sf-chconfgroupshot09Honolulu, Oahu (Nov. 25, 2009) The North Shore’s Waimea Valley Pavillion was rocking last weekend as the Surfrider Foundation Oahu’s Chapter hosted the 7th Annual John Kelly Environmental Achievement Awards, an evening to honor those who have made outstanding contributions to help Surfrider’s mission to protect Hawaii’s oceans, beaches and waves. The event raised over $7000 for the Oahu Chapter.

 Two hundred and twenty activists and supporters enjoyed the evening, which was sponsored by Barefoot Wine, Kona Brewing Co., and the Triple Crown of Surfing. Musical guests Johnny Helm and Micah Wolf entertained the crowd as they wined, dined and perused the silent auction tables. Popular auction items included a hand-shaped Koa surfboard and artwork by local artists Heather Brown, Clark Takashima and Hilton Alves.  Other auction items included underwater photography lessons from lensman Sean Davey and bodysurfing lessons by world champ Mark Cunningham.

 Former Lifetime Achievement Award winners and Surfrider veterans Peter Cole and Randy Rarick were in attendance to pay tribute to this year’s winners.  Artist Bill Braden graciously accepted the award for Environmentally Friendly Local Company and spoke about his work with the Save Pupukea-Paumalu campaign and how he has tried to paint and preserve Hawaii’s beautiful beaches.  Although he was unable to attend, Patagonia’s founder and president Yvon Chouinard received the Lifetime Achievement Award and asked Quiksilver’s George Kam to accept on his behalf.   Kam said Chouinard was a pioneer who helped bring ecological awareness to the business world with programs like 1% For the Planet, which helps support environmental groups like Surfrider.

 Big-wave surfer and waterman Keith Malloy took the stage to accept the Professional Surfer Award, which was given to him and his brothers Chris and Dan.  Guests were also treated to a preview of 180 Degrees South, an exciting new environmental documentary by Chris Malloy and Woodshed Films, about Yvon Chouinard’s original journey to Patagonia and the Malloy brothers’ efforts to recreate that life-changing trip.

 The Throwdowns, a popular band from Hawaii whose members belong to the Maui Chapter, closed the night out with a rocking set that packed the dance floor.  Surfrider Oahu will use the funds raised from the event for campaigns such as Rise Above Plastics, an initiative to educate the public about the dangerous effects of plastic marine debris on sea birds, marine mammals and the environment. In an effort to stop the proliferation of single-use plastic bottles and bags, the Oahu chapter unveiled their new reusable canteens and canvas tote bags at the party, which will be sold at all Surfrider events. 

 Special to this year’s event was the addition of the first ever Hawaii Chapters Conference, which also took place over the weekend at Camp Erdman. The conference brought together active Surfrider members from Oahu, Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island. Over thirty people attended the inaugural two-day conference which provided a venue for discussion and strategic planning for the chapters across the state. Stuart Coleman, Hawaii’s first Coordinator for Surfrider, was thrilled with the success of the conference.

 “What an amazing weekend!” says Coleman. “We had some great presentations and discussions about our statewide initiatives at the Conference during the day.  And that night, we were able to celebrate and honor those environmental leaders who are helping to protect our environment at the John Kelly Awards Party—it was a great combo!” For pictures and info about the Hawaii Chapters Conference and John Kelly Awards, please visit Surfrider Oahu’s newly redesigned website and photo gallery at www.surfrider.org/oahu.