PostSurf Synergist of the Year award goes to Paul Naude, President of Billabong USA!
In his other role as SIMA Environmental Fund President, Mr. Naude presided over the Waterman's Ball this past weekend, which raised over $400,000 for various environmental non-profit organizations.
The Waterman's Ball also honored Dave Rastovich with an award for Environmentalist of the Year.
Mr. Rastovich's award was based in part on his role as the "face of some of the surf industry’s prominent environmentally friendly product campaigns," according to the SIMA website.
Not all those in attendance were equally impressed by Mr. Rastovich's Environmentalist of the Year award.
"I don’t understand what he’s really accomplished other than getting his name in the papers," a career environmentalist who asked to remain anonymous told PostSurf. "His cause is an easy thing to get behind - who doesn’t want to save a fuckin’ whale? I think Rasta’s intentions are pure, but Billabong has taken his beliefs and turned them into an eco-marketing campaign for their recycled boardshorts and wetsuits."
To some environmentalists, who despite years of post-graduate education have chosen to work for a pittance at non-profits, Rasta's award is irresponsible at best.
Recently, Rastovich raised a few eyebrows when he attended The Climate Project Australia Asia Pacific Summit, hosted by Al Gore. Prior to the summit, Mr. Rastovich explained “Part of attending this summit is to become an advocate for climate change and to pass on the messages through my own activities.”
Even casual environmentalists noted that climate change brought on by global warming is something that Mr. Rastovich has dedicated himself to preventing... not becoming an advocate for, as he remarked in a
"Rasta's not educated," noted a prominent environmentalist after the Waterman's Ball. "I do shitloads of research and prepare myself, and Rasta is just cruisin', goin' surfing for the cameras - he doesn’t know the details, doesn’t know what’s going on, he’s misinformed in terms of what’s happening with the causes he represents. "
Because of this, some figures in the environmental community have expressed concern that awarding Dave Rastovich as the Environmentalist of the Year sends the wrong message.
"There’s tons of people that are not individual egos, but they do the real work for environmental organizations - they're the ones who make a real difference yet don't get any credit."
As we go to press, the great minds of surf culture are trying to figure out whether Dave "The Face of Billabong's Eco Campaign" Rastovich's Environmentalist of the Year award is in any way related to Paul Naude's dual presidency of both the SIMA Environmental Fund and Billabong USA.
Synergy or pure coincidence?
PostSurf has decided to give Mr. Naude the benefit of the doubt, and celebrate his accomplishment with a PostSurf Synergist of the Year award.