Rob Machado is SIMA's 2009 Waterman Of The Year

May 8, 2009 | Surfing

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.

“If 1% of surfers got as involved as Rasta, our jobs would be a lot easier and the problems we’re trying to solve with events like Waterman’s would be a lot less,” commented Naude. “Rasta is a model surfer for those who are concerned with protecting our ocean playground. We need to get young surfers engaged in these issues close to our hearts and that is part of why Rasta is such an effective environmentalist ­– he shows goodwill for surfers around the world to aspire to, and shows that as surfers, protecting our environment is the natural thing to do.”

SIMA is proud to honor its late president and guiding light, Dick Baker, with the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award. Baker became involved with SIMA in 2000 after coming to work for the iconic surf brand Ocean Pacific (Op), and served as president of SIMA for nine years. His presidency was instrumental in creating the vibrant trade association of Orange County based surf lifestyle brands, and he provided unfailing leadership and guidance throughout a time that has marked the association’s largest growth and expansion.

Baker claimed to be an ‘outsider,’ but he quickly became the ultimate insider, mentoring most every CEO in the industry and championing the surf industry from Wall Street to Main Street. Not only did he lead and help grow the surf industry during his involvement, but he has left a lasting legacy that will continue to guide us for many years to come.

“Words really cannot describe how deserving Dick Baker is of this Lifetime Achievement Award, nor how sorely he is missed by us all,” said Naude. “Dick was a leader, a mentor, an inspiration, a teacher, a friend, and the ultimate representative of surf industry business. He taught our industry so much, and he helped the outside world to better understand and respect our very core industry. Someone like Dick only comes once in a lifetime, and our lives and industry are so much better for it.  He was, and will continue to be, our guiding light.”

The two-day fundraising event benefits the SIMA Environmental Fund, a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation that awards grants to various environmental groups based on their dedication to preserving and protecting the world’s oceans, beaches and waves. Last year’s event attracted more than 850 people and raised a record $500,000 for 18 ocean conservation groups. The 2009 Waterman’s Weekend environmental beneficiaries and this year’s fundraising goal will be announced in the coming weeks.

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