The Hawaii Youth Surfing Development Organization lit up Haleiwa Saturday at the first annual Blue Carpet Benefit, which raised awareness and support for the non-profit’s year-round programs. Hosted at the World Surf League (WSL) Hawaii office in the North Shore Marketplace, the Benefit featured the Oahu premiere of Tim Bonython’s sensational film The Big Wave Project, and a crowd of nearly 100.

Ticket sales, donations and a surf-curated silent auction generated valuable funds for the Hawaii Youth Surfing Development Organization (HYSDO), a 501c3 nonprofit group that works to enhance career opportunities for the next generation of local surfers and aspiring event contractors. Supporters joined the event to help reinforce the upcoming season which includes job training and mentoring, injury prevention, Tour preparation, judging criteria, CPR certification, sports psychology, big wave risk assessment and a new year of partnership with the Farrington High School Business Academy.

The evening kicked off with poke bowls and pupus from Vans Triple Crown sustainable catering partner Ke Nui Kitchen and a surf-curated silent auction that included big ticket items like a 6’0 high-performance Pyzel shortboard, VIP tickets to the Billabong Pipe Masters, a signed Eddie jersey by 2015/’16 winner and current World Champion John John Florence, Hydro Flask prize packs, and more.

The film debuted to an eruption of cheers and the evening maintained a high level of enthusiasm thanks to the stunning cinematography of monstrous waves, horrendous wipeouts and beautiful breaks around the world. Hawaii’s own big-wave athletes Aaron Gold, Jamie Mitchell, Billy Kemper, Mark Healey, Paige Alms, Garrett McNamara and more careened down 30-foot faces on screen while Gold and Mitchell stood among the crowd in support of their community.

During intermission, Il Gelato Hawaii served up local goat cheese and guava and Waialua Chocolate gelato to cool down guests as the silent auction bidding heated up. Winners were announced halfway through the night and included Oceanic Time Warner Cable’s President Gregg Fujimoto, who took home the Pyzel board, surf coach Jason Shibata for the coveted win of the WSL jersey pack and one of the Hydroflask fleets, and local realtor Orion Barrels’ $200 Banzai Sushi gift certificate score. Other auction items included an Xcel Wetsuits prize pack, SoHa Living gift certificate and VIP experiences to the Hawaiian Pro and Vans World Cup.

Industry notables like founder of professional surfing Randy Rarick, Australian surf pioneer Mark Warren, surf artist Hilton Alves and the award-winning filmmaker himself Tim Bonython added to the turnout. Those who could not attend but made valuable contributions included Jerry Coffman of Jerry’s Pizza in Waialua and Friends of Senator Wakai.

A very special thank you to Ke Nui Kitchen, Il Gelato Hawaii, Island Paradise Party Rentals, KT Protection Services, Paradise Beverages and Tim Bonython Productions who all helped make the event a success, and a big mahalo to the organizations that contributed to the silent auction. Thank you to our community members who came out to support the younger generation.