Tom Carroll: ageing means big wave surfing | Photo: Rod Owen/Red Bull

Tom Carroll, Ted Danson, Rusty Preisendorfer, and Hobie Alter have been honored at the Waterman's Weekend, at Laguna Niguel.

The 25th edition of the Waterman's Ball, an event held by the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA), aimed to push the fundraising total to the $7 million mark.

All funds raised go directly to supporting specific programs of 19 non-profit environmental organizations that address water quality and ocean pollution issues, defend beaches and surf breaks from development, and provide public education on ocean conservation.

Tom Carroll, two-time world champion, racked up 26 victories (third only to Curren and Slater), finished in the top five a record nine times and never wavered as the most powerful surfer on earth. With all of these titles, he can now add 2014 Waterman of the Year.

"I feel a great honor in getting this award, but also a greater honor that I'm Australian standing up here with you guys being honored, from you guys and from an industry that's so strong and actually really close to my heart," explains Carroll.

Ted Danson, accomplished television and film actor and producer, was named 2014 Environmentalist of the Year. Danson founded the American Oceans Campaign (AOC) in 1987 in order to alert Americans to the life-threatening hazards created by oil spills, off-shore development, toxic wastes, sewage pollution and other ocean abuses. In 2001, the AOC merged into a new organization called Oceana. Oceana is now the world's largest international advocacy group exclusively focused on oceans.

"You are the ocean heroes. If you don't have that thrill of the ocean when you face these [environmental] issues, you get depressed. And if you get depressed, you'll quit. But you guys are so full of the joy of the ocean in your bodies that you are the best spokespeople for the ocean," expressed Ted Danson,

Rusty Preisendorfer, the ultimate shortboard shaper, was awarded the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award. As a craftsman, Preisendorfer deserves credit for perfecting the modern thruster as we know it.

Hobie Alter, the man behind the development of the foam-and-fiberglass surfboard, was honored with the 2014 Special Recognition Award. He was arguably one of the most successful entrepreneurs in surfing history and also saw success with his popular sailboat and radio-controlled glider designs.