Wednesday, September 2, 2009

El "Che" Fernando

In Argentina the word "che" is used much like Californians use "dude" to address friends and passersby. This is a short profile of Fernando Aguerre: Argentine firecracker, surf industry magnate, philanthropist, ISA president, constant fundraiser and all-around colorful character, Fernando - or "Fer" as his close friends and family call him - is just another che. And he is a major fan of Ernesto "Che" Guevara - when I arrived at his home he was unpacking two original signed black and white photo prints of the most famous "Che" in action, including the above portrait, "Guerrillero HerĂ³ico."

Fernando and I met years ago in National City, California, at the headquarters of Reef Brazil. He is the co-founder of that mega surf brand and when we met he was in the process of selling it and becoming a multi-multi-millionaire. Fernando brims with energy and enthusiasm for everything - and it shows in the many business and philanthropic ventures he is a part of. If someone is somehow involved in the surf industry, Fernando knows them and has probably hugged them as only a South American can. No longer tied to Reef Brazil nor their famous thong bikini ass ads that he created, Fernando now devotes his time to surfing, family, real estate, surf industry wrangling, and aggressive philanthropy for humanitarian and environmental causes.

Here are a few golden quotes from Fernando that I garnered during a film interview with him on Saturday. The sun sets over Big Rock, the Los Angeles fires dye the sky brownish red, the waves shower his triplets playing in the surf out front, and Fernando philosophizes in wrap-around Prada sunglasses about life on Earth:

"My grandmother always told me: giving makes you feel so much better than receiving. You must give, Fernando, give!" - Fer on philanthropy.

"Save The Waves is a tiny organization with a big footprint. It's like a little Tasmanian Devil." - Fer on STW.

"Every year I hold Liquid Nation Ball, a humanitarian fundraiser here at my house in La Jolla, and we raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in a night of partying. I invite the surf industry executives, famous surfers, and my rich La Jolla neighbors - we steal from the rich and give it back to the poor." - Fer on LNB.

"Fundraisers are good for everyone involved - the beneficiaries feel good about getting money and support, and the benefactors feel good about themselves for giving." - -Fer on his famous events.

A very intelligent man, a shameless name-dropper and an expert talker, Fernando appears to wish he was a modern-day surfer dude concocted of equal parts Che Guevara, Yvon Chouinard, Robin Hood and Kelly Slater.

Learn more about Liquid Nation Ball 2009: click here.