August 31, 2015

A lot has changed in the San Diego surfing community since the first Luau and Legends Surfing Invitational fundraiser was held 22 years ago.

Surfing legends have come and gone. New records have been set, and broken. Short boards have come into vogue. And sadly, countless more people in this community and elsewhere have been impacted by the ugly disease that is cancer.

One thing that hasn’t changed, however, is the sense of brotherhood and common purpose that connects the surfing community in San Diego. The generosity of the community was on full display during the weekend of August 9 event at Scripps Pier in La Jolla. Some 600 individuals turned out to set a new record by raising an estimated $400,000 for cancer research, according to DPR project manager and 2015 Luau and Legends event Chair, Larz Lock.

The San Diego office has participated in and supported the Luau and Legends event since its inception. For Lock, who is the sixth DPR chairperson of the event over the last 22 years, this year’s event marked the culmination of more than six months and literally hundreds of hours of planning and organizing, working in concert with numerous other volunteers. In addition to Lock, another dozen or so DPR San Diego employees helped in the planning process this year.

This outstanding team of event chairs, volunteers and surfing legends included DPR's Larz Lock (2015 Event Chair), DPR's Trevor Gammelgard (event volunteer), Guy Takayama (surfing legend), DPR's John Kay (2011 Event Chair), and DPR's Alex Panici (2014 Event Chair). Photo courtesy Todd Barnes.

“It’s a massive effort and really a group effort down here,” Lock said. “There are a lot of people that value this event and understand what it is they’re trying to accomplish with cancer research, and are happy to help.”

While it is clearly not a job for the weak-hearted or anyone who shies away from hard work, the payoff came from knowing the effort put in truly makes a difference.

“To see the level of generosity and kindness that this event produces is absolutely extraordinary; I’m humbled by it,” Lock commented. “This is not a black tie gala event like we’ve all been to countless times. It’s a bunch of surfers getting together, who have all had common peril in their lives. They understand the importance of what they are doing and just want to help.”

There were 21 sponsored teams who competed at this year’s event, including more than 20 legends of surfing, surfing aficionados, representatives of the region’s biopharmaceutical industry who are among the larger event sponsors, cancer survivors, and many others from the community. Just a few of this year’s event highlights included:

Peter Townend (PT), the first IPS world surfing champion, added a new and dynamic element by serving as honorary chairperson, co-emceeing the day with Lock.
There was a tribute to two surfing legends recently lost to cancer: Mike Tabeling and Donald Takayama.
A moving video message was delivered by DPR’s Eric Cusick, who is currently in treatment in his personal battle against cancer.
Enhanced participation by newer surfing short board legends continued the changes put in place at last year’s event.
Live music was provided by Tim Flannery, musician and former San Diego Padres baseball player / San Francisco Giants third base coach.

The record money raised this year adds to more than $6 million collected from the event since its inception, all going to support UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center’s cancer research, clinical trials and patient care.