Home to a proud surfing heritage and committed to supporting the future of professional surfing in America, the City of Imperial Beach will be hosting the Imperial Beach Pro, the first major city stop on the Professional Surfing Tour of America’s 2002 season May 23-26. California’s best professional and amateur surfers will be competing in Men’s Shortboard, Women’s Shortboard and Longboard events just north of the Imperial Beach Pier and Pier Plaza.
“We are honored to have Imperial Beach as our first major venue in 2002,” said Jeff Grell, executive producer of the PSTA. “Imperial Beach has a great legacy in the development of modern surfing, starting with its legendary waterman and lifeguard Dempsey Holder and the renowned big waves of Tijuana Sloughs. ‘IB’ is a perfect example of the classic Southern California beach town, and the PSTA is excited to keep that tradition strong.”
The public is encouraged to attend all events. Surfing trials begin at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 23 and continue to the finals on Sunday, May 26. The awards ceremony will be at 3:30 p.m. Sunday. The contest format features heats of four surfers with the top two advancing. Heats run continuously from approximately 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. every day. Top competitors scheduled to appear include 2001 PSTA Tour Champions Ryan Simmons (Seal Beach, CA), Julia Christian (Carlsbad, CA), and Josh Mohr (Huntington Beach, CA).
“Bringing professional surfing back to Imperial Beach is something that our city has wanted for several years now,” said Barry Johnson, city manager for the City of Imperial Beach. “We have a beautiful coastline and some of the best waves in California — add clean beaches and we have a best location to start the Pro Surf Tour.”
The Imperial Beach Pier Plaza will be the center of a weekend of public events starting early evening Friday with public luau at 6:00 p.m.. There will be a modest fee for dinner but surfing enthusiasts will have a chance to meet the competitors up-close and personal. Saturday events include a 4:30 p.m. performance of alternative band, Honeybucket followed by nighttime surf movies shown free to the public on Pier Plaza. Surfing history displays and surf products will be offered to visitors throughout the weekend, throughout the plaza. Imperial Beach based non-profit organization, WildCoast will provide information on preserving coastal resources and natural habitats.
The PSTA fills a vital space in professional surfing in the United States, not only by helping to fulfill the dreams of young surfers who are seeking success on the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour, but also by serving as a tour unto its own. The PSTA provides a strong competitive venue for surfers throughout the United States without leaving American shores.
Official product sponsors include the New Subaru Baja, Paul Mitchell Salon Haircare, Balance Bar, Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner (1-800-USA-RAIL), YM Magazine, and Outdoor Life Network. Event title sponsors include Foster’s, and Havaianas. Winning competitors wear Paul Mitchell Black Jerseys that signify their number one ranking in their respective divisions. Industry sponsors include, Surf One, Mountain High Resort, Sticky Bumps, Transworld Surf Magazine, Peak Sunscreen, and Surf Quest Media. The Imperial Beach Pro is scheduled to air on Outdoor Life Network on July 1 at 8:30 p.m. Pacific Time. Fans can access Outdoor Life Network TV air dates and times for their specific region by checking out www.prosurfingtour.com