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Name: Mark Thompson

Lives: Ocean Beach

Surfing: South of the pier in Imperial Beach

“It’s a known fact that I.B. has some of the dirtiest water, but I mean, I don’t hear of people getting sick all the time,” says Mark. “People get sick, you know, people swim in Mission Bay. That’s just a stagnant pool…. [Imperial Beach] is probably cleaner than that.”

Even though he lives in Ocean Beach, Mark ventured to Imperial Beach with a friend because “Coming down here is like a mini day out; it’s like going to Oceanside for the day — spending the day, surfing, and hanging out.

“We came down yesterday. The conditions were really good in the morning. And we thought we’d score again. There’s waves; it’s really hollow out here. Lots of closeouts, but a lot of good ones too. You just have to get lucky and find it, and you have to be sitting in the right place.”

For Mark, a perk to the I.B. experience is the lack of competition for waves.

“It was just me and [a friend] out there. You could pick any wave you wanted.”

Along the beach, red signs warned of possible illness from exposure to the sewage-contaminated water. Mark thinks reports of the water’s contamination are a legal step that the City of Imperial Beach has to take, but the water is not as hazardous as the signs say.

“A few days after it rains I wouldn’t even come out here, but it’s been — what, ten days? Over a week. There’s been a lot of surf and a lot of swell.... It dilutes it a little bit and it mellows out. It’s usually what you can’t see — that’s what they’re warning you about.”

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