When I ask Santiago Aguerre, co-host of the Liquid Nation Ball number 4, to comment on the success of the evening’s auction his eyes enkindle with enthusiasm and fervor. He tells me the story of a man that walks along the shore at low tide, picking up a stranded starfish every few steps and tossing it back into the safety of the ocean. An on-looker approaches the man and mocks his meager efforts to make a difference, especially when there are so many. "But the man just smiles," narrates Santiago, "and he picks up another starfish and tosses it into the ocean, then he looks at the critic and says ' It makes a difference for that one'."
Though it may seem daunting, the Liquid Nation Ball seeks to do the same good will for mankind. “Thirty-thousand dollars for a board tonight,” exclaims Santiago Aguerre, “imagine what we can do for those in need!” Indeed, much good will come from the money raised; fifty percent of the evening’s proceeds will go to Surf Aid, toward projects that will educate and relieve less fortunate people of the world.
To demonstrate the success of this ardent pursuit of humanitarianism, Santiago Aguerre tells me of the approximately 45,000 new, long-lasting insecticide mosquito nets that were dispersed throughout the Mentawai Islands off Sumatra. To a person of meager income, struggling day by day in a tropical region, this seemingly trivial gift of fabric means salvation from the very likely contraction of malaria. Over the past five years, these efforts have helped reduce the rate of infection by 90 percent.
“Malaria,” explains Aguerre, “is like having your worst hangover, times ten, every two months, for fifteen days, and then you die.” The attendees of the Liquid Nation Ball 4 sought to eliminate such a fate. Over 15 items and vacation packages, ranging from private surf lessons with Laird Hamilton to a Heliboard trip to Vancouver, were auctioned off at the La Jolla home of Santiago Aguerre's brother Fernando Aguerre and his wife Vicky. The gracious hosts opened
their doors to 350 friends of the surf industry, providing
every bit of hospitality from food and drinks to live music set to the
backdrop of the Pacific Ocean. Guests were supportive of the event which endeavors to promote awareness about the various cultures surfers encounter as they travel all over the globe. Something that guest Jim Moriarty, CEO of Surfrider Foundation, also felt should be improved. Destinations such as Tavarua and Indo
shouldn't be seen as mere playgrounds for Westerners. Acknowledging the people of these beautiful destinations outside of a tourist experience, and raising awareness about the differences that can be made in their lives is paramount.
"My mother has taught me that giving is better than receiving," shares Fernando Aguerre. Thirteen surf-related humanitarian organizations will receive a great deal of needed help from the auction. These charities include those that focus on health education and awareness, like the Keep a Breast foundation, which travels to places in order to inform women about taking control of their own health and teaching them how to detect breast cancer early on. Other focuses of the charities involved are global medical relief or injury prevention and assistance. Even issues that occur in our own backyards will benefit from the auction, as the Stoked Mentoring, Get a Board Foundation,
Outdoor Outreach and L.A. Surf Bus charities strive to reach out to urban youth. "My overall goal," says Santiago Aguerre, "is to bring humanitarianism to the same level as environmentalism."
And every little bit of effort makes a difference.