The 15th Annual Dempsey Holder Ocean Festival and Surf Contest Brings Attention to Ocean Issues


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.

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.

Photo: From left to right: Pat McCloskey, Zach Plopper, Alfredo Ramirez, and Jorge McFarland

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.”

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.

Complete List of Surf Competition Results Here: