Jesse Billauer turned it up a notch at his inaugural Night By the Ocean party in Santa Monica on July 25. Early arriving guests were treated to a buffet dinner and then Jesse unveiled the tear-jerking trailer for a new film based his life. Billauer, who’s become one of the most passionate ambassadors for surfing and spinal cord research since his tragic accident in 1996, confidently shared emcee duties with the boisterous Sal Masakela. Then the party really swung into action. A couple of amped up auctioneers came onstage to raise money for the cause. They tore a hole in the carpet of the Gotham Hall nightclub as they took bids on a variety of items. One of the most unconventional prizes – a day of surfing with Adam Sandler, fetched $3250. That was impressive, but showing the power of Jesse’s celebrity, the chance to spend a day with him later went for $4750.

The large club was packed to capacity, but it wasn’t exactly star-studded. Actresses Amy {{{Smart}}}, “‘Road Trip,”‘ “‘Starsky and Hutch,”‘ and Minnie Driver, “‘Good Will Hunting,”‘ made the scene, but Rob Machadoto receive their special recognition awards. Tom Curren did. He said Jesse’s courage was a huge inspiration to him and then he launched into an intimate acoustic performance of songs from his new album. Curren now seems to have fully risen from a long hibernation and is everywhere these days. Thankfully, he isn’t trying to remake his public persona for these appearances and seems to content to remain shy, humble and lovably awkward in the spotlight.

The musical guests were definitely the highlight of the event. Tommie Fields, Matt Costa and The White Buffalo all turned out rousing sets but highlight of the night was the surprise appearance of reggae legend Ziggy Marley. Ziggy sat right next to Jesse during his set and sang songs from his new cd along with classics from his father, Bob such as, “‘Jamming,”‘ “‘Redemtion Song”‘ and “‘Three Little Birds.”‘ The last song’s chorus provided the most appropriate theme for the night, “‘Singing don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing’s gonna be all right.”‘

The feel-good vibes didn’t end there. The following day, LRO held its 6th Annual Charity {{{Golf}}} Tournament at the {{{Malibu}}} Country Club. Scorching temperatures didn’t stop long-time LRO supporters like OP’s Dick Baker, Tim Curran and a handful of celebrities from teeing up. And this past Sunday, Jesse once again inspired the US Open crowd at Huntington Beach during his Expression Session. Kelly Slater, Rob Machado and a whole gang of other top pros pushed Jesse into a few lefthanders in between 180 reverse airs. When the spray landed, the LRO raised more than $160,000 for the Christopher Reeve Foundation and spinal cord research. For Billauer and crew, a week’s worth of hard work continues to bring a lifetime of stoke. — Jamie Tierney