In order to draw attention to the need for a healthy and clean coast and ocean, WiLDCOAST is hosting the 4th Annual Dempsey Holder Ocean Festival in Imperial Beach at the IB Pier Plaza in California on Sunday October 7th.

“We are stoked that for the third year in a row, Billabong has signed on as the title sponsor of the Dempsey,” said Serge Dedina, Executive Director of WiLDCOAST. “I am honored that Billabong continues to endorse the Dempsey as a surf contest that represents the roots of surfing history in California that is dedicated to protecting our coast and ocean.”

Dempsey Holder was a big-wave surfing legend in California who pioneered surfing the Tijuana Sloughs in the 1930s and was a longtime Ocean Lifeguard in Imperial Beach. Dempsey was recently discussed in HBO’s John from Cincinnati. The character of Hoddy Youger in Kem Nunn’s Tijuana Straits is based on Dempsey.

This year the Dempsey will offer a stand-up paddle surf division under the direction of John Ashley of Peter Holder the son of legendary big wave surfer Dempsey Holder is the honorary chairman of the Ocean Festival.

Other Dempsey sponsors include County of San Diego, TNT Surfboards, Natural Art Surfboards, Surf Diva, Jay Novak Surf Designs, IB Coffee & Books, Karl Strauss Brewing Co., Emerald City The Boarding Source, Tijuana Estuary Reserve, Spirit Realty, Surf Hut, Gravity Skateboards, Surfline and Pacific Realty.

The Dempsey will kickoff on Saturday October 6th at 5pm with a banquet and awards ceremony at the newly remodeled Tijuana Estuary Visitor’s Center overlooking the Tijuana Sloughs.

This year the recipients of the Spirit of Dempsey award will be presented to longtime Imperial Beach Lifeguard Ben Holt for his outstanding commitment to public service and youth recreation. California Assembly member Lori Saldana and Baja ocean activists Darrin and Paulina Polischuk will receive the WiLDCOAST Environmental Award. Surf and roots music band, The Baja Bugz, will provide the evening’s entertainment.

WiLDCOAST once again expects a full crew of California surfing legends such as Mike “Electric Duck” Richardson, Tom Keck, John and Russ Elwell, Richard Abrams, Woody Eckstrom, Black Mac McClendon among others to pay tribute to the memory of Dempsey at the October 6th Banquet and Awards Ceremony.

Contest categories include: Menehune Competitive Boys (11 & under), Menehune Competitive Girls (11 & under), Menehune Noncompetitive (boys and girls), Junior Boys (under 15), Junior Boys (Under 18, Junior Girls (12-17), Open Men's, Open Women's, Longboard, Open Stand-up Paddle Surf, Bodyboard, and Retro Challenge.