SOUTH SWELL AND A RECORD TURNOUT FOR THE 12TH ANNUAL WILDCOAST DEMPSEY HOLDER OCEAN FESTIVAL AND SURF CONTEST

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By Eddie Trujillo

Imperial Beach, November 7. With a super fun 2-3’ south swell running and more than 170 contestants, the 12th Annual WILDCOAST Dempsey Holder Ocean Festival and Surf Contest on Saturday, November 7, was a huge success. “The morning conditions were perfect,” said contest director Zach Plopper of WILDCOAST. “With a record turnout cheering them on, competing surfers loved the rippable peaks and especially the lined up hollow lefts that reeled off the Imperial Beach pier all morning.”

Surfers from throughout San Diego County and Baja California battled it out all day in the highly competitive event. First place winners included Mariana Valencia (Menehune Girls 11 under), Tiare Thompson (Junior Women 12-17), Sydney Zoehrer (Women 18+), Charlie Liange (Menehune Boys 11 under), Peter Stewart (Boys 12-14), Shane Berchtold (Junior Men 15-17), Jay Christenson (Men 18+), Sean Fowler (Masters), Larry Kraus (Grandmasters), Jeff Knox (Kahuna), Shane Berchtold (Kneeboard), Terry Gillard (Longboard), and Anthony Zambrano (Bodyboard).

This year for the first time, the Dempsey was part of the binational Baja Bound Surf Series to tie together the sport of surfing across the Californias. “We were stoked to sponsor such a competitive surf series in Baja and San Diego County,” said Geoff Hill of Baja Bound Insurance. “It’s a perfect venue to highlight how surfing benefits our economies on both sides of the border and brings together surfers from both countries in friendship and competition.” The series will end with a third event, the Baja Surf Club Invitational at San Miguel in Ensenada, Mexico, on January 16 and 17. The top ten men and women in the leader standings after the Dempsey and the Walter Caloca will be invited to compete. Stay tuned for details.

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Surfing Dolphins in the Tijuana River Mouth MPA

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Two weekends ago, I spent my Sunday morning with the San Ysidro Girl Scouts at the Tijuana River Mouth State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA). The girls had a long weekend filled with activities and a trip to Los Angeles.

We had planned a beach cleanup, lunch and to then start our new Junior MPA Watch training. When I got to the site, their Girl Scout leader, Irene Barajas, informed me that the girls were really tired and would like to skip lunch and do the cleanup and the training, that way they could finish early.

It was a nice and breezy morning, the water was calm, and few people were out at the beach. We started the cleanup; the girls were very active, picking up cigarette butts, trash bags, plastic bottles and candy wrappers.  After an hour we started the training, I talked to them about why this Marine Protected Area (MPA) is biologically important  and all the different marine wildlife that inhabit the area.  As we were starting the training you could see they were tired, but these girls are tough and were ready to start learning.  I started explaining how to conduct the surveys and what to write on the data sheets when I pointed to the ocean and asked “What do you see?” Suddenly a pod of about three dolphins were swimming in the MPA. The girls got really excited, their eyes lit-up quickly and started talking to each other about how cool it was. Just when we thought it could not get any better, dolphins started jumping up, and putting on a show. We stopped the training for a few minutes and waited until the dolphins headed south.  One girl said, “This is better than Sea World, it’s natural!”

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