliefs unified by the appreciation of riding waves in the ocean. It’s a special thing to be apart of, and I feel happy to help foster this connection in developing surfing nations. Places that have the passion to grow, but may not have access to resources or infrastructure. Starting March 1, 2016 you will be able to help keep the vibe alive, by donating a used board of any kind, any shape and any condition (as long as it’s water tight) to the Jamaican Surfing Association, the future generation of Jamaican surfers. The boards can be donated to any JACKS Surfshop location in southern California through the entire month of March and you will receive a Tax Deductable receipt. If you don’t have a board to donate and still want contribute, the Positive Vibe Warriors Foundation will be making a “Positive Vibration” capsule featuring our own hand drawn "Jamaica" inspired artwork on clothes, coffee mugs and stickers for sale at www.positivevibewarriors.com with a percentage of the proceeds going directly to the Jamaican Surfing Association as well as benefiting the Jamaican Lifeguards. In April we are planning to fly all the boards over to Jamnesia, for a day of “STOKE,” welcoming any and every kid from all over Jamaica to come down and enjoy learning to surf and about ocean safety. We thank YOU for your support and sharing the joy of surfing and wave riding with the next generation! 

Here's the list of Jack's Surfshops available to make the surfboard donation between march 1 - march 31, 2016:

  • 101 Main St
  • Huntington Beach, CA 92648
  • *
  • 2727 Newport Blvd
  • Newport Beach, CA 92663
  • *
  • 900 Avocado St
  • Corona Del Mar, CA 92660
  • *
  • 34320 Pacific Coast Highway
  • Dana Point, CA 92629
  • *
  • 1630 Pacific Coast Highway
  • Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
  • *
  • 5581 Alton Parkway
  • Irvine, CA 92618
  • *
  • 2012 Lincoln Blvd
  • Santa Monica, CA 90405

Thanks for sharing the stoke!

 -- Dane Gudauskas

All photos by Grant Ellis 

Here's the video of our experience surfing in jamaica...