October 22, 2002

San Clemente, Calif. — More than $266,000 in grants has been awarded by the surf industry to seven environmental groups seeking to protect the world’s oceans, beaches and surf breaks according to the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA). The grants, issued by the industry’s charitable environmental foundation, the SIMA Environmental Fund, is a record amount for the surf industry and brings the total amount raised for the ocean environment since 1989 to just over $2 million.

The SIMA Environmental Fund awards environmental grants annually as a result of the fund-raising efforts of the Waterman’s Weekend benefit golf tournament and gala and the surf industry’s commitment to the ocean environment. The environmental organizations receiving 2002 SIMA Environmental Fund grants include Surfrider Foundation, Heal the Bay, Wildcoast, Surfing Education Association, Orange County CoastKeeper, Ocean Institute and Alaska Wilderness League. These organizations were chosen to receive a 2002 grant based on their dedication of funds received to programs such as clean water initiatives, beach access preservation, surf break protection and environmental education.

“The surf industry and surfing community should be extremely proud of how they take an active role in helping to protect the ocean environment through their involvement and contributions at Waterman’s Weekend,” said Paul Naude, vice president of SIMA, chairman of the SIMA Environmental Fund and CEO of Billabong USA. “This year’s record fund-raising efforts simply prove how devoted this industry is to the environment and how willing they are to give something back.”

The 13th Annual Waterman’s Weekend was held August 16-17, 2002, at the luxurious St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort and Spa and featured more than 800 members of the surf industry and their guests at the Waterman’s Ball and Auction on August 17. The weekend fund-raiser and celebration of surfing began on August 16 with the 2nd Annual Waterman’s Classic Golf Tournament. The sold-out tournament of more than 200 golfers included an eclectic mix of industry movers and shakers, professional surfers, retailers and celebrities, including Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac and Thomas Gibson from the television show Dharma and Greg.”

“This industry never seems to take itself too seriously or do things in typical fashion,” said Dick Baker, president of SIMA and CEO of Ocean Pacific Apparel Corp. “From the ice cream truck on the first hole of the golf tournament to the classic 1973 VW Thing decked out with surf gear in the live auction, Waterman’s Weekend is not your average fund-raiser.” However, the surf industry does take the protection of the ocean environment very seriously, which is clearly evident by the record amount that was raised for the 2002 grant program.

Organizations earmarked for SIMA Environmental Fund grants are selected each year by the Environmental Fund Committee based on the organizations’ activism programs. The committee seeks beneficiaries that are dedicated to programs that keep waters and beaches safe and clean for surfing activities, such as clean ocean programs, preservation of the ocean environment and protection of surf breaks. A longtime SIMA Environmental Fund grant recipient, Surfrider Foundation, has committed its 2002 grant to surf break protection and water quality programs. Water quality is such a hot topic right now, said Surfrider Foundation executive director, Christopher Evans. The SIMA Environmental Fund grant will go a long way in supporting our clean water programs such as the Blue Water Task Force and State of the Beach report. Surfrider will also use the grant to help protect surf breaks through our Beachscape coastal mapping program and chapter activist training.

Surf break protection, specifically in Baja California, is the main focus for first-time SIMA Environmental Fund grant recipient, Wildcoast. The San Diego-based conservation team has been diligently working to stop the Mexican National Tourism Fund (FONATUR) from developing marinas at four surf breaks in Baja: Punta Canoas, Punta Santa Rosalillita, Punta Abreojos and San Juanicao (Scorpion Bay). The grant from the SIMA Environmental Fund is going to be vital in our efforts to stop the destruction of these epic surf breaks, said Serge Dedina, director of Wildcoast. The funds will be especially helpful in developing a study on the economic impact of surfing tourism in the Baja California peninsula, which would be lost along with local jobs if the marina project were to go through.

The Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) is the official working trade association of more than 700 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 ocean environment efforts through its 501(c)(3) charitable environmental foundation, the SIMA Environmental Fund. In the past 13 years, the SIMA Environmental Fund has raised more than $2 million for environmental groups seeking to protect the world’s oceans, beaches and waves.