By Patricia B. DwyerFernando Aguerre has been building bridges since he convinced the Argentinean government to re-legalize surfing in 1978. He builds them as president of the International Surfing Association, bringing surfers together from 70 different countries (many of them at war with one another) to surf together peacefully.
Aguerre is also a founding member of Surfing Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) an organization that unites competing surf companies to collectively work for humanitarian and environmental good.
He said this strategy of having people to talk to each other led to his never having a single lawsuit to deal with during his 20 years as co-owner of Reef clothing company.
Aguerre will continue to “make people talk to each other,” on Saturday, Sept. 17 at his annual Liquid Nation Ball, a fundraising event to benefit 13 different ocean and surf-oriented charities.
“You know what the nicest thing in the world is?” Aguerre asked. “It’s to connect two people who need to talk, but who have never met. This is why we bring the organizations here, so they can talk. A lot of people know about them, but people don’t know how to reach them. So we put them in the same room.”
Aguerre and his brother, Santiago, held the first Liquid Nation Ball eight years ago to benefit SurfAid, a foundation that works with disease prevention in the Mentawai Islands. After two galas that raised more than $300,000, Aguerre said they decided to spread the wealth and include 12 more charities.
This year, 13 charities will be represented and Shaney Jo, founder of Keep A Breast, one of the charities that work with breast cancer awareness, will receive SIMA’s Humanitarian of the Year award. This award was given to musician Jason Mraz last year for his work with Life Rolls On.
The evening takes place in Aguerre’s oceanfront home in La Jolla, where he and his girlfriend Florencia greet every guest at the door. Local musician Suzy Skarulis strums and croons as everyone arrives and files through Aguerre’s home, which is loaded with historical surf memorabilia, toward the massive patio on the water where the party takes place.
“At most fundraisers, you buy a table, you sit at the table, you spend the whole night at the table,” Aguerre said. “Here, you arrive and its just hanging out, its six hours of hanging out.”
The table-less event kicks off with a live auction, offering items like a day of golfing with professional surfer Kelly Slater, or an all-paid trip to France for the Quicksilver Pro. At the end, Aguerre auctions off the outfit he is wearing, which is always festive and tends to garner $4,000 to $7,000 per article of clothing.
The evening comes to end after a massive dance party on a clear dance floor over Aguerre’s indoor pool, but not after having raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, as well as awareness for over a dozen charities.
If you goWhat: 8th annual Liquid Nation Ball
When: 6:30 p.m. Sept. 17
Where: La Jolla home of Fernando Aguerre
Tickets: $300; just 350 tickets to be