Luau and Longboard Invitational to take to the waves once again
Published - 08/15/12 - 02:55 PM | 5559 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Photo by Don Balch
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Since its founding nearly two decades ago, the Luau and Longboard Invitational has raised more than $5 million to fund groundbreaking cancer research at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

This year, the 19th annual event will honor Nobel laureate Roger Tsien — for whom the drive to help find a cure for cancer stems from personal experience. Tsien’s father battled prostate cancer and ultimately lost his life to pancreatic cancer. As a professor of pharmacology, chemistry and biochemistry at UC San Diego and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, Tsien has worked to develop a novel way to image and possibly even deliver specially targeted drugs to cancer tumors.

Tsien has been named the 2012 recipient of the Rell Sunn Award — established in memory of Rell Sunn, a Hawaiian surfer and longtime Luau & Longboard Invitational supporter who lost her battle with breast cancer — which will be presented during the event. Each year, an honoree who has displayed a strong will, unselfishness and compassion in the battle against cancer is selected for the award.

The Longboard Invitational kicks off at 7 a.m. on Aug. 19 on the beach near the Scripps Pier in La Jolla. Company-sponsored teams of four will be paired with a longboard surf legend to compete in the surfing contest. The competition will be followed by the luau with live music from The Professors, Polynesian dancers, and live and silent auctions featuring one-of-a-kind surfboards, memorabilia and trips.

For the fifth year in a row, Pfizer is the title sponsor of the unique fundraiser. As part of its sponsorship, the biopharmaceutical company will support its own team of surfing scientists, as well as the Thrivers Team, made up of surfers who have successfully fought cancer.

The surfing competition is free for viewing; a ticket to the luau fundraiser is $150. For more information, call (858) 246-1230, or visit or

— Kendra Hartmann
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