Rob Machado 

The Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) will honor surfing icon Rob Machado as Waterman of the Year, surfer and enviro-warrior Dave Rastovich as Environmentalist of the Year, and the incomparable late industry leader Dick Baker with the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award, as part of the association’s annual Waterman’s Weekend environmental fundraiser.
 
The 2009 Waterman’s Weekend will be held August 6-7 and will raise funds for 18 ocean conservation organizations. The weekend begins Thursday, August 6, with the Waterman’s Classic Golf Tournament at the Monarch Beach Golf Links, and culminates on Friday, August 7, with the 20th Annual Waterman’s Ball and Auction. SIMA is excited to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Waterman’s Ball by returning the event to The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, Calif.
 
“The SIMA Board of Directors and Environmental Fund have selected a very deserving lineup of honorees, and we believe the surf industry will agree that each of these honorees has undoubtedly earned our respect and appreciation,” said Paul Naude, chairman of the Waterman’s Weekend event committee and president of the SIMA Environmental Fund Board of Directors. “On behalf of the surf industry, SIMA is proud to honor Rob, Rasta and Dick at this year’s Waterman’s Ball for their unique and powerful influence on the sport, culture and business of surfing.”

Waterman of the Year, Rob Machado, is one of the world’s greatest and most iconic surf stars. Over the course of his career – from contest victories to giving back to his communities and the industry – Rob has helped define the modern era of the sport and embodies the true spirit of surfing.

The goofyfooter exploded onto the WCT circuit in 1993, ranking among the top 10 surfers in the world for 11 consecutive years and raking up 12 WCT victories along the way. In addition to his competitive success, Rob’s recognizable and impeccable style in the water has earned him an international fanbase. Rob’s ‘style’ when he is not surfing is another admirable quality, as seen in his commitment to supporting various charitable causes.

Rob has established The Rob Machado Foundation, which through his annual golf tournament supports various charities dedicated to environmental programs within Southern California. His foundation also works closely with the Cardiff Education Foundation on efforts to green Machado’s hometown’s elementary school district. He has also created the Rob Machado Surf Experience, a highly anticipated surf contest for girls and boys 16 and under in Rob’s hometown of Cardiff-by-the Sea, Calif. 

Rob’s goodwill does not stop on the local-level, as this surf legend has also donated his time for an Indonesian well digging project with the Sumba Foundation, and for the Water Innovation Now (WIN) contest, which gave 500,000 kids the opportunity to come up with innovative ways to conserve our water as a result of Southern California’s water crisis.
 
“From U.S. National Champion, to Pipemaster, to winning three U.S. Opens and 12 WCT victories, Rob’s trophy case is quite full and demonstrates the mark he has made on professional surfing,” stated Naude.  “The truly special thing about Rob, however, is the fact he is loved even more out of the water. His graciousness and genuinely altruistic spirit make him an invaluable ambassador and icon for the surf industry. It is our honor to recognize Rob as Waterman of the Year.”
 
Popular freesurfer and 2009 SIMA Environmentalist of the Year, Dave Rastovich, is a passionate activist and defender of the oceans and waves he surfs. >From fighting to protect dolphins and whales from illegal slaughter, to co-founding the grassroots advocacy group Surfers for Cetaceans, to being the face of some of the surf industry’s prominent environmentally friendly product campaigns, protecting our oceans on multiple levels is a natural part of Rasta’s personal and professional lives. As a surfer, Rasta knows first-hand the effects of a polluted ocean and understands he can serve as a role model for other surfers to do more to protect our environment.

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Craig Harland 

Surfing Queensland, the governing body for the sport of surfing in Queensland, has received a timely boost, with the appointment of Craig Harland as its new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Harland replaces Andrew Stark, who served Surfing Queensland for the past eight years, before recently accepting a position with Surfing Australia and the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Australia.

Harland accepted the role of CEO from his post as Manager of NBN Television, a company in which he has worked for 14 years.

Surfing Queensland President Joe O’Neil says Harland’s selection is a step in the right direction for the not-for-profit sporting organisation, which is based at Burleigh Heads.

“Craig’s media background will certainly increase Surfing Queensland’s portfolio,” he said.

“An avid surfer as well, this highlights his uniqueness in his new position as CEO and he will be an extremely valuable asset to the Surfing Queensland team.”

Harland is equally excited with his appointment.

“I’m looking forward to the new role and challenge ahead,” he said.

“Surfing has always been a passion of mine as a sport and lifestyle, and with my media and advertising management background I have some new strategies which I feel will grow the sport in Queensland. I would like to work closely with the national body as a joint force for the best interest of surfing as a sport at every level.”

Surfing Queensland was established in 1964 to develop the sport of surfing in Queensland. Today, Surfing Queensland is a rapidly expanding sporting association committed to servicing the community at large.

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Heiarii Williams 

Local Tahitian surfer Heiarii Williams will compete against the top 45 surfers on earth this week after taking out the Air Tahiti Nui VonZipper Trials at Teahupoo and earning the last remaining wildcard into the Billabong Pro. 

Williams, 22, defeated Hawaiian tube specialist Mark Healey and 64 of the most respected tube riders on earth in idyllic 1.5m waves to claim victory for the second time. 

His impeccable backside tube riding netted him a near perfect 9.17 in the man on man final, easily defeating Healey who had been a standout through earlier rounds.

“It’s so exciting to get in the main event and surf with all of the world tour boys,” said Williams.  “I was the last Tahitian in the event, I needed to win and I did.”

“I saw that wave coming and I knew that wave was going to be good, I got a nine and it pushed me into first place, so I was happy,” he said.  “Respect to Mark Healey, he is a good charger, crazy boy at Teahupoo!”

The talented natural footer is regarded as one of the best tube riders at the break alongside fellow Tahitian Manoa Drollet who was eliminated in round four of the trials. He has proven himself a dangerous opponent in the Billabong Pro main event having eliminated Mick Fanning in round one of the event in 2006, before narrowly losing out to reigning world champion Kelly Slater in round three.

“I won the trials in 2006, and I am excited for the main event, I will try hard to do my best and I want to catch some great waves,” said Williams.

It is likely as the lowest seeded Wildcard, Williams may face current world number one Joel Parkinson in the second round when the Billabong Pro kicks off on Saturday.  Under the new ASP seeding system, Parkinson will forego the sudden death first round and be seeded directly into round two.  Having won the opening two events of the year, he admits he won’t be taking any wildcard lightly. 

“The local Tahitians know it better than anyone, I have been watching a few heats and taking a few points out of it to use in my own strategy,” said Parkinson.  “I have been enjoying my time here before the trials and I’m feeling ready.”

For Healey, 31, the second place result was his best ever at the trials having competed in the event seven times.  The stocky goofy footer looked to have Williams’s number on the way to the final, winning through round four, quarters and the semis in fine style. 

With the swell fading in the final and his Tahitian opponent holding a commanding lead, Healey could only wait for the ocean to deliver the waves capable of finding the scores he needed.  At the heats end he still held priority with the surf failing to materialise.

“I’m happy that I made the final, I just wish I would have had a stronger heat and got some waves,” said Healey.  “The way I look at it is that there are 64 guys that are amazing surfers in this event and to make the top two is insane.”

“I knew it was going to be a tough heat when I saw his  semi, he picked up a huge score without priority and he did exactly the same thing to me,” said Healey.  “He has got a really good connection to this place, and you have to get really good waves to be better than him out here.”

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