Captain Watson Presents David Rastovich at the Waterman’s Ball
Captain Paul Watson was honored to present the Environmentalist of the Year Award to freesurfer and activist David Rastovich at the 20th Annual SIMA Waterman's Ball held at the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel, CA on August 7, 2009.
David Rastovich, known simply as "Rasta" in the surfing world, has been a long time supporter of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, participating in a past campaign to the Galapagos Islands to seize illegal longlines and joining forces with members of Sea Shepherd in Taiji in 2007 to bring worldwide media attention to the annual dolphin slaughter. He is also co-founder of the Australian based non-profit, Surfers for Cetaceans.
According to Captain Paul Watson, "Dave Rastovich is the conscience of the surfing community. He knows that his connection with the waves means he is obligated to defend the children of the sea - as he has done in Japan, and Chile, and the Galapagos.”
"All of this environmental work is something I can't say no to," said Rastovich while accepting his award. "I realized as a surfer, I couldn't believe I was one of the only surfers in my community that knew of Paul Watson's actions and knew that as an individual I had the ability to go out and do something about it. I have a debt to pay and I hope we can continue to do the work we do and make a change."
Added Kelly Slater, who was also on hand to congratulate his fellow ocean mate, "I think what Rasta has done is great. He's brought awareness and visibility to a lot of people around the world. The issues have been raised and can't be ignored now even more so. As for Captain Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherds, the time and commitment they've all put forth have put a huge dent into things we'd like to see not exist."
Congratulations Rasta from all of us here at Sea Shepherd!
Captain Paul Watson
Captain Watson, Deborah Bassett, and David Rastovich
David Rastovich with Captain Watson
All photos credit Deborah Bassett