Riders were out in numbers for the 2020 Cayman Islands Watercraft Association (CIWA) National Championship Sunday (29 November) afternoon.
The event was the first for CIWA since March and it served as the final competition for the year. While the association managed to host two events; it wasn’t the original plan according to CIWA’s Chris Bodden.
“So we had a big plan for 2020,” said Bodden. “We had five races lined up. We did our first one very successfully in March and then of course covid hit, so that slowed us down.”
“As things start to get better and things started opening up, we sat with our board and our sponsors and said you know what; we want to do at least one final race to close out the year strong and all of the racers were all for it.”
Over 20 riders competed in four (Pro, Amateur, Beginner and Rookie) divisions respectively. Bodden said, this year’s nationals brought out the largest group of riders in recent memory.
“This is the biggest group we’ve had in a long time,” said Bodden. “So we have eight in our beginners class. If we had any more, we [would] have to split it. We have four in our amateur class which I am riding in and then we have six in our pro class.”
Bodden placed third overall in the amateur division. Someone else who place third on the day but in the pro division, was national rider Wayne Cato Jr. Cato said the competition on island is becoming tougher each year.
“It’s always a good thing to be a part of a CIWA event, I mean they go above and beyond for their riders,” said Cato. The younger guys are coming up now and these guys have been wrenching on their skis day in and day out. You can just see daily that these guys are getting faster and faster.”
Matthew Panton who wasted no time preparing for the event, took second in the pro division under Nathan Ebanks. Panton said despite being the runners-up, he was happy to be back out and racing.
“It was wonderful that we were able to make it out in the first place because covid has change the world as we know it,” said Panton. “Leading up to this event, we built three motors, three skis in the past week and stayed up until 5 o’clock the night before the race.”
Jetski competitions in the Cayman Islands has long been a male dominant sport but Panton says he wants to see more women taking part in the future.
“I actually want to see more female racers come out,” said Panton. “We have two now, Emma (Conolly) and Tiana (Ramgeet) but I want to see another one and they’re here but they just don’t want to race.”
In addition, a breach of covid protocols by spectator Skylar Mack, 18, was discovered at the end of the event. Mack has since been charged with one count of failing to comply with Regulation 3 of the COVID-19 Regulations and ordered to pay $2,600 along with completing 40 hours of community service.
According to Bodden, CIWA will have the Brac Surf and Turf event to kick off their 2021 season, which is expected to be a action packed.
Results from the 2020 CIWA National Championships
|Nathan Ebanks||Seth Watler||Leroy Whittaker||Lucas Jimenez|
|Matthew Panton||Cline Glidden||Emma Conolly||Edward Bodden|
|Wayne Cato Jr||Chris Bodden||Chase Green||Maleke Ebanks|