Surf Industry conquer Environmental Business of the Year Award

The Orange County League of Conservation Voters recently awarded their annual environmental leadership awards at the University of California, Irvine University Club.

On behalf of the entire surf industry, the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) accepted the Environmental Business of the Year Award for the industry’s efforts to save San Onofre State Park and the world-famous Trestles Beach by helping stop the proposed 241 Toll-Road. The prestigious award was accepted by Paul Naude, SIMA Environmental Fund Chairman and CEO of Billabong USA.

“I am honored to accept this award on behalf of SIMA members, the surf industry, and beyond that - all surfers,” said Naude. “Being a surfer means you automatically assume the role of being a good steward of the ocean. For SIMA, not only does the very livelihood of our businesses thrive off the preservation of the ocean, but our passion for surfing does as well.”

The surf industry was a key component in the fight to stop the 241 Toll-Road through Southern Orange County. SIMA member companies and surfers alike dominated the 241 Toll-Road Coastal Commission and Secretary of Commerce hearings with a strong voice in opposition of the Toll-Road.

The industry also demonstrated their support by supplying bus transportation to the hearings and with financial contributions to environmental organizations, such as the Surfrider Foundation and the Sierra Club’s Friends of the Foothills campaign.

The award also celebrated SIMA’s commitment to the environment with the efforts of the SIMA Environmental Fund. Over the past 19 years, SIMA has donated more than $4.4 million in grants to various environmental organizations that are dedicated to preserving and protecting the world’s oceans, beaches and waves.

The award comes at a fitting time as the SIMA Environmental Fund is preparing for the 20th annual SIMA Waterman’s Ball, as well as the 9th annual Waterman’s Classic on August 6 – 7, 2009.

Waterman’s Weekend is the official fundraising event for the SIMA Environmental Fund and will raise funds for 18 ocean conservation organizations. Waterman’s Weekend is also a time to honor and celebrate those who have made significant contributions to the surf industry.

This year 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.

Fernando Aguerre (center) and Save the Waves board of directors

Life Is A Wave, the third annual fundraiser event hosted by Save The Waves Coalition in downtown San Francisco, rocked The City last Thursday night, May 14.

The evening hosted a best-ever turnout of ocean lovers and surfer environmentalists partying for a cause, and a record-setting $45,000 was raised. By all counts attendees had a fantastic time, packing event venue 111 Minna Gallery for over six hours straight.

The Bay Area’s own Latin-fused hip hop rockers Bayonics headlined the event along with Kapakahi, top DJs and other live music. Multimedia eye candy included film projections over the bar and a live and silent auction of surfboard art, collectible memorabilia, hosted tours and a trip to Indonesia.

International Surfing Association president and event honoree Fernando Aguerre had live bidders whipped into a frenzy to help raise funds and awareness for Save The Waves’ environmental programs.

Save The Waves presented Fernando with the organization’s 2009 Wave Saver Award for his passionate work defending coastlines and surfing culture around the world.

After the event Fernando commented, “I love Save The Waves – they’re on the front lines protecting our surfing coastline, and I totally support their efforts. I’m honored to have received the Wave Saver award, but I’d like to share it with the thousands of wave savers around the world that volunteer in defense of our waves every day.”

Dean LaTourrette, STW's executive director, was unmistakably stoked from the public’s energy at the event.

"We're humbled and honored to have such a strong turnout and support for our efforts. Save The Waves' primary mission is an environmental one, but we also have a secondary mission of bringing the community together. Let's face it, we like to throw a good bash, and rally everyone around the cause to protect waves at the same time."

Save The Waves sends an enthusiastic thanks to all of its supporters who attended the event, as well as Life Is A Wave 2009 event sponsors, including Billabong B9, Clif Bar, Jim Beam, Joie de Vivre Hotels, Mavericks, New Belgium Brewing, Ocean Vodka, Patagonia, Quiksilver Foundation, SIGG, Surfline, Zola Acaí, and 1% For The Planet.

2009 International Surfing Day

On June 20, 2009, surfers globally will wax their boards, paddle out and catch waves in honor of International Surfing Day presented by Monster Energy.

Founded five years ago by the Surfrider Foundation and Surfing Magazine, International Surfing Day unites surfers from around the world in celebration of the sport of surfing.

As is tradition with the annual holiday, surfers will do their part to give back to our oceans, waves and beaches through various organized events such as clean-ups and restoration projects courtesy of the Surfrider Foundation.

“We are really excited to be celebrating International Surfing Day’s five year anniversary,” says Laura Mazzarella, Surfrider Foundation’s Marketing Manager. “The success and growth since the first celebration is phenomenal, and we look forward to continue growing and raising awareness in the years to come.”

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