Now that the festive season is over, the first big local sports event will grab everyone’s attention in East End for the Surf Challenge.
The highlight of this annual event is the international jet skiing and the fish tea cook off.
The annual extravaganza runs over the last weekend of this month - Heroes Weekend - and as in previous years, will be the coolest place to be over the first public holiday of the New Year.
The events start on Friday, 25 January, when the Surf Jam Kick Off party is thrown at Pirates Cove Bar, East End. Music by Eternal Vibes from Miami which includes DJs Atom Skillz, Toya Skillz, Sound Revolution, DJ Sly and DJ Vicious.
Soca Frenzy is on Saturday, 26 January, again at Pirates Cove Bar, with the same DJs and starts from 3pm to midnight.
The GOL Beach Football Tournament runs on Sunday, 27 January, at Collier’s Public Beach, with plenty more music.
The East End Surf Challenge and Flowers Bottled Water Fish Tea Cook Off Finals are on the Monday, Heroes Day 28 January at Colliers Public Beach.
Music is by a raft of DJs and is emceed by DJ Dom(U)neek. It starts at 9am until late.
There is no gate entrance fee to all the events, however, to taste the fish tea, cups have to be purchased and other plastic memorabilia cups and T-shirts will be on sale.
The sponsors are Cayman Airways, Flowers Bottled Water, The Ministry of Tourism, Cayman Screen Print, What’s Hot, Flava Magazine, Grape Tree Cafe, Watler’s Metal Products, Vibestime Entertainment and the official radio station Vibe 98.9 FM.
Shane ‘Nobee’ Edwards is the founder of the East End Surf Challenge and also chairman of Two Frenzied, the organisers.
He said: “We would definitely like to see record numbers attend the event especially since there is no entrance fee and the large number of DJs that are coming out to support the event.
“It is going to have a great turn out because of all the elements on offer.
“Before the entrance fee was between $5-10 which helped to defray the cost of paying the riders their prizes.
“We are hoping for more sponsors and it’s still kind of tight. Most of the DJs are not charging us a high fee or some in the case of Atom Skillz, DJ Lin, DJ Dom(U)neek and Supa C they are providing their services for a minimal fee to support the event.
“In my opinion the East End Surf Challenge has made more contributions to the East End community that any other event which is as broad at contributions to students attending university, contributions to the primary school for library books as well as to needy cases in the community.”
Every year Edwards strives to make improvements and the introduction of a large beach bar, stage on the water’s edge, the event hosted by DJ Dom(U)neek, entertainment on the beach and most importantly no entrance fee, makes it more attractive.
In the build up, Edwards is pleased with the interest. “The response has been great with us forming a race committee for the event which consists of Vincent Ramgeet, the former Cayman Islands Watercraft Association president, and Don Patrick, the former Cayman Islands Water Association technical director and pioneer in the sport.
Edwards added: “The key is we have riders like Jordan ‘JJ’ McLean ready to race and from the feedback many other top racers will be joining in to make the event as exciting as usual.
“I see jet ski racing going great with out local riders participating in the world finals and placing first it says a lot about how well the racers are preparing and meeting the challenges.
“As for the East End Surf Challenge we have consistently provided this event for 13 years which is testament to the its contribution to developing riders to participate locally as well as overseas.”
As for who will win, Edwards is unsure because the overall standard is so high.
“It’s difficult to say who will be the overall champ with all the great racers and fast skis out there.
“I would love to see Jordan McLean (Trying A Ting), GJ Whittaker (Nuttin 2 Lose), Javier Medina (Nuttin 2 Lose) and Roshad Goff (Tony’s Toys) as well as many other great racers participating in the Pro Class.
“There are so many young racers I don’t really know that well, that I would love to see race. I just want them all to come out and have fun racing.
“I look forward to a safe race and that record crowds come out. It’s only once a year and been going on for 13 years consistently. It has great entertainment and is on the beach in one of the most beautiful locations Grand Cayman has to offer and the excellent East End food. It’s a perfect place to spend Heroes Weekend.”
“We are trying to regain the crowds through free entry and the new location at Collier’s Beach where we’ve been since 2010. Thanks to all our sponsors who want us to even push the culinary part of it in the fish tea cook off as well as the jet ski races.
“I’m very thankful that we got some sponsorship from the Ministry of Tourism and will possibly be getting from Ministry of Sports. We appreciate that because sponsorship is difficult to come by these days. These are hard financial times hence the reason why we’ve kept the entrance fees for the racers low for a second year.
“We have for the second successive year coming over the professional official Mike Young to be the race marshall.”