La Jolla, California, August 12, 2013 — On Saturday night, surfing leader and ISA President Fernando Aguerre received one of the biggest honors in surfing when he was given the Waterman of the Year award, at the annual Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) Waterman’s Ball held at the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel, California.
ISA President Fernando Aguerre receives the Waterman of the Year Award from Quiksilver Executive Chairman Bob McKnight (left) and former Billabong President of the Americas and Chariman of the Waterman’s Ball Paul Naude (right). Photo: ISA/Shawn Parkin
Considered the de-facto Academy Awards for the surfing industry, the Waterman’s Ball raised awareness and funds for environmental causes, and also recognized leaders who have committed themselves to the progression of the sport of surfing, with Fernando being the main honoree.
The Waterman of the Year Award is one of the most prestigious awards to receive in the surfing industry. Most of the past recipients have been former professional and world champion surfers. Fernando’s name will now be etched in history books alongside the likes of Kelly Slater, Laird Hamilton, Andy Irons, Rob Machado, wetsuit inventor Jack O’Neill, Endless Summer Filmmaker Bruce Brown, and legendary watermen and women including Rell Sunn, Greg Noll, Gerry Lopez, and Hobie Alter.
“Fernando remains dedicated to helping advance the sport of surfing, which is an important part of embodying the term ‘Waterman’ and is part of the reason he was selected for this honor by SIMA,” said Doug Palladini, SIMA President and VANS Vice President General Manager of the Americas. “From taking the ISA into new regions, lobbying for surfing to become an Olympic sport, to keeping up on the latest with wave pool development, Fernando keeps the advancement of our sport and industry on the forefront of people’s minds.”
The Aguerre Family (from L to R) Julian Vega (nephew) Tiare and Jakue Aguerre (daughter and son), Fernando Aguerre, baby Gina Eve (daughter), Florencia Gomez Gerbi (sweetheart), Kaila Aguerre (daughter) and Axel Benoit (godson). ISA/Shawn Parkin
Aguerre said: “Surfing, and my love for the waves and the oceans are the spinal cord of my life. I will continue to always work for the underdog, the ones in need, with my heart as compass and my passion as fuel. Surfing has been a great bridge builder to unite peoples of diverse races, religions, languages and socio economical backgrounds.” Aguerre added “While it’s great to receive this award, my biggest award will continue to be, being able to touch the hearts of other people and help them fulfill their dreams. And that we can all do it every day in our lives. I try to do it every day. So can you. Giving is the nicest and most fulfilling part of living.”
Fernando received his award alongside Grammy-nominated musicians and surfers Brandon Boyd and Incubus as Environmentalists of the Year; former professional surfer and World Champion, Peter “PT” Townend, who was awarded the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award; and Waves for Water founder Jon Rose, who received a Special Achievement Award for his ongoing environmental and disaster relief work, specifically with Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts.
At the ceremony, Fernando accepted his award wearing one of his signature outfits, a flower print suit and bowtie. The full room of attendees gave him a standing ovation. “It was truly an amazing night,” said Fernando. “I’m humbled by this recognition, which only strengthens my commitment to the road ahead as an ambassador of our culture, in this road of true aloha. Muchas gracias.”
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).