Waterman’s Weekend Surpasses Fundraising Goal & Celebrates Epic Line-up of Honorees

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. (August 12, 2009) – More than 650 professional surfers and surf industry VIP’s joined together to support the preservation of the ocean at the SIMA Environmental Fund Waterman’s Weekend fundraiser on August 6 – 7. The 9th annual Waterman’s Classic Golf Tournament took place at the Monarch Beach Golf Links in Dana Point on August 6 and the 20th annual Waterman’s Ball took place at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel on August 7. Waterman’s Weekend fundraising efforts exceeded the event goal of $400,000 for protecting oceans and surf breaks locally in Orange County and around the world.

“This was an incredible and inspirational evening,” said Paul Naude, president of the SIMA Environmental Fund, while addressing Waterman’s Ball guests. “Thanks to the industry for the support and making this event the success it is year after year. We raised well over our $400,000 goal, and now Waterman’s Weekend has raised more than $4.9 million over the years for environmental causes. A special thank you to all 18 beneficiary groups for their tireless efforts that help keep us in the water, and to our honorees – Rob, Rasta, and the Baker Family – for all you do and mean to our industry.”

The event also honored Rob Machado as Waterman of the Year, surfer and enviro-warrior Dave Rastovich as Environmentalist of the Year, and the incomparable late industry leader Dick Baker with the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award for their powerful influence on the sport, culture and business of surfing.

Along with the honoree award presentations, the live auction was a highlight of the Waterman’s Ball. Audi donated a 2010 Audi A3 TDI Clean Diesel and the heated bidding for the car finally settled at $34,000. The House of Blues of Anaheim donated a private party for 500 people and when it became apparent that the entire room was competing for the package, the House of Blues made a last minute gracious offer to double the package, selling each for $35,000. Fuel TV’s Company Theme Week package was also a big hit as Fuel TV tripled the package for $17,500 each. Other auction items included original art by Wolfgang Bloch, a painting by Pete Tillack, Tavarua surf trips, and a VIP trip to New York for the LUCKY Shops event. The industry again proved its increasing support and commitment for the environment as this year’s Waterman’s Ball silent and live auctions surpassed the amount raised during the Waterman’s Ball in 2008.

“People often ask me why the surf industry is outperforming peer sectors in these challenging times, and one of my answers is that SIMA members don’t just make things to sell,” said Doug Palladini, SIMA President and Vice President of Marketing for Vans. “There is a rich cultural connection to the world’s oceans, beaches and coastlines that separates our brands and makes us special. That connection was on full display this weekend, as our industry gathered to give something back, no matter the economic hurdles.”

Funds raised will go directly to supporting specific programs of 18 non-profit environmental organizations that address water quality and ocean pollution issues, defend beaches and surf breaks from development, and provide public education on ocean conservation. Beneficiaries include: Surfrider Foundation, Ocean Institute, WiLDCOAST, Heal the Bay, Orange County CoastKeeper, Surfing Education Association, Alaska Wilderness League, Seymour Marine Discovery Center, Algalita Marine Research Foundation, Save the Waves Coalition, Reef Check, KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance, SINADES: Natural Systems and Development Civil Association, Sierra Club’s Friends of the Foothills campaign, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, North Shore Community Land Trust, Assateague Coastal Trust, and Santa Monica Baykeeper.

Rob Machado, Waterman of the Year
Waterman of the Year, Rob Machado, is one of the world’s greatest and most iconic surf stars. Over the course of his career – from contest victories to giving back to his communities and the industry – Rob has helped define the modern era of the sport and embodies the true spirit of surfing. The goofyfooter exploded onto the WCT circuit in 1993, ranking among the top 10 surfers in the world for 11 consecutive years and raking up 12 WCT victories along the way. In addition to his competitive success, Rob’s recognizable and impeccable style in the water has earned him an international fanbase. Rob’s 'style’ when he is not surfing is another admirable quality, as seen in his commitment to supporting various charitable causes. Rob has established The Rob Machado Foundation, which through his annual golf tournament supports various charities dedicated to environmental programs within Southern California. His foundation also works closely with the Cardiff Education Foundation on efforts to green Machado’s hometown’s elementary school district. He has also created the Rob Machado Surf Experience, a highly anticipated surf contest for girls and boys 16 and under in Rob’s hometown of Cardiff-by-the Sea, Calif. Rob’s goodwill does not stop on the local-level, as this surf legend has also donated his time for an Indonesian well digging project with the Sumba Foundation, and for the Water Innovation Now (WIN) contest, which gave 500,000 kids the opportunity to come up with innovative ways to conserve our water as a result of Southern California’s water crisis. Legendary surf icon and Machado’s childhood hero, Gerry Lopez, presented Machado with the Waterman of the Year award.

“I am really honored to be considered a Waterman,” said Machado as Lopez handed him his Waterman of the Year award. “This industry that we have is incredible. It’s impressive, the whole industry, how we embrace the sport of surfing and love it. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s magical. I am thankful for everything I have received from everyone I have ever worked with in the industry and I hope I can pass that along in a positive way.”

Dave Rastovich, Environmentalist of the Year
Popular freesurfer and 2009 SIMA Environmentalist of the Year, Dave Rastovich, is a passionate activist and defender of the oceans and waves he surfs. From fighting to protect dolphins and whales from illegal slaughter, to co-founding the grassroots advocacy group Surfers for Cetaceans, to being the face of some of the surf industry’s prominent environmentally friendly product campaigns, protecting our oceans on multiple levels is a natural part of Rasta’s personal and professional lives. As a surfer, Rasta knows first-hand the effects of a polluted ocean and understands he can serve as a role model for other surfers to do more to protect our environment. Rastovich’s award was presented by Captain Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

“All of this [environmental] work is something I can’t say no to,” said Rastovich while accepting his award. “I realized as a surfer, I couldn’t believe I was one of the only surfers in my community that knew of Paul Watson’s actions and knew that as an individual I had the ability to go out and do something about it. I have a debt to pay. Thank you and I hope we can continue to do the work we do and make a change.”

Dick Baker, Lifetime Achievement Award
SIMA was proud to honor its late president and guiding light, Dick Baker, with the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award. Baker became involved with SIMA in 2000 after coming to work for the iconic surf brand Ocean Pacific (Op), and served as president of SIMA for nine years. His presidency was instrumental in creating the vibrant trade association of Orange County based surf lifestyle brands, and he provided unfailing leadership and guidance throughout a time that has marked the association’s largest growth and expansion. Baker claimed to be an 'outsider,’ but he quickly became the ultimate insider, mentoring most every CEO in the industry and championing the surf industry from Wall Street to Main Street. Not only did he lead and help grow the surf industry during his involvement, but he has left a lasting legacy that will continue to guide us for many years to come. Baker’s award was presented by Shaheen Sadeghi, founder and creator of the LAB and the CAMP, and accepted by his wife Una and sons Ryan and Jack.

“Tonight, I am going to share Dick’s message to you,” said Una, while accepting Baker’s Lifetime Achievement Award. “In order to qualify for a Lifetime Achievement Award, one must take the time to mentor, and we all know that here that Dick did that well. Take the time to do the right thing. Take the time to give back. Take the time to make a difference. Doing the right thing is often confused with doing something. Every aspect of our daily lives continues to get more complicated and with less free time. We’re overwhelmed with those less fortunate and causes that may touch our hearts. Make the best of your life, and embrace something that makes a difference, and most of all, you have to share your experiences with others. That is Dick’s message to you this evening.”
Photos from the event are available for media. For media inquires please contact SIMA Communications Coordinator, Mandy Johnson at Mandy@sima.com or 949.366.1164 x7.

The Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) is the official working trade association of more than 300 surf industry suppliers. Founded in 1989, SIMA is a non-profit organization that serves to promote awareness of the surf industry and participation in the sport of surfing through public relations efforts and a variety of services, educational programs and research. In addition, SIMA actively supports oceanic environmental efforts through its 501(c)(3) charitable environmental foundation, the SIMA Environmental Fund. In the past 20 years, SIMA’s Environmental Fund has raised more than $4.9 million for environmental groups seeking to protect the world’s oceans, beaches and waves. The SIMA Humanitarian Fund, also a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation, was established in 2006 to award grants to various surf or boardsport related social and humanitarian non-profit organizations whose efforts are focused on improving the quality of life, health and/or welfare of people.