For Immediate Release
Great Waves and Surfing at the 15th Annual Dempsey Holder
Ocean Festival and Surf Contest
Imperial Beach, CA. In celebration of the protection of our coast and ocean, WILDCOAST held its 15th Annual Dempsey Holder Ocean Festival and Surf Contest on Saturday, September 22 in Imperial Beach, California. Since 2004, WILDCOAST has hosted this celebration that has become the largest and longest running surf event in south San Diego County. In addition to awesome wave riding, “the Dempsey,” as it has become known, features hands-on marine conservation learning activities for the kids and an international experience with surfers from as far away as South Africa, Morocco, and Brazil. At the Dempsey the ocean has no borders.
This year, more than 100 participants from six different countries participated. With three to four foot south swell sending peaky waves to the north side of the Imperial Beach Pier, the caliber of surfing was higher than ever. Niko Traubman from Encinitas threw down the largest air in the event in his round one heat, while former pro and local legend Kyle Knox stylishly surfed his way to the Mens Open final. Kyle’s uncle Jeff, surfed the Kahuna division, with his good friends Pat McCloskey and Jorge McFarland. Their stoke was contagious.
On the women’s side, Thiare Thompson from La Jolla ripped all day but fell short in the final to San Diego’s Brooke Young. Marianna Dick edged out Ensenada surfer Julia Dacosta in the Junior Women’s final. In the Open Bodyboard division, 10 year old Natalie Traubmen advanced to the final, along with event champion Peter Cosgrove.
The Dempsey features divisions that are absent from many surf competitions. The kneeboard category has become a favorite for spectators and participants alike. National champions Jack and Chris Beresford made the kneeboard final which was won by Shaun Murphy. The Menehune Expression Session for kids 11 and under showcased the upcoming generation of ocean defenders and surfing talent. When asked what his strategy was for the Expression Session one grom said, ”Have fun and shred.”
Also unique to the Dempsey is the Novak Designs surfboard giveaway. All youth division participants are entered into a drawing and four stoked groms walked away with custom Novak Designs surfboards courtesy of legendary Imperial Beach shaper Jay Novak.
For the first time ever, thanks to Alfredo Ramirez from United Athletes of the Pacific Ocean (UAPO), a longtime event partner, the Dempsey featured the Adaptive Surf Expo. Athletes Beto Gurmilan and Quinn Waitley surfed before a crowd of hundreds that beamed with positive stoke. WILDCOAST looks forward to continue and expand the Adaptive Surf Expo at future Dempseys.
According to WILDCOAST Executive Director Serge Dedina, “Not only was the surfing incredible, the vibe on the beach was electric. Thanks to the event sponsors, volunteers, and of course the participants. Without them we wouldn’t be able to host this legendary event.”
The Dempsey is the first stop of the Baja Bound Surf Series. The next stop will be the Walter Caloca Surf Open at San Miguel in Ensenada, Baja California on December 1 and 2.
WILDCOAST would like to thank all of the sponsors that made the 2018 Dempsey Holder Ocean Festival and Surf Contest possible: The County of San Diego, Port of San Diego, Matuse, Oakley, Da Kine, Dragon, Blenders, Cowabunga, Par Amour, Emerald City, Baja Bound Insurance, Cali Baja, William Edwin Willis Fine Art Photography, Boca Rio, and Novak Designs Surfboards.
Final placings for each division
|Dane Van Cooney||3|
|Menehune Girls (11 and under)||Place|
|Maria Jose Ramirez||5|
|Menehune Boys (11 and under)||Place|
|Jett Rocket Refontaine||4|
|Anne Freire de Carvallo||5|
|Masters (Men 40-49)||Place|
|Jr Men's (15-17)||Place|
|Jr Women (12-17)||Place|