The 18th Annual SIMA Wateman’s Ball

They drank. They laughed. They honored. They spent a lot of money. This past Friday, at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Laguna Niguel, the surf industry's best and brightest assembled for yet another Waterman's Ball. Started 18 years ago by the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association, the Waterman's Ball aimed to recognize noteworthy surfers for their greatness and raise money for environmental awareness at the same time. That message has only grown exponentially as 16 environmental organizations, including Surfrider, Heal the Bay, Save the Waves and others, will receive more than $500,000 from this year's fundraising efforts. On top of that, the acceptance speeches just keep getting better. Special achievement award recipient Kelly Slater - who later admitted he wanted to be a stand-up comedian as a kid - had the crowd roaring with his one liners. Lifetime achievement award winner Randy Rarick - the man behind the {{{Vans}}} Triple Crown of Surfing and practically every other professional surfing event in Hawaii - reminded us what Duke told him when he was a kid: to give aloha and live aloha. (He also reminded us it was Duke's birthday.) Environmental Award recipient Eddie Vedder said that getting an environmental award was "kind of like getting an award for breathing: it's what you have to do to stay alive." And then there was our Waterperson of the Year, four-time world champ Lisa Andersen. Even after all the tough times at home and running away, even after all the wins and waves and glory, she said, family is still the most important thing for her. It was an emotional night - both for surfing and for our oceans. And whenever emotions are running high in the surf world, you're going to find SURFING's photo editor, Steve Sherman, right there in the trenches, capturing our heroes' most tender moments. Here's a sampling from Sherm's "no flash" series at the 18th Annual Waterman's Ball. On behalf of SURFING, congratulations to all of this year's award recipients.

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