Aliso Viejo, Calif. (November 2, 2011) – It is with a heavy heart that the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) announces that on November 1, Fernando Aguerre announced his resignation as President of the SIMA Humanitarian Fund and Chairman of the Liquid Nation Ball, effective immediately. Aguerre’s guidance and leadership will remain on the SIMA Humanitarian Fund Board as he takes a Director role.
“Due to health reasons, I’m forced to resign from my positions as the President of the SIMA Humanitarian Fund and Chairman of Liquid Nation Ball, two organizations that I helped start and deeply love,” said Aguerre. “I have been suffering from a spinal disc injury for the last few years that was caused by a surfing accident and after living a life in permanent pain, I underwent surgery last week. Stepping down from these beloved positions was a very tough decision, full of sadness, however I need to focus on my health now. I’m honored and humbled by the last eight years of humanitarian service. My hope was always to help in the building of a better world with more justice, peace and kindness for all. I’m most proud about the planting of humanitarian seeds in the DNA of every surf brand and SIMA.”
Aguerre has given the SIMA Humanitarian Fund eight years of selfless devotion to raising morethan .58 million dollars for global medical relief, urban youth outreach, injury prevention and assistance, and health education and awareness. He has opened his home to thousands of Liquid Nation Ball attendees over the years and opened his heart to the non-profit organizations and causes that he so generously supports.
“Fernando Aguerre represents the very best of surfing as an industry: A visionary entrepreneur dedicated to leading the entire tribe and continually giving back at every opportunity,” said Doug Palladini, SIMA President and Vans’ VP of Marketing. “The SIMA Humanitarian Fund and Liquid Nation Ball will continue to grow and prosper as a direct result of the incredible base Fernando has built.”
Liquid Nation Ball was originally created by Santiago and Fernando Aguerre to support the humanitarian efforts of SurfAid. In 2006 the brothers donated the Ball to the SIMA Humanitarian Fund, a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation. The Ball serves as the official fundraising event for the SIMA Humanitarian Fund. Since 2004, Liquid Nation Ball has donated more than .58 million to surf-related, non-profit humanitarian organizations selected by the SIMA Humanitarian Fund Board of Directors for their efforts focusing on improving the quality of life, health and/or welfare of people. It was Fernando’s passion for life and helping others that created this huge movement and he has inspired thousands of others to dedicate their support and resources as fellow humanitarians to make the world a better place.
“Without Fernando and his passion for humanitarian work – and great parties – there would be no Liquid Nation Ball or Humanitarian Fund,” said Sean Smith, Executive Director of SIMA. ” The world is a better place thanks to Fernando’s efforts. We have some big shoes to fill, but SIMA is committed to carrying on his legacy of providing assistance for those in need.”
The SIMA Humanitarian Fund will continue to follow the vision that Aguerre set forth by serving the deserving surf-related humanitarian organizations that it supports. The SIMA Board of Directors will announce a new SIMA Humanitarian Fund Board President in the coming weeks.
Please see below for Aguerre’s official resignation letter to the SIMA Board of Directors.
For more information about the SIMA Humanitarian Fund, please visit www.sima.com.
Fernando Aguerre’s Resignation Letter to the SIMA Board of Directors
Due to health reasons, I’m forced to resign my positions of president of the SIMA Humanitarian Fund and Chairman of Liquid Nation Ball, two organizations that I helped start, and that I deeply love.
My still frail back health is what tipped the scale on this matter. I’ve been suffering from a surfing accident originated disc injury for a few years, but since early June of 2011, it became so much worse, that my doctor prescribed no surfing and yoga at all, and my daily live has been in permanent pain. While I still organized Liquid Nation Ball 8, after almost 5 months of 4 hours daily of physical therapy, swimming, walking and Pilates, with no progress, I decided to go to the surgery room. So last week I went through a successful 3 hour lower back disc surgery, that will require a 3 to 6 months rehab period. I need to focus on my health.
Stepping down from these loved positions was a very tough decision, full of sadness. I’ve put all my love and resources to make a lasting impact on our world as head of the Humanitarian Fund and Chairman of the Ball. I did not want to resign, but it is the right thing to do, since I can’t give it my 100% as I always did. Without health, everything else means NADA. Tears were falling down my face this morning, while I was preparing my message to you.
My hope was always to help in the building of a better world with more justice, peace and kindness for all. I’m most proud about the planting of humanitarian seeds in the DNA of every surf brand and SIMA. Just like Surfrider did it for the environment, Liquid Nation Ball did it for the humanitarian side of our sport. It started just to benefit SurfAid, and soon after it expanded to benefit 13 organizations. We distributed over 1.5 million dollars and benefited millions of people, while creating a huge blow horn for humanitarian NGOs to tell their story to thousands of people…
I helped my brother Santi run LNB1 at my home, co-organized LNB2 with him, and led the organization of the next six Liquid Nation Balls. After LNB2, when Santi and I donated Liquid Nation to SIMA, with Dick Baker we founded the Humanitarian Fund. Sadly, Dick had his own health issues to deal with, and very soon the whole thing rested on my shoulders, which was fine with me, but for sure much lonelier than I hoped for. I believe that I’m leaving behind a strong legacy of humanitarian work, a good SIMA humanitarian footprint, a solid Liquid Nation Ball brand, and the foundations for SIMA to take this effort to the next level, as I believe it should.
As for the future of the humanitarian path; The SIMA staff is totally prepared on the operational side of the event. I will remain serving in the Board of the SIMA Humanitarian Board as a director, but the board and SIMA will need to find a new president, and new champion of humanitarian causes. I’m sure our industry and sport have plenty of people capable of doing a great job, and willing to walk the walk.
I’m honored and humbled by the last 8 years of humanitarian service, and I thank the SIMA Humanitarian Board, the SIMA Board, the SIMA Staff, and my friends in the industry for all their help, which are too many to name today. Without them everything I did and achieve would not have been possible.
I’m not leaving. I’m just stepping aside to heal myself, so I can recharge my batteries and continue to work for a better world.
Humanitarian for life
The International Surfing Association (ISA), founded in 1964, is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the World Governing Authority for Surfing, StandUp Paddle (SUP) Racing and Surfing, Bodysurfing, Wakesurfing, and all other wave riding activities on any type of waves, and on flat water using wave riding equipment. The ISA crowned its first Men’s and Women’s World Champions in 1964. It crowned the first Big Wave World Champion in 1965; World Junior Champion in 1980; World Kneeboard Champions in 1982; World Longboard Surfing and World Bodyboard Champions in 1988; World Tandem Surfing Champions in 2006; World Masters Champions in 2007; and World StandUp Paddle (SUP) and Paddleboard Champions in 2012.
ISA membership includes the surfing National Governing Bodies of 100 countries on five continents. Its headquarters are located in La Jolla, California. It is presided over by Fernando Aguerre (Argentina), first elected President in 1994 in Rio de Janeiro. The ISA’s four Vice-Presidents are Karín Sierralta (PER), Kirsty Coventry (ZIM), Casper Steinfath (DEN) and Barbara Kendall (NZL).