The Clark Kent Of Jamaica's Surf And Skate Scenes - Stab Mag
Photography by Dustin Miller

The Clark Kent Of Jamaica’s Surf And Skate Scenes

Shama Beckford is not who you think he is.

elsewhere // May 23, 2023
Words by Corina Stephens
Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you’re not familiar with Shama Beckford, you’re doing it wrong.

In recent years, the name Elishama “the Superman” Beckford has bubbled to the surface of surf media time and time again, and for good reason. From his representation as the sole Caribbean contingent at Stab High Central America to his recent appointment as one-third of the judging panel for the most recent Bum Rush, ‘Shama has a solid pack of accolades to his name already.

The embodiment of Afro-Caribbean cool.

However, if you’ve missed these opportunities to get to know the twenty-something southpaw from Jamaica’s southern coast, here’s some more background.

Raised under the capable influence of Jamaica’s first surfing family, and it’s first-ever professional in the sport, the 26-year-old goofy footer is considered the current forerunner of the island’s growing surf and skate scenes, stylishly carrying forth the torch that was passed to him by the previous generation. 

Dubbed “Superman” because of his faster-than-a-bullet speed and distrust of personal limits, Beckman and his denominational doppelgänger see barriers simply as mental constructs – ones that should be ignored. Living by such agnosticism, in 2017, the then-20-year-old blew past previous precedents and became the first Jamaican ever to surf Pipe, earning him global notoriety and even a personal tweet from his homeland’s First Lady.

Imagine getting @’d by your country’s Michelle Obama.

Since then, the goofy-footer has removed obstacle after obstacle – both for the fun of it and for the benefit of his fellow Jamaican board riding devotees – but he’s also built a few. When the construction of a municipal sewage system in his hometown was halted, leaving behind a freshly-paved concrete ditch, Shama saw yet another opportunity. With the help of a few friends, Jamaica’s first-ever concrete skate park was built, creating a playground for the growth of skate culture on the island.

One man’s drainage ditch is another’s DIY dream.

Just as Afro-Caribbean culture – from its lyrical patois to its easy-listening music – has become synonymous with a sense of fluidity and ease, so, too, has Shama’s name become interchangeable with effortlessness, enviable style, and an optimistic determination only rivaled by the Man of Steel himself. 

Even superheroes need UV protection.

Get to know Shama even better in Sun Bum’s latest profile, here, and keep an eye out for much more from the surfing super.


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