Large surf and a record number of competitors marked the 13th Annual WILDCOAST Dempsey Holder Ocean Festival and Surf Contest that took place on Saturday, Sept. 10 in Imperial Beach. “This was the best Dempsey yet,” said contest director Zach Plopper of WILDCOAST. “A huge crowd, incredible surfing, great weather, and and the waves were going off!”
The level of surfing at this year’s Dempsey in the consistent 4-6’ southern hemisphere swell, was unprecedented. Competitors from California, Mexico and South America enjoyed the ultra hollow lefts north of the Imperial Beach Pier. WILDCOAST Executive Director and Imperial Beach Mayor Serge Dedina was ecstatic about the professional caliber surfing in the men, women and junior divisions. “It was incredible to see the talent these surfers have developed over the years. This was the pinnacle of performance at the Dempsey so far!” The Dempsey was also the second surf contest of the binational Baja Bound Surf Series, with contests at San Miguel in Ensenada, Rosarito Beach and Imperial Beach.
An important element of the Dempsey is the participation of children from the U.S. and Mexico. This year more than 75 local junior and menehune surfers competed in the Dempsey free of charge courtesy of generous sponsors and contributors. Four local junior surfers also took home beautiful custom surfboards by Jay Novak Surfboard Designs of Imperial Beach in an opportunity drawing.
Surfing standouts included Thiare Thompson, who took top honors in the Women’s and Jr. Women’s divisions as well as Ana Laura Gonzalez, who was a runner-up to Thiare in both divisions. Alan Cleland, won both the Boys and Jr. Men divisions. Sam and Kiko Nelson of Laguna Beach, also made finals in both the Boys and Jr. Men divisions. Longtime Imperial Beach surfer Cameron Bartz won a stacked final in the Open Mens Division and Imperial Beach’s Anthony Zombrano won the bodyboard division.
While there was a lot of high energy surfing in the water, the beach was buzzing with activity. Over 120 local residents wrote letters to Secretary of State John Kerry requesting his help in stopping sewage spills on the US-Mexico border. “The Dempsey is not only a fundraiser for WILDCOAST, “ said Plopper, “but an important event for advocating for cleaning up our coast and ocean.”
The 2016 Dempsey Holder Ocean Festival would not have been possible without the support of volunteers and of course the event sponsors. WILDCOAST would like to thank the County of San Diego, Unified Port of San Diego, BajaBound, United Athletes of the Pacific Ocean, Da Kine, Jay Novak Surfboard Designs, Emerald City, Pacifica Companies, CowaBunga, Pier South, C-180, Oakley, SurfHut, The Surfers Journal, Jolyn, K-Pasta, d’ames. Philippes, Naked Viking Surf and Kind Bars.
WILDCOAST is an international conservation team that conserves coastal and marine ecosystems and wildlife. For more information visit www.wildcoast.net.
Complete 2016 Dempsey
Kahuna: First Ron Smith; second David Parra; third Pat McCloskey; fourth Mike Mross; fifth Ron Murray.
Masters: First Sean Fowler; second Russell McClanan; third Ed Custodio; fourth Jaime Tuckey; fifth Bryan Guter; sixth George Kindley.
Grandmasters: First Craig Macia; second Memo Mendez; third Bob Bauer; fourth Billy Hudleston; fifth Robert Glick; sixth Jorge McFarland.
Mens: First Cameron Bartz; second Matt King; third Jay Christiansen; fourth Kevin Meza; fifth Daniel Dedina; sixth Gary Trischman.
Womens: First Tiare Thompson; second Ana Laura Gonzalez; third Breanne Custodio; fourth Dari Rose Hill; fifth Paloma Lencioni; sixth Beth Anne Wishbow.
Open Kneeboard: First Jack Beresford; second Sam Coyne; third Henry Laufenberg; fourth Casey Patelski; fifth Brad Colwell.
Jr Mens: First Alan Cleland; second Tanner Ford; third Dakota Hooker; fourth Kiko Nelson; fifth Jared Fearon; sixth Sam Nelson.
Open Longboard: First Russel McClanan; second David Morales; third Sidney Zoehner; fourth Nick Burns; fifth Lincoln Horton; sixth Sammy Rahm.
Menehuenes Boys: First Evon Rios McCay; second Emiliano Mendez; third Tucker Stevens; fourth Jake Lovato; fifth Isaiah Sagredo; sixth Kalany Appel.
Menehuenes Girls: First Hannah Dunsee; second Mariana Valenda; third Marianna Dick; fourth Keanna Fowler; fifth Keala Bradley; sixth Jesse Hill.
Boys: First Alan Cleland; second Kiko Nelson; third Sam Nelson; fourth Peter Stewart; fifth Jack Stewart; sixth Sammy Rahm.
Jr Womens: First Tiare Thompson; second Ana Laura Gonzalez; third Iliana Lopez; fourth Hannah Dunsee; fifth Jordan Alstad; sixth Lily Barraza.
Open Bodyboard: First Anthony Zambrano; second Wally Sani; third Augie Cota; fourth Peterson Fritz; fifth Chris Bragg.