Industry News

Big Changes for 27th Annual Waterman’s Weekend as Event Moves to the Ranch at Laguna Beach

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif. (April 12, 2016) — The Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) will honor three-time world champion Mick Fanning as Waterman of the Year; big wave surfer and dedicated environmental activist Ramón Navarro as Environmentalist of the Year; and surfer, shaper and thruster inventor Simon Anderson with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The 27th Annual Waterman’s Weekend will be held August 5-6, 2016, at the recently remodeled The Ranch At Laguna Beach in Laguna Beach, Calif. The weekend kicks off on Friday, August 5, at the Monarch Beach Golf Links with the legendary Waterman’s Classic Golf Tournament, and the fun then moves to the Waterman’s Ball and Auction on Saturday, August 6 at The Ranch. This year’s Waterman’s Ball will feature big changes as the entire event will be held outdoors among the trees on the 9th fairway of The Ranch’s Ben Brown golf course.

Mick Fanning, three-time world surfing champion, will be honored as the 2016 Waterman of the Year. Born and raised in New South Wales, Australia, Mick has overcome some major hurdles in his life while working his way to the top of the sport – from personal losses to suffering a complete hamstring tear in 2004 that sidelined him for six months. Then in 2015, while battling for a fourth world title, Mick infamously battled a shark in a heat during the J-Bay Open. Throughout it all, Mick has always shown the heart of a champion and represented surfing in the most positive way.

Chilean big wave surfer Ramón Navarro grew up on the ocean, helping his father with his fishing business and learning to dive at an early age. Ramón has built his reputation as a big wave rider, and top finishes in contests such as the 2009 Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau and on the Big Wave Tour speak to his talents. However, it’s his work as a committed ocean activist that has SIMA honoring him as the 2016 Environmentalist of the Year. Ramón has worked on numerous projects to preserve his country’s vibrant surf environment, including the current battle to save his beloved Punta de Lobos surf break from development.

Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, Simon Anderson, is the inventor of the modern three-fin or thruster surfboard design – which is widely regarded as one of the most important developments in modern surfboard building. Growing up in the Northern Beaches area of Sydney, Australia, Simon was introduced to surfing at an early age and in 1972 won the junior division of the Bells Beach Classic. But Simon’s interest in surfing went beyond competing and he started shaping boards as his pro surfing career took off. After several wins put him in title contention, Simon began experimenting with a new fin setup at a time when most pro events were being won on twin fins – a setup that did not suit his style. Simon continued to compete at the pro level until the mid-’80s, but the creation of thruster would change surfing forever and he settled into a successful career as a surfboard builder that continues today through his surfboard factory, Energy.

“The 2016 Waterman’s Weekend is going to be especially exciting,” said Paul Naude, SIMA Environmental Fund President. “Not only do we have three amazing surfers who have done so much for the industry and sport, but the event will be all new this year with the Ball being held at The Ranch at Laguna Beach in a outdoor setting. We look forward to honoring Mick, Ramón and Simon and raising money for the conservation and protection of our ocean environment.”

The two-day fundraising event benefits the SIMA Environmental Fund, a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation that awards grants to various environmental groups based on their dedication to preserving and protecting the world’s oceans, beaches and waves. Waterman’s Ball attracts more than 600 people annually and is expected to raise close to $400,000 for 18 ocean conservation groups this year. A list of the 2016 Waterman’s Weekend environmental beneficiaries can be found at

Sponsorship packages for the 2016 Waterman’s Classic and Waterman’s Ball will go on sale shortly. Individual tickets for the Waterman’s Ball are scheduled to go on sale in mid-June. For more information or to reserve a sponsorship package, please contact Shannon Park Zseleczky, SIMA Development Manager, by calling (949) 366-1164 x 5 or by

About SIMA
The Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) is the official working trade association of more than 300 surf industry suppliers. Founded in 1989, SIMA is a non-profit organization that serves to promote awareness of the surf industry and participation in the sport of surfing through public relations efforts and a variety of services, educational programs and research. In addition, SIMA actively supports oceanic environmental efforts through its 501(c)(3) charitable environmental foundation, the SIMA Environmental Fund. In the past 26 years, SIMA’s Environmental Fund has raised more than $7 million for environmental groups seeking to protect the world’s oceans, beaches and waves. The SIMA Humanitarian Fund, also a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation, was established to award grants to various surf or boardsport related social and humanitarian non-profit organizations whose efforts are focused on improving the quality of life, health and/or welfare of people. Since 2004 the SIMA Humanitarian Fund has raised and donated more than $1.7 million to surf-related non-profit humanitarian organizations. For more information regarding SIMA, please visit