Surf-A-Palooza Mar 28- Apr 4

AND THE OSCAR GOES TO…: The red carpet won’t be sandy, it will be sand. The tuxedos swapped out for cargo shorts and T-shirts. The Champagne will be of the Pacifico Ballena vintage. The Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) has unveiled plans to recognize surf industry folk by way of the SIMA Image Awards. The inaugural awards ceremony will take place during SIMA Surf Summit 6 in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, May 15-18, 2003.

A call for nominations was sent out to various surf industry honchos, VPs and the like. The categories are Print Ad Campaign of the Year, Breakthrough Manufacturer of the Year, Industry Achiever of the Year, Retailer of the Year and Manufacturer of the Year.

“The whole idea, the goal, if you will, is to recognize the industry,” explained SIMA managing director Sean Smith. “People and companies in the industry deserve to be honored for their innovations, their hard work and their leadership.”

The buzz in the industry is loud. And based on the feedback SIMA is receiving, next year’s awards may be altered a bit. “These are the industry’s awards,” said Smith. “This first year we started out rather broad in our categories. So we may have missed a few spots, but it’s an organic process. It’s going to change as the industry sees fit. We’ll send out a survey and find out what the industry wants.”

Specifically, they need to include an award for the surfboard manufacturer. Certainly some recognition is deserved for those hardworking souls who keep our souls hardworking. And luckily the good folks at SIMA understand this.

“Should there be an award for the surfboard manufacturer? Absolutely,” explained SIMA president Dick Baker. “This year we argued among ourselves about including too many awards. Do they deserve an award? Absolutely. They are the essence of the sport, they are the soul of the sport.”

Surf-A-Palooza says bravo to SIMA for its recognition awards program. Bear in mind it is new, and like new things, there are lessons to be learned and growing pains to endure. But like a fine Pacifico vintage, the awards are overdue and refreshing.

You can vote for the SIMA Image Awards online at sima.com. I just did!

KING MACHADO: The $25,000 JAX BEACH PRO was dominated and won by California’s Rob Machado. For complete results, please visit the ASP website. If you can’t get enough of Machado, check him (and Rocky rights slayer Mikala Jones) pimping Bloomindale’s in the latest FHM.