22nd Annual Waterman’s Ball
Almost half a million dollars in net proceeds rolled in from the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association’s (SIMA) 22nd annual Waterman’s Weekend. The tight knit surfing community gathered Friday, at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Nigel, to honor three very important members of their tribe. Greg Long, was awarded Watermen of the Year, former Malibu Mayor Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner, for Environmentalist of the Year, and George Downing, with the Lifetime Achievement Award. All three individuals have helped change the face of the sport, the industry, and the ocean’s environment.
Athlebrities had a chance to speak with Greg Long, who was very humbled by his peers and the entire surf industries need to honor him for his actions in and out of the water. He also thanked his parents for installing morals and values early on, that have allowed him to live a good, clean, healthy life, and he encourages and continues to inspire others to do the same. When asked why the surf industry is much more into giving back Long explained,“it would just be naïve for people to think to be able to build such an amazing industry and not be giving back and protecting and preserving those same resources for the generations to come… I’m proud to say I am surfer and part of this kind of tribe, and it is just as much about giving back as receiving the joy that the ocean gives us.”
When asked what’s the one thing we could all do to support the Waterman’s cause Long answered, “I think the simple thing is to educate yourself and educate others and once you have that power behind yourself and others then your action will follow suite…it doesn’t take much to realize your obligation as a human being, not to just enjoy your time but, also to hope that others will as well and by educating yourself, it is the most powerful tool.” Greg also supports the Surfrider Foundation, Save the Waves Foundation, Waves for Water and the San Onofre Foundation.
While accepting his Lifetime Achievement Award, George Downing spoke of the three powers on Earth that he learned from legendary surfer John Kelly, the power of God, the power of money and people power. Downing explained, “Now God is so busy he cant pay attention to what we are trying to accomplish here, the legal aspects of what we do, ends up in the courts, and the more money you have the more you go in to courts, the only thing that we have is the power of people. When people get up and do those things that they want to accomplish, we will accomplish it.” He also gave thanks for all that Waikiki has given surfing and said to the crowd, “So, always remember to take care of Waikiki, I leave that in your hands…we’ve got a wonderful sport, take care of it, it nurtures itself if we take care of the facilities that make it all happen.”
The purpose and most important objective of gathering the surf community and 200 member brands that represent SIMA, is giving back and helping to protect the very thing that gives them an industry in the first place, the ocean. Hosted by the wonderful and talented Sal Masekela, this years festivities set a Waterman’s record raising close to $400,000 for SIMA’s beneficiaries.