Nothing Dampens Spirits at 6th Waterman's Ball

No one ever regarded the surf industry as a source of glamour, but that notion may be reconsidered because of the attire strutted at the sixth annual Waterman's Ball at Pelican Hill Golf Club in Newport Beach on Saturday.

More than 1,000 of the industry's designers, artists and leaders piled in under the white big top for the gala, which raised $175,000 for the American Oceans Campaign, the Orange County Marine Institute and the Surfrider Foundation.

After years held at the paved Noguchi Gardens in Costa Mesa, the new location provided fresh excitement--and some challenges for those in high heels, who had to maneuver a rocky terrain blanketed with black Astroturf.

But that didn't seem to dampen the revelry. The air was fragrant with cigars, as some guests took their smoking jacket fashion--in brocades and leopard--seriously.

Serious swinger suave was provided by Jason Heffron, managing editor of Action Sports Retailer magazine, who sported silver loafers with a Cuban heel, a velvet tux and a silver shirt by Mondorama. Alexandra Bouton, visiting from Guadalupe, was dynamite in a snug number by Hooch.

On the subject of shoehorn dresses, Kathy Cathy, fiancee of Katin's Bill Sharp, looked ravishing in a snakeskin sheath, as did Sara McElroy, the better half of McElroy Designs, in an ivory raw-silk gown by Holly Sharp. Quiksilver's Mellissa Martinez looked stunning in a black slip dress with a pearl-encrusted top.

Sarongs for men were back, but it was artist Malcolm Wilson's kilt that got attention. He and his wife, Kathryn--dressed in thigh-high boots and a modern rendition of wench wear that she designed--looked ready for the Highlands of Pelican Point.

There were more aloha shirts than in any other year too, sported in tribute to fabric guru Walter Hoffman, who was honored as Waterman of the Year.

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