Tom Carroll, Ted Danson, Rusty Preisendorfer, and Hobie Alter Honored
More than 600 surf industry VIPs came together to support the preservation and protection of the ocean at the SIMA Environmental Fund Waterman’s Weekend fundraiser on August 8-9. The 14th Annual Waterman’s Classic Golf Tournament took place at the Monarch Beach Golf Links in Dana Point on Friday, and the 25th Annual Waterman’s Ball took place at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel the following night. In the past 24 years the SIMA Environmental Fund has raised more than $6.5 million through the Waterman’s Ball for organizations dedicated to preserving and protecting our oceans, beaches and waves. In this 25th anniversary year, the sold-out Waterman’s events aimed to push the fundraising total to the $7 million mark.
“SIMA Waterman’s Weekend allows us to give back by helping to protect the very ocean that gave us an industry in the first place,” SIMA President Doug Palladini said in regard to why it is so critical for the surf industry to come together year after year to raise money for the SIMA Environmental Fund grant beneficiaries.The two-part fundraiser weekend kicked off with the Waterman’s Classic Golf Tournament, an event that brings together more than 150 surf industry executives and professional surfers to enjoy a day of golf, on-course entertainment and friendly competitions on the side all in the name of charity. Tilly’s came in first place with the lowest gross score, the Stance team was deemed the best-dressed foursome in the tournament, and Moss Adams was awarded the title of Best Hole Activity with on-course activities including a crowd favorite – big wheel tricycle races.
Waterman’s Ball, a formal affair at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, was at full attendance with attendees excited to be raising money for the environment and supporting the night’s honorees. The 25th Anniversary event celebrated four honorees for their outstanding dedication and powerful influence on the sport, culture and business of surfing.Two-time world champion, Tom Carroll, was named Waterman of the Year; Golden Globe award winner Ted Danson was recognized as Environmentalist of the Year; premier shortboard shaper and icon in shaping history, Rusty Preisendorfer, was given the Lifetime Achievement Award; and in memory of the man widely remembered as the one behind the development of the foam-and-fiberglass surfboard, the Special Recognition Award was given to the family of Hobie Alter.
To maximize fundraising efforts, the Waterman’s Ball also incorporates an annual live auction, a definite highlight of the night. Audi donated a2014 Audi all road featuring Quattro all-wheel drive calling it a premium plus package, and bidding for the car finally settled at $42,500. A day on the set of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation quickly caught attendees attention as it included a possible cameo and lunch with honoree Ted Danson – two of these visits combined raised $28,000.A trip to Vegas for four to attend a Social Distortion concert, get VIP treatment, a meet-and-greet and autographed guitar was another crowd favorite and sold for $14,500. The Honda Center donated a private suite for 14 to a sold out Katy Perry concert and a Ducks game during a highly anticipated 2015 season, which went for $12,500. Other auction items included an exclusive sushi dinner for 10 personally prepared by Chef Aki of Akioni’s Catering, a VIP trip to the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing in Hawaii, and an all-inclusive trip for two to Tavarua Island in Fiji.
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. Beneficiaries include: Alaska Wilderness League, Algalita Marine Research Institute, Assateague Coastal Trust, Clean Ocean Action, Heal the Bay, KAHEA, North Shore Community Land Trust, Ocean Institute, Orange County Coastkeeper, Paso Pacifico, Reef Check, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper, Save the Waves, Seymour Marine Discovery Center, SINADES, Surfers Against Sewage, Surfing Education Association, Surfrider Foundation, and WiLDCOAST.
Tom Carroll, Waterman of the Year
As he accepted his award, Tom Carroll said, “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.”
Tom Carroll, two-time world champion, dominated the 1982 World Cup at 8-to-10-foot Sunset and won three consecutive events, becoming the first goofy foot to earn a professional world title. He won again in 1984 and also won the Surfer Poll that year, proving he was a surfer’s surfer and the people’s choice. During Carroll’s 14-year tenure on the world tour, he 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.
Ted Danson, Environmentalist of the Year
“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,” said Ted Danson as he addressed the industry and accepted his award.
Well-known and accomplished television and film actor and producer Ted Danson is also an avid protector of our environment. 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. Danson is a board member and spokesperson for Oceana. The group has since won more than one hundred important policy victories for the oceans around the world resulting in the protection of more than a million square miles of ocean and the restoration of major fisheries in Europe, South America and the United States. The group will launch campaigns this year in Brazil and the Philippines thanks to funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies. Danson continues to be heavily involved in Oceana’s campaigns and recently wrote a book entitled “Oceana: Our Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them.”
Rusty Preisendorfer, Lifetime Achievement Award
Peter Townend (PT) presented Rusty with his Lifetime Achievement Award Saturday night. Before inviting him on stage, PT spoke of his and Rusty’s long-time friendship and of what a committed and genuine person Rusty is. “He promised to make me boards for the rest of my life,” PT said. “And every year I get a pink surfboard delivered to me. That’s the stature of this man. He’s lived up to that for freaking 30 years.”
Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Rusty Preisendorfer, is considered a premier shortboard shaper and a fundamental part of shaping history. As a shaper, Preisendorfer deserves credit for perfecting the modern thruster as we know it. His shaping career began with his fascination in merely building things, fixing dinged up boards that he found at garage sales at a young age. He quickly turned a love for creation into an unrivaled name in shaping and transmitted that into one of the largest apparel lines in the industry. Preisendorfer is recognized all over the world by a single letter – “R” – and by the time he started Rusty Surfboards in 1985, more than half the world’s Top 16 surfers had ridden his boards. He was the most in-demand shaper anywhere and in 1988 he launched a full clothing line, which grew into one of the largest-grossing businesses in surfing. For 25 years, he worked on creating fuller size master molds, crafting boards for larger surfers and was also one of the first big labels to sign a deal with SurfTech to make molded versions of his designs. Rusty’s impact on the surf world is extensive, and SIMA is proud to honor him with the SIMA Lifetime Achievement Award.
Hobie Alter, Special Recognition Award
In honor of his father, Jeff Alter accepted Hobie’s Special Recognition Award and left attendees with this thought. “In honor of his life, let’s all adopt these morals in today, tomorrow and forever: When things aren’t going so well – think, step back, make a bottom turn and on the way to the nose have a Hobie day.”
Hobie Alter is widely remembered as the man behind the development of the foam-and-fiberglass surfboard. Hobie started shaping balsa boards in the early ‘50s and in 1954 opened the Hobie Surfboards shop in Dana Point, Calif. 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. In 1993, SIMA honored Alter with the organization’s first Waterman of the Year award and SIMA can’t think of a better way to honor his memory than by bringing his legacy full circle to receive the Special Recognition Award.
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Image courtesy SIMA