SIMA's 19th annual Waterman's Weekend benefits 17 environmental organizations.

The Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) Environmental Fund has announced the 17 ocean-environmental organizations named as beneficiaries of the 19th Annual Waterman's Weekend, the surf industry's annual environmental fundraiser to be held on August 21–22, 2008.

The two-day event, comprised of the Waterman’s Classic Golf Tournament and Waterman’s Ball, will take place at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort & Spa in Dana Point, California.

The SIMA Environmental Fund aims to continue it's record-breaking fundraising legacy and raise over $500,000 during the 2008 Waterman's Weekend. All proceeds will be distributed in the form of SIMA Environmental Fund grants to the one new and 16 returning beneficiary groups.

The 17 ocean-environmental organizations will dedicate these funds to programs that will address water quality and ocean pollution issues, defend beaches and surf breaks from development, or provide public education about ocean conservation.

“The SIMA Environmental Fund is extremely proud to fund and support the positive environmental impact these 17 organizations are having on our industry’s most valuable asset – the ocean,” said Paul Naude, chairman of the SIMA Environmental Fund Board and CEO of Billabong USA.

“The groups we have selected to benefit from this year’s Waterman’s Weekend cover a broad spectrum, from ocean educational programming for youth, to researchers collecting pollution data in our oceans. Each one of our beneficiaries is crucial for the protection of our ocean-environment, especially now in a time when we are battling to save some of our most precious playgrounds, such as Trestles or the North Shore. Now, more than ever, we are here to show our support and make our mark on the effort to preserve the oceans.”

Here's the list of the 2008 SIMA Environmental Fund grant recipients along with a description of the programs to which the organizations will be directing their grants:

Surfrider Foundation

Grant will enable efforts to save, improve and protect surf locations, protect the quality of water in the surf zone, ocean environmental education, as well as a specific portion of the grant dedicated to the fight to save Trestles.

Ocean Institute

Grant will support the Watershed Education Program designed for students for hands-on education about the environmental impact of their behaviors.

WiLDCOAST

Dedicated funds will support continued efforts to save surf breaks and ecosystems in Baja California from development, to reduce contamination in Imperial Beach, Coronado and Tijuana, and increase community leadership to address coastal pollution.

Heal the Bay

Funds will support reduction and prevention of marine debris throughout California by advocating for a strong implementation plan by the Ocean Protection Council, as well as support the speaker’s bureau program to conduct environmental presentations to a variety of Los Angeles community groups.

Orange County CoastKeeper

Grant will support efforts to reduce the health threats caused by urban runoff pollution in Orange County, Calif., through advocacy, enforcement, education, promotion of low impact development standards, and water monitoring efforts.

Surfing Education Association

Dedicated funds will be used to prevent hotel growth and destructive legislation from being passed that would threaten surfing sites and public accessibility at Waikiki Beach and other surfing areas on Oahu.

Alaska Wilderness League

Dedicated funds will help protect sensitive marine and coastal areas offshore of the America’s Arctic Refuge, including the Polar Bear Seas, Beaufort, and Chuckchi, from oil exploration or development.

Seymour Marine Discovery Center

Funds will be used to educate young people about the role marine science plays in understanding and conserving the world's oceans through a variety of educational programs and camps.

Algalita Marine Research Foundation

Funds will be used for the Ship-2-Shore educational research voyage for students, development of a Geographical Information System that will track the presence of plastics in the oceans, Coast-2-Coast, which is a public education event about the problem of plastics in the world’s oceans, and the REEF Research Project, which analyzes the coastal waters for the presence of plastic.

Save the Waves Coalition

Funds will support their World Wave Sites Program that is designed to proactively designate and help preserve special waves and surf zones around the world. The funds will also benefit their Chile-based program with the primary goal of reducing pulp mill pollution in several coastal areas that contain surf.

Reef Check

Funds will be used for the continued expansion of programs into Southern California, continued global reef monitoring, and educational events designed to create awareness of the importance of reef conservation.

KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance

Funds will be used to build a coalition of activists through direct action campaigns, incident monitoring by citizens, and ocean education to promote the protection of Hawaii's coral reefs and to support ocean protection issues including securing protection of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, gill nets and cruise ship regulations.

SINADES: Natural Systems and Development Civil Association

Funds will be used for their Young Environmental Ambassadors program, which empowers a group of local youth to conserve and protect the community's most important resources - the beaches and surf breaks of Todos Santos and Pescadero, B.C. S., Mexico.

Sierra Club’s Friends of the Foothills Campaign

Funds will be used exclusively for litigation and legal activities battling the expansion of the 241-toll road and the fight to save Trestles, San Mateo watershed, Donna O’Neill Land Conservancy, San Mateo Campground, and San Onofre State Beach.

Santa Barbara Channelkeeper

Funds will assist their Advocacy and Enforcement Program to prevent stormwater/urban runoff pollution and ensure implementation of strong stormwater management programs. The funds will also support their Stream Team water quality monitoring program and marine education programs for students.

North Shore Community Land Trust (NSCLT)

Funds will be used to permanently protect Pupukea Paumalu and the local waters, community stewardship of public beach access, and other efforts to preserve Oahu’s North Shore.

Assateague Coastal Trust, Inc.

Dedicated funds will assist with their nutrient and chemical contaminant reduction activities, as well as purchase a new boat for the Assateague Coastkeeper’s programs to protect and enhance the natural resources of the Atlantic coastal bays watershed.

Each organization was chosen by the SIMA Environmental Fund Board of Directors based on their commitment of funds to specific projects that will protect and preserve oceans, beaches and/or surf breaks.

In selecting the 2008 SIMA Environmental Fund grant recipients, the SIMA Environmental Fund Board of Directors requested that applicants submit a proposal detailing how the funds would be used to improve the ocean ecology or surf locations. Each organization's proposal included a description of the specific program that the grant would be directed to, including the expected environmental impact.

The Waterman's Ball and Auction will be held Friday, August 22 at The St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort & Spa in Dana Point, California. In addition to raising money for the environment, the Waterman's Ball will be the venue for the surf industry to honor surf icon Mark “Occy” Occhilupo as SIMA Waterman of the Year, musician Jackson Browne as SIMA Environmentalist of the Year, surf contest pioneer Eduardo Arena with the Lifetime Achievement Award, and The Surfrider Foundation and Sierra Club’s Friends of the Foothills Campaign with the Special Achievement Awards.