Festival to honor slain surfer

The sixth annual Dane Williams Surf Festival is coming to Huntington Beach on Oct. 26 in memory of the local surfer.

The Huntington Beach High School graduate was drugged, sexually assaulted and murdered in 2008 while visiting San Diego for a trade show.

The event is intended to remember Williams and bring awareness to victims of sexual assault.

The festival falls a few weeks after what would have been Williams' 29th birthday.

"It's a happy, family day," his mother, Valen Williams, said of the event. "It keeps him close in our hearts."

The event is put on by Costa Mesa-based clothing company Hurley — where Williams was an intern at the time of his death — and other local sponsors.

The Williamses credit their son's friends with organizing and pushing the event forward, citing the efforts and support as a testament to the kind of man he was.

Williams "loved surf and travel" and "embraced life," according to his father, Jim Williams.

Danny Stemmer, a childhood friend of Williams' who helps with the festival and will be competing in it, said it is a good chance for loved ones to reunite and celebrate his life.

The surfing contest registration fee is $25. Proceeds go to the Dane Williams Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit started by his parents in an effort to spread awareness and reach out to victims of sexual assault. The Williamses said the foundation plans to donate the money to 1736 Family Crisis Center of Los Angeles and the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

The contest begins at 7 a.m. on the beach at East Coast Highway and Goldenwest Street and will last until about 4:30 p.m. It will include classes for all ages and a longboard and bodyboard division.

T-shirts will be available for purchase, children's games will be held on the sand and food will be provided by Nalu's Island Grill.

Contest winners will be given trophies, and the top six finishers in each division will receive prizes from Hurley. The panel scoring the competition is made up of experienced judges from the other surf competitions held in Huntington Beach.

Registration forms can be found at http://www.danewilliams.org. Entries must be submitted by 6:45 a.m. Oct. 26.

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