Calling the night a “huge success” and a great way to honor “two of Surfrider’s most worthy volunteers,” Haley Jain Haggerstone, Chapter Coordinator for Surfrider San Diego, took a moment to reflect on the 12th Annual Art Gala Fundraiser in between phone calls and e-mails at the chapter’s Sorrento Valley office.
“We had nearly 150 people attending this year’s event, from neighbors down the street to a who’s who of surfers and activists from across in the county,” said Haley.  Donations from area artists, local businesses and Surfrider supporters helped the San Diego Surfrider chapter push the total raised to over $18,000during the gala last Thursday at the Del Mar Powerhouse.  “That’s $18,000for chapter efforts protecting the ocean, and keeping waves and beaches clean in San Diego County,” Haley added.
Gala Committee chair Olivia Buisimilarly reflected on the evening’s success.  “This year’s artists were hand-selected,” said Olivia.  “We could not be more pleased with the artwork which was donated.”  Pieces included Susan Wickstrand’s “Keep Our Oceans Blue,” the official poster design for the event, and Cherrie La Porte’s magnificent “Glass Surf Fusion” surfboard, which turned heads and drew attention throughout the evening.
Another item sold during the live auction was created on the spot by renowned local artist and surfer Nathan Gibbs, who painted a piece highlighting iconic San Diego coastal locales and surfing spots.  “I have been a staunch supporter of Surfrider over the years through my art and cash donations,” said Nathan.  “But to be painting live for the chapter and to see the faces light up of the clients who bought a piece they witnessed being worked on was special.  I hope to do it again.”
The 12th Annual Art Gala Fundraiseralso honored 2012 award winners Jim Jaffee for his long-time efforts and precedent-setting work maintaining beach access, culminating in the recent Solana Beach seawall victory.  Also recognized was Brook Sarson, a water reuse pioneer who utilizes rainwater harvesting and grey water to use 75% less water than the average San Diego household.
Local radio personality and San Diego Surfrider Communications Coordinator Tommy Hough served as host and emcee.  “Once again, Surfrider members and supporters stepped up and made this a very successful event,” said Tommy.  “The San Diego chapter has demonstrated again and again it can push the money it raises a long way to make a difference in coastal conservation protecting beaches and waterways.”
For more information on the San Diego County Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation, and to see photos from the 12th Annual Art Gala Fundraiser, access the chapter’s Flickr account and social media pages at http://surfridersd.org/.
Surfrider San Diego will be holding an open house at the chapter’s new offices at 9883 Pacific Heights Blvd. in Sorrento Valley on Thursday, May 31st from 4:00 to 8:00 pm.  The public is invited to meet Surfrider staff, volunteers and activists, and enjoy surf movies, music, food and beverages.  For more information contact Chapter Coordinator Haley Jain Haggerstone at (858) 792-9940.