Life Rolls On, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people suffering from spinal cord injuries surf, will recognize two surfing legends for their contributions to the paralysis community.
Kelly Slater, 11-time surfing world champion, and Rob Machado, who has won some of surfing’s most prestigious contests, such as Hawaii’s Pipeline Masters and the U.S. Open of Surfing, will be honored at the nonprofit’s fundraising event on Nov. 10 at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey.
The event, called Night by the Ocean, is now in its tenth year and is the largest annual fundraiser for the Life Rolls On. The nonprofit provides action-sport activities to paraplegics and quadriplegics. Its signature program, They Will Surf Again, introduces surfing to people affected with spinal cord injuries. Machado and Slater are co-chairs of the foundation.
"We've come a long way and Rob and Kelly have been there for our organization every step of the way,” Jesse Billauer, founder and director of national outreach for Life Rolls On, said in a statement. “Not only were they the first to help me get back into the water after I was paralyzed, but they also chaired our inaugural They Will Surf Again adaptive surfing program that is now offered in nine cities among seven states for the paralysis community. Much of our success could be credited directly to them."
Billauer was a professional surfer who sustained a spinal cord injury in 1996 while surfing. Despite his injury, the ocean’s calling was too strong for Billauer to ignore, and with the help of Machado, he started surfing again. In 2001, Billauer joined They Will Surf Again, which merged with Life Rolls on in 2004 and is now the U.S. Open of Surfing’s official charity.
Previous Night by the Ocean celebrity guests have included Marcus Allen, Dave Annable, Odette Annable, Simon Baker, Jackson Brown, Brooke Burns, Scott Caan, Minnie Driver, Anna Faris, Nicky Hilton, Paris Hilton, Jason Lewis, Jason Mraz, Molly Sims and more.
Life Rolls On is based in Culver City and serves as a subsidiary and West Coast headquarters of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. For more information, visit www.LifeRollsOn.org.