On Friday evening in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, many of the industry’s movers and shakers gathered for the final evening of Surf Summit 15, the annual surf industry leadership conference, as ISA President Fernando Aguerre became the second recipient of the Dick Baker Memorial Award.
Dick Baker was the longtime president and guiding light of the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) – which puts together Surf Summit, along with the Board Retailers Association (BRA) – after years of working for iconic surf brand Ocean Pacific (Op). He passed away in April 2009 after losing his fight with cancer.
“This is a very special recognition; it’s very touching for me,” Aguerre said. “Dick Baker was a wonderful leader of the surfing world. He was a very kind human being; always ready to give a helping hand. He always made a difference. He has been, and will continue to be an inspiration for me and countless other surfing leaders.”
The Dick Baker Memorial Award is determined by a committee chaired by Baker’s widow, Una Baker, which considers potential candidates who exemplify Baker’s qualities: being a loving and dedicated parent, courage, compassion, a natural willingness to mentor others with integrity and respect for peers and competitors, and a dedication to advancing the sport of surfing with a passion.
Along with Una Baker, the committee is comprised of Baker’s surf peers, family and friends, including: Baker’s sons Ryan and Jack Baker; surfing legend Shaun Tomson; Bob Graff, the CEO of Graffy, Inc.; Bob Mignogna, the ISA’s Director General; CJ Olivares, Consultant for GrindMedia and Sean Smith, SIMA’s Executive Director. Olivares was the first recipient of the Dick Baker Memorial Award.
“The Dick Baker Memorial Award Committee is so honored to have Fernando as the 2012 recipient,” Una Baker said. “Fernando truly exemplifies the most admirable personal and professional characteristics that Dick possessed. From his endless devotion and love for his beautiful teenage triplets, sweetheart Florencia and family, to his dedication and professional guidance in the surf industry, he has a zest for life and knows how to embrace every day to the fullest. Fernando was like a brother to Dick and today is a wonderful father figure to Ryan and Jack (Mr. Baker’s sons). Like Dick, Fernando is a man of great integrity and can make anything he believes in happen.”
“It was so wonderful having the award at Surf Summit this year,” Ms. Baker continued. “Spending time at the Summit was so heart warming for my sons and I. We could honestly feel Dick’s energy and could witness that his legacy is alive.”
Aside from serving as the president of the ISA since 1994, and helping to grow the worldwide presence of the organization, Aguerre also founded industry-giant Reef in the 1980s with his brother, Santiago. Fernando served as CEO until 2003, before the brothers decided to sell the company in 2005.
“Honoring Fernando with the Dick Baker Memorial Award during the 15th anniversary of Surf Summit could not have been more fitting,” said Sean Smith, Executive Director of SIMA. “Fernando not only shares the amazing attributes and character traits that made Dick so special, but Surf Summit was also his idea. I can’t think of a better way to thank Fernando for being such a great mentor, friend and leader than in front of our entire industry, his family and the Baker family at Surf Summit.”
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).