21st Annual Waterman’s Weekend Raises More than $400,000

– Tom Curren, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Al Merrick Also Honored –

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. (July 13, 2010) -- More than 650 professional surfers and surf industry VIPs joined together to support the preservation of the ocean at the SIMA Environmental Fund Waterman's Weekend fundraiser on July 8 -9. The 10th Annual Waterman's Classic Golf Tournament took place at the Monarch Beach Golf Links in Dana Point on July 8, and the 21st Annual Waterman's Ball took place at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel on July 9. 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.

"Supporting the efforts of the 19 ocean-related Waterman's Weekend beneficiaries has never been more necessary than before with the worst man made environmental disaster happening in the Gulf right now," said Paul Naude, President of the SIMA Environmental Fund. "Thanks to the surf industry, this year we raised $400,000 and now Waterman's Weekend has raised more than $5.4 million over the past 21 years for environmental causes. A special thanks goes to our honorees, Tom Curren and Al Merrick for their dedication to the sport of surfing. As well as our Environmentalist of the Year recipient, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. for fighting to protect and preserve our playground and livelihood and inspiring us all."

The event also honored surfing legend Tom Curren as Waterman of the Year, environmental leader Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. as Environmentalist of the Year, and the iconic surfboard shaper Al Merrick with the 2010 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 the 2010 Green Car of the Year Award Winner, a 2010 Audi A3 2.0 TDI Clean Diesel and the heated bidding for the car finally settled at $40,000. The House of Blues of Anaheim donated a private party for 500 people and doubled up the package, selling each for $32,500. Other auction items included two commissioned pieces by Wolfgang Bloch, a Vans Triple Crown of surfing Hawaii VIP Package, a Tavarua surf trip, and a limited edition wood stand up paddle board accompanied by a private surf session with Laird Hamilton.

The dinner table centerpieces, created by Malcom Wilson, were handcrafted, limited edition, miniature replicas of Tom Curren's famous Black Beauty Al Merrick surfboard signed by both 2010 Waterman honorees Curren and Merrick themselves. Each board was created using actual Clark foam and featured a wood stringer, handmade fins and fiberglass finish. The centerpieces were auctioned off to the highest bidder at each table. All the money raised during the centerpiece auction will go directly to the Gulf oil disaster cleanup effort.

All other funds raised will go directly to supporting specific programs of 19 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, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, North Shore Community Land Trust, Assateague Coastal Trust, Santa Monica Baykeeper, Ocean Defenders Alliance and Paso Pacifico.

Tom Curren, Waterman of the Year
Three time World Champion and Waterman of the Year, Tom Curren, is considered the leader of the surfing revolution of the '80s and the source of inspiration for many of today's surfers. As the King of Style who has been emulated the world over, Tom's buttery-smooth rhythm, raw power and unique check turns led him to outsurf the rest. In his reign as World Champion, everyone wanted to surf like Curren. The rivalry in the 80's between Australian wunderkind Mark Occhilupo and California soul champion Curren produced the most exciting competitive clashes in the history of surfing. Their most memorable battle was the Rip Curl Bells Pro semi that clinched Curren’s first World Title in 1985. In 2009, the Billabong Pro at Jeffreys Bay pitted the duo in a "Clash of the Icons" for two expression session heats resulting in a tie with one win each. Outside of the water, Curren developed a memorable surfing career alongside Channel Island's Al Merrick, this year's Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, co-producing and riding many pro surfboard models such as the Black Beauty and the Red Beauty. As an overall ambassador for the sport of surfing, SIMA is proud to have honored Curren as the 2010 Waterman of the Year.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Environmentalist of the Year
Environmentalist of the Year, Robert F. Kennedy Jr, has a heroic reputation as the resolute defender of the environment. Kennedy has been given such prestigious honors as being named one of Time magazine’s "Heroes for the Planet," for his success of helping Riverkeeper lead the fight to restore the Hudson River. The group’s achievement helped spawn more than 125 Waterkeeper organizations across the globe, which includes Waterman's Weekend beneficiary organizations: Assateaague Coastkeeper, Orange County Coastkeeper, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper and Santa Monica Baykeeper. As well as serving as the President of the Waterkeepr Alliance, Kennedy serves as Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council and Chief Prosecuting Attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper. Credited for fighting back anti-environmental legislation in congress, Kennedy is regarded as an international model in stakeholder consensus negotiations and sustainable development. His valiant efforts to preserve and protect our waters has set a precedent in environmental law as well as for the future and SIMA is honored to have such a strong environmental leader as this year's SIMA Environmentalist of the Year.

Al Merrick, Lifetime Achievement Award
For the past four decades the world's top surfers have trusted this year's Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Al Merrick, with their livelihood. As the most well-known shaper of all time, Merrick's fingerprints are not only on the revolutionary boards he shapes, but the progression and culture of the surf industry as well. Merrick hand shaped Waterman of the Year Tom Curren's quiver since Curen was a kid and when Curren's status as a pro surfer exploded on the scene in the early 80s, so did Merrick and his surfboard label, Channel Islands. While no one can surf like Curren, Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, Lisa Andersen or Shaun Tomson, they can at least ride their boards – created by Merrick. Still to this day, Merrick's mission is to provide the most dedicated surfers with the most advanced, performance designs, continuing not only his legacy but his impact on the surf industry into the future. Although Al was not able to attend the Waterman's Ball in person to accept his award, one of Al's longtime riders, Kelly Slater, accepted the award on Al's behalf.

Photos from the event are available for media. For media inquires please contact SIMA Communications Manger, 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 $5.4 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.

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Mandy Johnson
SIMA Communications Manager
949.366.1164 x7