SIMA Earmarks $225,000 For Environmental Grants

Proceeds from the 2002 Waterman’s Weekend, the surf industry’s annual ball and golf tournament fundraiser, are expected to top $225,000 and have been earmarked for seven environmental organizations dedicated to protecting and preserving the ocean environment through programs such as urban runoff prevention; surf break protection in Hawaii and Baja California, Mexico; and ocean preservation and conservation education.

The seven environmental organizations chosen to receive a 2002 SIMA Environmental Fund grant are: Surfrider Foundation, Surf Education Association, Wildcoast, Ocean Institute, Orange County CoastKeeper, Heal the Bay and Alaska Wilderness League. Each organization was chosen by the SIMA Environmental Fund Board of Directors based on their commitment of funds to specific projects that will protect and preserve oceans, beaches and/or surf breaks.

“The surf industry prides itself on giving back to the ocean environment each year through Waterman’s Weekend and the SIMA Environmental Fund grant program,” said Dick Baker, president of SIMA and CEO of Ocean Pacific Apparel Corporation (Op). “This year’s fundraising goal is even higher than last year’s record-setting amount, but I’m confident that our industry will rise to the occasion, especially with the group of environmental organizations that have been selected to receive grants.”

The SIMA Environmental Fund is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation formed by the surf industry to provide support in the form of grants to environmental organizations. The annual Waterman’s Weekend serves as the primary fundraiser for the SIMA Environmental Fund through the Waterman’s Classic Golf Tournament and Waterman’s Ball and Auction. This year’s Waterman’s Classic will take place August 16 at the Monarch Beach Golf Links. The Waterman’s Ball will be held August 17 at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort and Spa in Dana Point, Calif. where the industry will honor Hawaiian Senator Fred Hemmings as Waterman of the Year for his role as a pioneer of professional surfing and 1977 world champion Shaun Tomson as Environmentalist of the Year for his efforts to improve ocean water quality.

In choosing the 2002 SIMA Environmental Fund grant recipients, the board of directors requested applicants to submit a proposal detailing how the funds would be used to improve the ocean ecology or surf locations. Each organization’s proposal included a description of the specific program that the grant would be directed to, including a justification of the program and expected environmental impact.

“The selection process for the 2002 SIMA Environmental Fund grant program was very stringent,” said Paul Naude, chairman of the SIMA Environmental Fund Board of Directors and CEO of Billabong USA. “This year’s grant recipients were chosen because of their proven effectiveness in ocean environment protection and preservation. The board of directors wants those who contribute to the Fund through the Waterman’s Weekend to know that their contribution will have a direct effect in preserving the environment, whether it be through a company sponsorship, auction item donation or individual ticket.”

Following is the list of 2002 SIMA Environmental Fund grant recipients along with a description of the program(s) to which the organizations will be directing their grant:

Surfrider Foundation
Will work to protect or enhance surf locations through Beachscape, a coastal mapping program that produces visual tools (e.g., maps) used in surf break protection campaigns. The program utilizes a network of dedicated activists to create a database of coastal conditions and characteristics. In addition, Surfrider will ensure/protect water quality through the Blue Water Task Force program, Respect the Beach education program and State of the Beach report.

Surfing Education Association
Dedicated funds will be used to help stop planned shoreline interventions that will damage surf sites, beaches and water quality around the Hawaiian islands, especially at Waikiki Beach.

Funds will support efforts to save surf breaks in Baja California, such as stopping the Mexican National Tourism Fund (FONATUR) from building marinas at three point-breaks: Point Canoas, Punta Abreojos and Scorpion Bay.

Orange County Coast Keeper
Will work to reduce the health threats to wave riders and swimmers caused by urban runoff pollution of coastal zones in Orange County, Calif. through the Coastal Water Quality Improvement Program .

Ocean Institute
Grant will support the Surfscience curriculum for students in the Field Science Cooperative which educates students about the ocean and the importance of its protection and preservation.

Heal the Bay
Funds will support the Key to the Sea marine environmental education program which focuses on beach and ocean pollution prevention and conservation as the means to protect our coastal water resources.

Alaska Wilderness League
Dedicated funds will help protect sensitive marine and coastal areas offshore of the Arctic Refuge from oil exploration or development. This includes: defeating any potential Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) lease sales along the 105-mile Arctic Refuge coastline and any natural gas pipeline routes offshore of the Arctic Refuge from Prudhoe Bay to the Mackenzie Delta.

Individual tickets for the Waterman’s Ball are scheduled to go on sale in June. To reserve a sponsorship package or for sponsorship information, please contact Sean Smith at SIMA by calling (949) 366- 1164 or via email at Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) is the official working trade association of more than 700 surf industry suppliers. Founded in 1989, SIMA is a non-profit organization that serves to promote awareness of the surf industry and participation in the sport of surfing through public relations efforts and a variety of services, educational programs and research. In addition, SIMA actively supports ocean environment efforts through it’s 501(c)(3) charitable environmental foundation, the SIMA Environmental Fund. In the past 12 years, the SIMA Environmental Fund has raised more than $1.75 million for environmental groups seeking to protect the world’s oceans, beaches and waves.