Hundreds for people assembled last Sunday to support the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation at the Second Annual "Jimmy" Surf Fiesta in Manhattan Beach. Surfers of all abilities came from miles around to participate in the unique charity event that promotes the kind of team work and unconditional encouragement that drives the foundation.
Having grown considerably since last year's inaugural event, the foundation raised over $25,000 for the non-profit organization dedicated to healing mental and physical illness in children through surfing and ocean related activities.
"This year's Surf Fiesta was somehow even better than last year," said foundation president Jeff Miller. "We filled all 160 spots for the competition and had many more spectators and volunteers this year."
Winning first place in the team competition were pro surfer Raph Bruhwiler (Vancouver, BC), Aaron Checkwood (Oceanside), Tim Ferguson (Manhattan Beach), Alonso Vargas (Manhattan Beach), and Diane Silva (Manhattan Beach).
Other award winners included Aaron Osten for Spyder Surfboards Best Maneuver, Sarah Eick for the Sector 9 Best Performance by a Grommet, Anthony Vela for O'Neill Best Tube Ride, Diane Silva for ET Surfboards Best Performance by a Female, Marissa Roman for the Globe Cinderella Story Award, Alonzo Vargas for the Global Surf Industries Best Wipeout and the Stiles Family for Body Glove Best Performance by a Family.
After a full day of fun, sun, and friendly competition, the party regrouped at Sangria in Hermosa Beach for dinner, an awards ceremony, and both a silent and a live auction. Eager supporters bid on donated items including clothing, surfboards, local gift packages and luxury family vacations.
Supporting both the foundation and the local art community was Hermosa beach resident Ron Ciulei, who walked away with an original work of art for the second straight year.
"This is just such a cool event that supports a really great cause," said Ciulei. "I'm sure it'll continue to grow as a yearly celebration."
Festivities continued into the evening. After a moving video honoring the life and legacy of Jimmy Miller, the long time local band Slackstring took the stage and entertained the excited crowd with their laid back, acoustic rock rhythms.
"We've known the Miller family all of our lives," said drummer and surf contestant Matt Muir, "and we were excited to get to play and pay tribute to Jimmy."