With the conclusion of the Quik Pro and all the coverage that entails, this little nugget momentarily slipped past our radar. Announced the end of last week, come this year's Waterman's Ball (July 8-9) Tom Curren will receive SIMA's Waterman of the Year award, while Robert F. Kennedy Jr. will be honored as the Environmentalist of the Year, and Al Merrick will take home a Lifetime Achievement Award. All told, that's a pretty stacked lineup.
My only question is what took them so long to hook Curren up?
"As surfing's style master, honoring Tom Curren as Waterman of the Year has been a long time coming," admits Doug Palladini, SIMA President and the VP of Marketing for Vans. "His one-of-a-kind, soulful style ignited the surf industry in the 1980s and continues to inspire surfers today. It is truly an honor to recognize Tom for his accomplishments and contributions to surfing at the 2010 Waterman's
And while it's pretty obvious the contributions that Curren and Merrick have had in our surfing lives over the past couple of decades, throwing a Kennedy in the mix may come as a bit of a surprise to some. But alas, the man's most certainly worthy -- and not just because of his namesake. For some years now Kennedy has had a key hand in protecting our country's various rivers, bays, waterways and coastlines. Currently serving as the president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, the organization has splintered off into over 125 different organizations, including Assateaague Coastkeeper, Orange County Coastkeeper, Santa Barbara Channelkeeper and Santa Monica Baykeeper -- all groups that have benefitted from the SIMA Waterman's Weekend in the past. Kennedy is also Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council and Chief Prosecuting Attorney for the Hudson Riverkeeper.
"The SIMA Environmental Board of Directors could not be more elated to honor such a worthy environmentalist and true advocate of our waters as this year's SIMA Environmentalist of the Year," says Paul Naude, who sits on the SIMA Environmental Board of Directors. "Through his environmental law stewardship and advocacy, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has made a direct impact on our oceans and way of life. If it were not for his efforts and leadership of the Waterkeeper Alliance, we would be without the amazing work of four of our very own Waterman's Weekend beneficiaries. Mr. Kennedy has not only begun a program through the Waterkeeper Alliance to protect the bays, channels, coasts, and rivers of today, but the foundation of a movement that will continue to grow and preserve the ocean for the generations to come."