A project to enhance and upgrade O.B’.s main lifeguard station with a bronze statue is being suggested for the lawn adjacent to the tower on Abbott Street.
At the December 5 Ocean Beach Planning Board meeting, former San Diego city councilman Byron Wear of Wear Strategies (said to be a company that helps plan land use), spoke before the board regarding the life-size, 6'3" statue of a lifeguard to be put in place on the corner of the Veteran's Plaza lawn, 29 feet south of the tower at the foot of Santa Monica Avenue.
The board viewed a picture of the statue — currently in the form of a small model — that was made to resemble Skeeter Malcolm, a local legendary surfer who died in 1993 at 70 years old. The sculpture will also memorialize 13 WWI soldiers from Camp Kearny who drowned in O.B. in 1918. It was after this tragic incident that a lifeguard program was initiated in O.B.
Wear stated that the cost of the project would be $38,000 and that $15,000 had already been raised by community groups. San Diego city councilmembers Lorie Zapf and Kevin Faulconer have supported the project and served on the fundraising committee.
The statue is slated to make its appearance in late spring of 2013. The lifeguard station was recently given a new coat of paint. Supporters are hoping this will be a broader project to create a wider and safer coastal access where pedestrians would be directed to walk around the station instead of through the courtyard right in front of it.
One councilmember stated her concern that the statue might turn out like the Cardiff Kook, a bronze statue of a surfer in Cardiff that is constantly being adorned with clothes and accoutrements (sometimes disrespectfully).