Misfits Of Bull Bay – Maroons of the ocean

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Jamaica has many ties with the island of Cuba.  They are neighbours. Fragments of Jamaica’s political past stood beside Castro’s ideology without apology. They fought similar battles against Babylon.

Out of Cuba came some of the Rastafarian movement’s greatest figures: Mortimer Planno (Rasta Elder), Rita Marley, and the godfather of Jamaican ska, Lorenzo “Laurel” Aikken.

Both islands are rich in Africa’s past and present, from Jamaica’s Rastafarian movement to Cuba’s Yoruba, and so much more. Both islands have been, and still are at  the forefront of the green revolution. Both islands have a love affair with Ethiopia and all things African.

Cuban president Fidel Castro was quoted in August 1979 by the Associated Press as saying he was frustrated by the lack of enthusiasm from his citizens, who would prefer to volunteer in Ethiopia then their own country.

“Hundreds of thousands turn up wanting to go to Ethiopia, or Angola, or wherever. Demonstrating their revolutionary political consciousness in somethings, but when it is required on a daily basis, it fails to appear.”

Outside the US, Cuba had the largest number of Marcus Garvey’s UNIA  (Universal Negro Improvement Association) branches. Garvey was a Jamaican political leader, journalist and entrepreneur whose teachings gave rise to the modern Rastafarian movement.

The connections could be listed endlessly, but the most important tie of all is that both islands have a small community of grassroots surfers who have bonded over recent years, thanks to Jamaican Icah Wilmot. He travelled to Cuba back in February  2010 to compete against the Cubans in their first ever official surfing competition organised by Pan American Surf Association; something the Cubans are very proud of

Check out Misfits of Bull Bay, a little piece of Jamaica’s amazing surfing community and the pioneering Wilmot family.

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