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Surf industry prepares for 23rd Waterman’s Weekend

The summertime event is an annual environmental fundraiser and industry awards presentation

by Caitlin AdamsPublished: April 17, 2012 10:30 AM

As the weather gets warmer and beaches get busier, the Surf Industry Manufacturer’s Association (SIMA) is gearing up for its big annual event to celebrate surf culture and raise funds for ocean conservation.

The weekend-long festivities begin Friday, August 10, with the Waterman’s Classic Golf Tournament at the Monarch Beach Golf Links. The next day will see the 23rd annual Waterman’s Ball and auction, hosted by The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel. Twenty ocean and beach conservation organizations will benefit from the event; past beneficiaries include Heal the Bay, the Surfrider Foundation, the Ocean Institute and Orange County Coastkeeper.

Apart from the golf tournament and the fundraiser auction, the Waterman’s Ball is also the organization’s annual awards presentation. SIMA distributes three awards to mark significant accomplishments or contributions to the surf industry.

SIMA has announced the names of the planned honorees that will be recognized at this year’s event for their contributions to environmental conservation, surf culture and other achievements.

This year’s recipient of the Waterman of the Year award is Shane Dorian, a leading figure in the world of big-wave surfing. Dorian has surfed headline-making breakers at locations including Jaws, Teahupoo and Pipe. He has helped pioneer a new school of surfing and competed for years on the Association of Surfing Professionals’ World Championship Tour. Dorian also lends his support –– and name –– to the annual Shane Dorian Keiki Classic, an event that promotes youth surfing and collects food donations.

"As one of the most universally respected big-wave surfers, Shane Dorian is a pioneer in the world of surfing who is constantly chasing the dream of surfing the world's biggest wave," said Doug Palladini, SIMA president and vice president of marketing for Vans. "As a well-seasoned athlete, Shane's skill level, methodical planning and long-term goals for big-wave surfing are all qualities that are constantly pushing the sport of surfing to grow. A true waterman, it is an honor to call Shane this year's Waterman of the Year."

Environmentalist and filmmaker Jean-Michel Costeau will be honored with the organization’s Environmentalist of the Year award. The son of the famed ocean explorer and ecologist Jacques Costeau, Jean-Michel likewise took up the legacy of ocean conservation, becoming a spokesman for the ocean in his efforts. Costau is also the founder of the Ocean Futures Society, an organization focused on fostering conservation ethics, conducting research, providing marine education programs, and promoting forward-thinking environmental policy.

“It is truly our honor to celebrate someone as renowned and distinguished as Jean-Michel who has educated many cultures on the preservation of our world’s oceans thus making an impact on a global scale,” said Paul Naude, chairman of the Waterman’s Weekend Event Committee and president of the SIMA Environmental Fund Board of Directors. “Jean-Michel’s passion for the ocean is contagious. As the founder of the Ocean Futures Society, Jean-Michel lives his life as the perfect example of the organization’s motto, ‘the voice of the ocean.’”

This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award is dedicated in tribute to surfer and entrepreneur Sean Collins, founder of Surfline, a surfing forecast service. Sean Collins first offered weather and swell condition forecasts for surfers as a call-in phone service beginning in 1985. When the technology was ready, Surfline.com was born in 1995, serving surfer around the world. Collins was named one of the 25 most influential surfers of the century by Surfer magazine in 1999.

"In every aspect, Sean Collins' defines the very meaning of the words, Lifetime Achievement," said Palladini, who is also vice president of marketing for Vans. "Sean's passion for surfing, revolutionary business ideas and knowledge of the ocean made him one of the most influential figures in the world of surfing. I don’t think there is a surfer out there that at some point has not relied on the science and technology Sean developed at Surfline to decide when and where to surf. We greatly miss Sean as a trailblazer in the surf world, friend and mentor, but I am confident that his legacy will live on and continue to impact surfers around the world. It is our honor to recognize Sean as the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient."


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