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Photo Gallery: Dempsey Holder Surf Contest and Ocean Festival

More than 150 surfers from southern California and Mexico took part in the competition.

Organized by the environmental group , the Dempsey Holder Surf Contest and Ocean Festival was held Sunday morning and afternoon north and south of the pier in Imperial Beach.

The contest is named after Allen "Dempsey" Holder, a former IB lifeguard and well known surfer whose statue stands tall at the end of Palm Avenue. With more than 150 men and womenof all ages competing, it has grown to become the largest surf competition regularly held in Imperial Beach.

Most participating sufers came from Imperial Beach, Coronado and San Diego.

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Alfredo Ramirez, founder of the United Athletes of the Pacific Ocean, teaches surfing clinics and brings surfers to competitions in San Diego and Baja California. 23 competitors came to the event with him from Mexico.

Mariangel Garcia is editor of the Caracas based Ripeando Magazine. She said she was proud and excited to see two Venezuelans in the mens division finals.

"We see California as a surfing capital," she said.

Julio Nurse took 2nd place in the competition's mens division.

He typically surfs waves on the Caribbean side of Venezuela off the coast of the state of Vargas. Waves are generally small, he said, but can get big during the hurricane season.

"There are opportunities to be seen here by sponsors," he said.

Gary Trieschman and Pacific Realty have sponsored the surf contest since it began eight years ago and helps pay registration for young sufers who can't afford to pay their own.

Assemblyman Ben Hueso and Councilman Jim King were on-hand to present awards to top placing athletes.

"This is an important aspect of Imperial Beach because we are a surf town," King said.

1st place finishers also received custom surfboards made by local shapers like Jay Novak.

High Tide provided upbeat ska-reggae music in the afternoon.

Katy's Cafe's surf contest for young surfers will be held next month.

Serge Dedina, executive director of WiLDCOAST, told attendees before awards were passed out that the Dempsey is a WiLDCOAST fundraiser, not a professional event but that the level of talent on-display has increased since the start.

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