33rd Annual Waterman’s Celebrates Honorees and Environmental Groups to Protect Oceans and Surf Breaks

33rd Annual Waterman’s Celebrates Honorees and Environmental Groups to Protect Oceans and Surf Breaks

Michael Tomson, Italo Ferreira, Anne Earhart, and Beto Bedolfe Honored, While Live Auction Sets Record Bid.

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (Monday, August 23, 2022) — The sold-out 33rd Annual Waterman’s at The Ranch Laguna Beach was a smashing success, exceeding fundraising goals and honoring key industry members and environmentalists at the surf industry’s most-anticipated annual social event. 

Held at The Ranch in Laguna Beach, California on Saturday, August 13, more than 200 of the surf industry’s leading executives, local business leaders, and surf enthusiasts flooded this year’s gala under the stars on an amazing night. In the end, the generous crowd helped exceed the evening’s fundraising goal that go to some of the most impactful environmental organizations working to protect our oceans, beaches, and waves. 

“Waterman’s was a truly electric event this year, with the surf industry joining together raising funds for important environmental groups and honoring these key industry members,” said Surf Industry Members Association (SIMA) Environmental Fund President Paul Naude. “Without a healthy ocean, there is no surf industry. I’m extremely proud of what the industry has done as a group to support clean oceans and surf access over the years. This event alone has raised north of $9 million since 1989.” 

This year’s gala featured a full evening of activities including a thrilling live and silent auction, gourmet food, and spirited socializing. The live auction was one of the highlights of the evening, featuring the highest-selling item ever in the 33-year history of Waterman’s, as an inspired bidder paid $72,000 for a 2023 fully electric Audi Q4 e-tron. A half day at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch also brought out passionate bidders looking to enjoy the perfect waves with a few friends. 

“The surf industry’s highest honors were celebrated and much needed funds were raised for this year’s environmental beneficiaries,” said Vipe Desai, SIMA Executive Director. “It’s great to see so many of our industry members at the event, opening up their hearts and wallets to raise money for our oceans.”

In the evening’s marquee presentation, Waterman’s honored the late, great Michael Tomson with the Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing the Gotcha founder, world tour surfer, and industry icon. His cousin, surf legend Shaun Tomson, as well as former business associates Mark Price and Joel Cooper, gave inspiring speeches honoring MT. 

“There aren’t that many geniuses out there and Michael Tomson was certainly one of them,” Shaun told the captivated crowd. “He had a profound and lasting influence on our culture, lifestyle, business, and he mentored so many people in this group.”

Mark Price reiterated that MT was more than deserving of the honor. “I'm going to make the case that MT is the action sports CEO emeritus,” he said. “Remember, it's so much easier to build on a foundation once it's in place than to build it from scratch.”

Accepting the award was MT’s son, Oliver Tomson. “For me, my father was always a figure who was larger than life and it was hard for me to conceptualize his impact on the world that I call home. All I can say from the bottom of my heart, thank you to all of you for being part of this journey and thank you for honoring my father, Michael Tomson.”

Adding to the evening’s festivities, World Champion surfer and Olympic Gold Medalist Italo Ferreira was honored as Waterperson of the Year and came through on livestream with a great message from Tahiti where he was competing.

Renowned environmentalists and longtime SIMA supporters Anne Earhart and Beto Bedolfe were recognized as Environmentalists of the Year, with Emmy Award winning actor Ted Danson providing a taped congratulation.

Waterman’s was honored to welcome back major sponsors: Audi, Surf Expo and The Ranch at Laguna Beach. 

Waterman’s benefits the SIMA Environmental Fund, a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation that awards grants to various environmental groups based on their dedication to preserving and protecting the world’s oceans, beaches, and waves.  

2022 Waterman’s beneficiaries include:

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, WildCoast, Wishtoyo Foundation.

Watch the evenings celebrations below!

About Surf Industry Members Association

The Surf Industry Members Association is the voice and soul of the surf industry. From research to sustainability, environmental policy, best business practices, education, humanitarian support, cost-saving solutions, industry awards, and to trade show relations, SIMA is committed to a strong and healthy industry by helping its members thrive.