3 Decades of Environmental Action and Stewardship.

3 Decades of Environmental Action and Stewardship.

Surf Industry Members Association Environmental Fund Becomes A Priority


Key Takeaways:

- Close to $10M has been granted to environmental groups working to protect our ocean and industry over the past 3 decades.

- This successful grant program is the result of brands, board builders, artists, and retailers coming together to raise much-needed funds for ocean health-focused nonprofits through the annual Waterman’s fundraising event.

The SIMA Environmental Fund Board of Directors has approved $225,000 in grants to the following ocean environmental groups for their dedication and commitment to protecting our most precious resource-the ocean:

5 Gyres Institute
Assateague Coastal Trust
Clean Ocean Action
Heal The Bay
North Shore Community Land Trust
Ocean Institute
Orange County CoastKeeper
San Diego Coastkeeper
Santa Barbara ChannelKeeper
Save The Waves Coalition
Surfers Against Sewage
Surfing Education Association
Surfrider Foundation
Wishtoyo Foundation


“We are incredibly thankful for our environmental beneficiaries that are working on protecting our oceans day in and day out,” said Paul Naude, SIMA Environmental Fund President, “These groups are ensuring that future generations will be greeted with a healthy and thriving ocean on which our industry and millions of ocean enthusiasts rely every single day for tourism and recreation.”

For more than 30 years the SIMA Environmental Fund has been providing grants to organizations around the globe that are addressing the ongoing ocean health issues facing our coastlines. As we near the 35th Anniversary of our environmental efforts, we continue to look for ways to expand our fundraising efforts beyond the annual Waterman’s gathering. 

As the pandemic set in and jeopardized in-person fundraising, SIMA moved quickly to launch the #SurfCleanOceans initiative that saw brands and retailers come together to dedicate a portion of online weekend sales to the SIMA Environmental Fund. This year, to continue the fundraising efforts, SIMA members launched the Waterman’s Online Auction and invited the public to bid on signed contest jerseys from World Champions Kelly Slater and Italo Ferreira. The combination of these three activities allowed us to exceed our 2022 fundraising goal of $250,000 and inch closer to $10M in total grants issued over the past 3+ decades.

Scaling Impact in 2023 and Beyond

“The Surfrider Foundation is honored to receive funding from the Surf Industry Members Association (SIMA) again this year. For decades, the surf industry and SIMA have supported our work to protect our ocean, waves, and beaches. SIMA’s support helped us save Trestles from a destructive freeway project, respond to the recent oil spill in Huntington Beach, and support our national efforts to rid the ocean of plastic pollution.”

Dr. Chad Nelsen | CEO | Surfrider Foundation

“Ocean Institute has been a beneficiary of SIMA's good work for over three decades. Their support in connecting underserved youth with ocean education not only creates life-changing moments for these students but also helps create the critical mass of ocean ambassadors that are needed to protect our ocean. We are thankful to see the members of the surf industry protect what they love by supporting ocean education.”

Dr. Wendy Marshall | President & CEO | Ocean Institute

“Thanks to the support of the SIMA Environmental Fund and its surf industry members, over the past two decades WILDCOAST has been able to preserve millions of acres of some of the world’s most ecologically important coastal and ocean ecosystems. This includes helping to protect over 50 miles of pristine Baja Pacific coastline as one of North America’s largest private land coastal reserves. We are grateful to SIMA for its long-term and impactful support for wild coastlines.”

Serge Dedina, Ph.D | Executive Director | WILDCOAST

The remaining funds have been set aside in an emergency fund to distribute to environmental groups should a need arise. 

The SIMA Environmental Fund has also served as a catalyst to help our individual members to take action and provide their own ongoing support throughout the year for environmental groups outside of the annual Waterman’s fundraiser. Many of our beneficiaries receive financial and in-kind support throughout the year from our members and we encourage our members to continue growing their commitments.

SIMA’s Ongoing Work Will Continue to Grow

SIMA and the SIMA Environmental Fund are continuously working to raise funds for environmental groups but also reduce impact through regular business operations. Through the SIMA Sustainability Business Alliance, formed by a group of passionate members, the small but dedicated group leads efforts to find solutions and help our members take action to reduce paper and plastic waste. 

“While actions speak louder than words, funding is also required to enact results.” Said Vipe Desai, SIMA Executive Director. “This is a deliberate effort on the part of our members to work in collaboration alongside each other to protect our oceans for surfers the world over and the livelihood of our industry.”

From saving waves to protecting fragile ecosystems and educating our future generations, the numerous organizations the SIMA Environmental Fund supports are dedicated to serving coastal communities and the values of our members and the surf industry.

In addition to business sustainability and environmental funding efforts, SIMA Executive Director, Vipe Desai was appointed to NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries Business Advisory Council. The council consists of 15 voting seats representing a wide variety of ocean and coastal interests and members serve as trustees for a network of underwater parks encompassing more than 620,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters overseeing recreation, tourism, inclusive access, commercial and recreational fishing, natural and cultural resource management, marketing, and conservation. 

This appointment represents SIMA’s ongoing commitment and leadership to working with organizations at the grassroots level up to the federal level and bringing the full representation of the surf industry’s collective voice to ocean conservation and protection.

The SIMA Environmental Fund is proud to be a part of the 1% for the Planet network, which connects businesses and nonprofits to protect the planet. If you own a business, consider joining 1% for the Planet and naming the SIMA Environmental Fund as your beneficiary and join us in increasing our impact.

Whether through SIMA’s collective efforts or separate actions of our members, the ocean has risen to the top of the surf industry as a priority. Without a healthy ocean, our industry cannot exist and as long as the ocean needs help, SIMA will be there to offer our support.