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ALISO VIEJO, Calif. (August 15, 2011) — More than 675 professional surfers and surf industry VIPs joined together to support the preservation of the ocean at the SIMA Environmental Fund Waterman’s Weekend fundraiser on August 11-12.
The 11th Annual Waterman’s Classic Golf Tournament took place at the Monarch Beach Golf Links in Dana Point on August 11, and the 22nd Annual Waterman’s Ball took place at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel on August 12. Waterman’s Weekend fundraising efforts exceeded the event goal of $400,000 for protecting oceans and surf breaks locally in Orange County and around the world.
“I’d like to pay tribute to the 20 amazing beneficiaries that the SIMA Waterman’s Weekend supports as first off, they all put in countless hours to keep us in the water and secondly, they allow us to continue our business in this great industry,” said Paul Naude, President of the SIMA Environmental Fund and President of Billabong USA.
“Thanks to the surf industry, this year we raised $400,000 and now Waterman’s Weekend has raised more than $5.8 million over the past 22 years for environmental causes. A special thanks goes to our honorees, Greg Long, George Downing and Zuma Jay for their dedication to the sport of surfing as well as their constant efforts to help preserve and protect our ocean.”
The event also honored big wave surfing champion Greg Long as Waterman of the Year, former Malibu mayor and environmental stalwart Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner as Environmentalist of the Year, and Hawaiian big wave pioneer and legendary shaper George Downing with the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Award for their powerful influence on the sport, culture and business of surfing.
Downing’s award was presented by CEO of Quiksilver, Bob McKnight and Mr. Pipeline and surfing legend, Gerry Lopez, Wagner’s award was presented by the former editor of Surfer Magazine, Sam George, and Long’s award was presented by big-wave surfing legend and surfboard shaper, Greg Noll.
“I am honored to be recognized tonight for my actions and accomplishments,” said Long. “It’s been an amazing journey and I look forward to many years to come, but to be here tonight and to be acknowledged and to know that I have been an inspiration to others along the way, that brings me a gratitude that is greater than any of the best waves I have ridden.”
Along with the honoree award presentations, the live auction was a highlight of the Waterman’s Ball. Audi donated the 2012 Audi A4 Avant with 2.0 TFSI, four cylinders, 211 horsepower and legendary Quattro all-wheel drive and the heated bidding for the car finally settled at $40,000. The House of Blues Anaheim donated a private party for 500 people and doubled up the package, selling each for $37,500.
The Doheny Days Music Festival package had a winning bid of $20,000 and included a VIP hospitality suite for 20 people, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to introduce Donavon Frankenreiter on stage, a two night stay at The Riz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, and an Audi A8 loaner car all to complete the experience.
Other auction items included an original art piece by Thomas Campbell on a cut-down piece of a 1960s pop-out surfboard, an exclusive dinner for 10 prepared by The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel’s Executive Chef, a Tavarua surf trip, and a spontaneous trip to see the next running of the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau Big Wave Event.
The dinner table centerpieces, created by Malcom Wilson, were handcrafted, limited edition, miniature replicas of George Downing’s breakthrough circa 1950 big wave gun, “The Rocket,” surfboard. Each surfboard was signed by the 2011 honorees themselves.
Each board was individually glued up from balsa and redwood, then hand-shaped and finished like its full-size counterpart with polyester resin using numerous hand-sanded coats and hand-polished. The centerpieces were auctioned off to the highest bidder at each table.
All funds raised will go directly to supporting specific programs of 20 non-profit environmental organizations that address water quality and oceanpollution issues, defend beaches and surf breaks from development, and provide public education on ocean conservation. Beneficiaries include: Surfrider Foundation, Ocean Institute, WiLDCOAST, Heal the Bay, Orange County CoastKeeper, Surfing Education Association, Alaska Wilderness League, Seymour Marine Discovery Center, Algalita Marine Research Foundation, Save the Waves Coalition, Reef Check, KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance, SINADES:Natural Systems and Development Civil Association, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, North Shore Community Land Trust, Assateague Coastal Trust, Santa Monica Baykeeper, Ocean Defenders Alliance, Paso Pacifico and Cook Inletkeeper.
Greg Long, Waterman of the Year
San Clemente-local and Waterman of the Year, Greg Long, is often referred to as “the best young big wave surfer on the planet.” Like the waves he surfs, his resume of accolades is equally as impressive: winner of the 2003 Red Bull Big Wave Africa, the second longest running big wave paddle event in the world; 2008 champion of the Mavericks Surf Contest; in 2008 he earned an official invitation to the most prestigious big wave event of all time, the Quiksilver Eddie Aikau, held at Waimea Bay Hawaii, and won the event in 2009.
Long has become one of only two surfers in the world to be invited to all three major big wave paddle events. Long is also the winingest surfer at the Billabong XXL Global Big Wave awards, and has been featured in magazine publications such as Sports Illustrated, Outside, Men’s Fitness and numerous others, as well as newspapers and surf films across the globe.
When he’s not tackling the world’s biggest waves, Long gives back to the community by giving motivational presentations to schools and community groups, as well as through his involvement in environmental organizations including Surfrider, Save the Waves, Wildcoast and The San Onofre Foundation.
See page 2 for more on other honorees...