The Surfrider Foundation’s John Kelly Awards Party

As the North Shore roars to life with giant swells each winter, the Surfrider Foundation’s Oahu Chapter prepares to host its annual John Kelly Awards Party. This year’s event will take place on Sat., Nov. 12th, just in time to kick off the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. The theme for this year’s party is Long Live the Beach!

The awards dinner is held at Waimea Valley, a perfect setting for the party because Surfrider was one of the groups that helped save the valley from developers who wanted to build private luxury homes there.

Now in its 14th year, the party is named in honor of legendary waterman and big-wave pioneer John Kelly, founder of Save Our Surf, who won the first Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002.

The awards fall into three categories: Pro Surfer, Environmentally Friendly Company and Lifetime Achievement.

This year’s winner of the Pro Surfer Award is the bold yet humble big-wave charger Greg Long. Besides winning the ‘Eddie’ and countless other contests around the world, he also serves as an Ambassador for the Surfrider Foundation. Former winners include Kelly Slater, Dave Rastovich, Rochelle Ballard and Crystal Thornburg-Homcy.

The award for Environmentally Friendly Company will be presented to Kailua Beach Adventures, which has championed the fight against plastic pollution. The company is a leader in the eco-tourism industry and really walks the talk by educating all of their customers about how to reduce their plastic footprint. Past awards have gone to progressive companies like RevoluSun, Patagonia, Team Real Estate and Kona Brew Company.

For the Lifetime Achievement Award, this year’s winner is Cynthia Thielen, who has been fighting for the environment for decades. As an attorney, Thielen helped stopped the bombing of Kaho’olawe. As representative for Kailua in the State Capitol, she has been a strong ally in the fight for renewable energy, coastal protection and preservation of our natural environment. Former winners include Denise Antolini, Mark Cunningham, Cora Sanchez and Peter Cole, who helped start the Oahu Chapter.

As part of a new national campaign called Long Live the Beach, Surfrider’s chapters in Hawaii and across the country are celebrating all those who are committed to protecting our coastal areas. So come to the Oahu Chapter’s John Kelly Party on Nov. 12th, raise your glass and help us proclaim, Long Live the Beach! For more info or to reserve tickets, go to
For more info or to reserve tickets, go to


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