Ocean Icon Jean-Michel Cousteau Receives Environmentalist of the Year Award From Surf Industry Manufacturers Association

August 9, 2012 (Santa Barbara, CA) – In recognition of his life-long commitment and global influence on the importance of our ocean planet and its stewardship, Jean-Michel Cousteau will be honored with the ‘Environmentalist of Year’ award by the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association at its 23rd Annual Waterman’s Ball on August 11, 2012 at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel.

“On behalf of the SIMA Environmental Fund, we are extremely proud to honor Jean-Michel as the SIMA Environmentalist of the Year at the 23rd annual Waterman’s Ball,” said Paul Naude, President of the SIMA Environmental Fund Board of Directors. “The criteria to be selected as the SIMA Environmentalist of the Year is of the highest caliber and is only given to those that have diligently served to protect our oceans, beaches and waves. Jean-Michel has more than exceeded this criteria through his work and compassion for our ocean that transcends global boundaries and generations, inspiring people to care about the stewardship of our ocean. The surf community is eternally grateful for all of his contributions to ocean education, discovery and protection.”

Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of the famous Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau, has been educating and influencing generations of ocean advocates and would-be explorers around the world. Well ahead of his time, as a trained architect, Jean-Michel’s designs embraced what has now become common place in the architectural world of ‘Green Design’. Although significant, his land-based career would be short lived, returning to the sea in the late 1960s where he began organizing and documenting the now famous ocean travels aboard the Calypso. Jean-Michel has been revisiting some of these famous travels - documenting the changes over time that have resulted from human impacts. Through Jean-Michel Cousteau’s Ocean Futures Society his PBS Ocean Adventures documentary in 2006, Voyage to Kure, inspired former President George W. Bush to designate the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands as the first National Marine Monument, at the time the largest marine protected area.

“I’ve always believed real change comes from the heart. To make real change, you must appeal to the heart. That’s what I have always tried to do through my films and educational programs – inspire curiosity and a sense of responsibility through the heart,” said Cousteau.

Repeatedly nominated for Emmy awards and winner of the prestigious Peabody Award for his documentary work on the Mississippi, Jean-Michel has produced over eighty-five television specials and continues his work as executive producer, film-maker and explorer of marine and ocean issues. Traveling the globe to lecture to tens of thousands of students and adults on ocean issues, Jean-Michel and his team are dedicating all of their energies to guiding the Ocean Futures Society into one powerful “Voice for the Ocean.”

About Ocean Futures Society
Ocean Futures Society (OFS) is a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization. With the motto, “Protect the ocean and you protect yourself.” The mission of OFS is to explore our global ocean, inspiring and educating people throughout the world to act responsibly for its protection, documenting the critical connection between humanity and nature, and celebrating the ocean's vital importance to the survival of all life on our planet. OFS is based in Santa Barbara, California, with offices in Paris, France; Lucca, Italy; and São Paulo, Brazil. For more information, visit www.oceanfutures.org.

About Surf Industry Manufacturers Association
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 22 years, SIMA's Environmental Fund has raised more than $5.8 million for environmental groups seeking to protect the world's oceans, beaches and waves. The annual Waterman’s Weekend has served as the main fundraising source for the SIMA Environmental Fund since its inception. The Waterman’s Ball and auction reigns as the weekend's main event, which not only allows the surf industry and friends of the environment to raise money for important oceanic causes, but also honor and celebrate those making significant contributions in the industry with the prestigious annual Waterman of the Year, Environmentalist of the Year and Lifetime Achievement awards. Also, the SIMA Humanitarian Fund, a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation, was established in 2006 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.