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Wednesday, September 21, 2005 | The waves aren’t the only thing that is up lately in Southern California. So is global awareness and fundraising for others, all with a surfer’s twist. A few years back, Dave Jenkins, a medical doctor who likes to surf, chartered a boat in the Mentawi Islands in Indonesia. While there, Dave became alarmed when he noticed locals were losing the battle to combat malaria and other potentially deadly diseases. The good doctor, Doctor Jenkins that is, decided to do something about it and so he formed SurfAid International.
SurfAid’s mission is to rid the Mentawis of preventable diseases. As such, the creative force of La Jollan Santiago Aguerre kicked in. Santi, as he is known, came up with the concept to throw a surfer-friendly party to help fund SurfAid’s mission and increase awareness of the cause. He decided to call it the Liquid Nation Ball. This year marked the second annual sellout for this event.
To the aid comes Santi’s brother Fernando Aguerre, who agreed to host the Liquid Nation Ball at his tri-level oceanfront manse in South La Jolla. Then add in a bevy of beauties to help organize the event. Santi’s pretty wife Cecilia co-chaired along with Transworld Media’s Louise Balma. Fernando’s Latina spitfire beauty and wife Vicky Mussio helped to host the event, too. Throw in handsome multi-world champ Kelly Slater as honorary chair, and Santi Aguerre as chairperson, and you have a very winning recipe to raise monies for SurfAid.
A crowd of 400-plus enthusiastically came in surfer casual to surfer chic.
Former world champs Andy Irons, Peter Townend, Lisa Anderson, Sophie Mulonovich and Debbie Beacham were there. And so were top pros and legends including Greg Noll, Rob Machado, Chris Ward, Brad Gerlach and Layne Beachley.
Among the supporting surf crowd were Southern California attorney and surfer Ron Rodis with pretty real estate agent Linda Fischer, Aimee and Rick Avant of Mad Media, Alessandra and Cordon Baesel of Luce Forward, Robyn Bailis-Sirota, Jeff Baldwin and Erica and Felipe Becerra. Felipe is a former Peruvian surf champ.
Indy and Tyler Callaway wouldn’t miss this fun event and neither would Erika Chang and her famous photographer and swimwear manufacturer husband Aaron Chang. More there were Julie and Jeff Divine of Surfers Journal, Chad DiNenna of Nixon surf watches, Ron Solomon of Primedia, Jacqui and Dave Savage, Jill Schlesinger, Tom Servais, David Soulieres, longboarder great Joel Tudor, Steve Walden of Walden Surf Boards, Dave Gatto of REEF, Dennis Frank of Silvergate Bank, Emma Goldsmith of Maui & Sons, Bob Graff, Cindy and Scott Halleman, photographer Jon Foster, Sofie Howard, Odette and Bryant Leach, Michelle LeBlanc, Maureen and Tom Lochtefeld of Mission Beach’s Wavehouse, Elliott Rabin and Diane Johnston of RidOut Plastics, Shore’s surfer Rob Montgomery of the Il Fornaio Restaurants and Bob McKnight, the big Kahuna of Quiksilver. Bob was there with a number of his working and sponsored entourage. Still more enjoying a perfect San Diego seaside evening were Paul Naude and Shannon North of Billabong Australia, Gabrielle and John Otterson and Angie and Rusty Preisendorfer. That’s the Rusty Preisendorfer of Rusty’s Surf boards and clothing worldwide.
An incredible and bountiful Balinese feast awaited guests on two of the home’s three levels. You had to get past the first level check-in greeting of mojitos first. On the second level, the indoor pool was covered for dancing. And it was well-used. Dry land surf maneuvers never looked so good. Dem’ surfers were stylin’!
Some people take their shirt off for a good cause. On stage, Fernando Aguerre, known for his colorful personality, stunned even this crowd. Fernando took his Dolce Gabbana trousers off, literally … and then his shoes. But it was all for auction. About $7,000 to be precise. Oh yes, don’t worry, Fernando still looked presentably chic swathed in a tablecloth.
Energetic auction bidding like this helped SurfAid International raise a grand total of $240,000 that evening. Take that malaria!
To learn more about SurfAid International, please visit www.surfaidinternational.org. For photo coverage of this event, please visit
Margo Schwab, an alumna of the University of San Diego’s graduate business school, reports on social/charity events, celebrities, restaurants and from time to time breaking scoops.