Brand New OB Lifeguard Statue Already Vandalized

by on May 31, 2013 · 39 comments

in Culture, Ocean Beach

OB Lifeguard statute jcWell, what did it take? Two weeks?

The brand, spanking new bronze lifeguard statue just unveiled has already been vandalized. Of course, we don’t know who did it.

But there it is.

A picture is worth a thousand words.

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie May 31, 2013 at 10:58 am

Thanks to our un-named source for this photo.


went to college June 1, 2013 at 7:55 am

Just look at The Reader to see who your “unnamed source” is.


Patty Jones June 1, 2013 at 8:29 pm

Actually, we sent the photo to the Reader and the author of the article posted there is not our source.

Normally I wouldn’t approve your comment because our comment policy requires a real email address. And doesn’t quite cut it.


Frank Gormlie June 1, 2013 at 8:23 pm

Sorry, everyone for the misspelling of “statue”. In my defense, I can only say that I was rushing out the door but trying to get this photo of the vandalized statue up and published. Being a lawyer, my mind was on “statute” and not “statue”. Oops, thanks for catching it and thanks Patty for fixing it.


OBdada May 31, 2013 at 12:10 pm

HeY, iT’s OB == LeT iT bE..
art oN Art,,,
PeaCe ouT….


Robert Burns May 31, 2013 at 12:38 pm

That looks like a bomb being carried in the statue’s left hand. Not impressive.


John May 31, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Because of course lifeguards always carry bombs to be dropped enforcing our imperialist policies upon poor third world countries. That’s the first thing that came to my mind too!
LOL, it actually looks like a crayola crayon now-which is probably what the vandals intended.
I think it’s an improvement overall.


Goatskull May 31, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Looks like OB now has its own Cardiff Kook unfortunately.


obecean June 1, 2013 at 9:34 am

It’s not like the Cardiff kook saga is unknown, gee whiz it’s made the national news!

Makes one wonder what was expected, more “respect” than in the North County? LOL.

Will our bronze lifeguard pal require paid 24/7 surveillance by public safety officials?


Debbie May 31, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Is anyone surprised by this action? Why did it get put in a place unprotected? Dogs are going to pee on it and it is going to be vandalized forever! Put it on top of the Million Dollar restroom building.

And……Where is the female lifequard?


Tyler May 31, 2013 at 1:01 pm

“And……Where is the female lifequard?”

Was this comment really necessary?


Debbie May 31, 2013 at 1:06 pm



obecean June 1, 2013 at 9:50 am

right on sister!


Mike May 31, 2013 at 2:12 pm

I can only imagine what the loser that did this would have done to a female lifeguard statue. And Frank, your spelling is off. Unless you mean that this is a written law of lifeguards.


Patty Jones May 31, 2013 at 9:01 pm

Thanks, Mike.


Jorge May 31, 2013 at 2:52 pm

I suppose, all things being equal, that she should also be topless.


fstued May 31, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Blond hair How So Cal.


No more vandalism in OB May 31, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Graffiti and vandalism hurt our neighborhood. It’s just plain common sense that graffiti and vandalism lessen the curb appeal of any neighborhood, and by turning a blind eye to this stuff, the community conveys the message that, “we don’t care.” “Come to OB and do whatever the hell you want.” Write all over our shopkeeper’s storefronts. Etch your scribblings into the glass windows of our restaurants. Tag your gibberish onto our cliff walls and walkways. “We don’t care.”
If we allow this behavior to go on without calling it out, we invite more crime, and larger crime to the area. The old “broken windows” theory basically says that by maintaining and monitoring our urban environment we may stop futher vandalism and the escalation to more serious crime. Well OB, summer is upon us…let’s get maintaining and monitoring.
We all want to keep Ocean Beach unique, and weird, and fun, and laid-back. Of course we do. But we don’t want that funky, hippie-vibe, live and let live attitude to turn the corner into vandalised, crime-ridden village where nobody wants to visit.
I would be willing to bet that someone saw the lifeguard statue being vandalised, and made a concious decision not to report it, and not to call out the person while they were in the act. There is a culture, especially amongst the younger of us of not wanting to be a “snitch.” Snitches get stitches as they say! Many younger folks do not respect nor trust our police officers. Anyone who calls the police to report these soft crimes such as vandalism is seen as a snitch or a bitch. But what we don’t realize while we’re scared of being singled out by our peers as being a rat is that the tagging and desecration of public and/or private property is damaging ourselves in so many ways. Tourists do not want to come to a town that’s full of graffiti and trash. That hurts our bars, restaurants, and retailers on top of the mess they now must foot-the-bill to clean up. The tagging on public property hurts us as local taxpayers. The graffiti control program’s budget for the city is in the neighborhood of $900,000.00.
The recent incident of our lifeguard statue being vandalized is particularly troubling for a few reasons. First, it took approximately one week from the time the statue was unveiled until someone decided it would be a funny prank to dump paint all over it. That’s disrespectful enough to the artist and the local advocates who worked so hard to give the community this gift. But it’s even more shockingly disrespectful given the reason we have it in the first place, to memorialize our public servants; the lifeguards who give so much to our community and work tirelessly to help locals and tourists in need! I’ve seen many comments and reports saying, well, what do you expect? It’s OB. But we can be better than that. We ARE better than that.
OB is a great place to live, a great place to visit, and a really great place to party! That’s why so many of us choose to call this village our home. But if someone came to my house party and dumped paint all over my favorite easy chair, or tagged a bunch of nonsense all over my bathroom wall. They’d better hope the least I do is call the cops.
Show some respect for your town OBceans! Don’t put up with this crap.
Call 619-531-2000 or 2-1-1 to report instances of vandalism. If you see someone in the act, try to take a picture from a safe distance, and/or call 911. You’ll also get $500 smackers if they catch them. Better yet, you’ll get the respect of your friends and neighbors.


John May 31, 2013 at 9:16 pm

You certainly said a lot of things that needed to be said. However, and I may be completely wrong about this, I don’t think that the same types of individuals who bring an atmosphere of crime to the community and make tagging their pastime are the same type of individuals that did this to the statue.
Kind of like all those nice folks who have, over the years, taken things like Bob’s Big Boy statues, and the Jack in the Box order stands in the early days of the chain.
This is more like a prank than tagging. Of course I’m making assumptions here but it just seems like a different crowd.
Unless you want an endless train of copycat “artists” IMO best to quietly clean the statue up and not make a community target of it. Make a challenge of something and by golly people will take you up on it.
All that other stuff you mentioned is valid and true but should be dealt with on its own accord.
(and one of those things you mentioned, someone vandalizing your home with paint at a party, did happen to me once)


No more vandalism in OB June 3, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Thanks for the comment John. Yes, I certainly said a lot of things. I hear you as far as this being more of a prank than the tagging issues we have. However, I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive. Vandalism is still vandalism, and I admittedly used this recent high-profile incident to bring up the bigger picture of what I feel is an ongoing, and rarely spoken of problem around town. I’m saddened by some of the apathetic comments here, but just as those folks aren’t surprised this happened, I’m not surprised at the apathy or outright condoning of vandalism on this site (the Internet is more often a cesspool of thought). Unfortunately, as you and others rightly point out, we probably haven’t seen the last of the statue being vandalized. There may have been some better locations to be considered.


obecean June 1, 2013 at 9:39 am

“This hurts our bars” ? Would that be more than the bars hurt the community?

Thanks for playing.


No more vandalism in OB June 1, 2013 at 10:19 am

I suppose that depends on who you ask OBcean. The more responsible actors in town are a great thing for the community in my opinion. I don’t think our nightlife should be looked at as a detriment to our culture. Perhaps the patrons and certain bar owners can be more responsible. Lets work tiward that goal. But sounds like you just don’t like that aspect of the town. Whatever. You choose to pick one part of my entire post to invalidate the entire message I’m trying to convey? And don’t you worry. I intend to keep playing….


obecean June 1, 2013 at 10:38 am

“OB is for partying”…I think that’s what you said, Not for watercolors, right?


obecean June 1, 2013 at 10:45 am

Just say no to pranqsters!


Debbie June 1, 2013 at 10:51 am

Can I add to this….and drunks that pee on public and private property!

I can understand how bars are fun and attractive but……… no like the cigarette smoking on the sidewalk! YUCK …stinkie poo


No more vandalism in OB June 1, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Now you’re just being a troll. That’s not what I said and you know it. I said, among many other things, OB is a great place to party. If you disagree, you are really out of touch with this town and its history. Ever hear of the street fair? the holiday parade? Saturday? But we want people to party responsibly. If you want no bars, move to kansas. You’re adding nothing constructive to the conversation if you only want to pick out the one piece of my post you don’t like. Thanks for playing. (Drops the mic)


obecean June 1, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Lighten up Francis. I was comparing and contrasting evidently you missed that… talk about useless trolls……sheeesh!

Good day!


Debra June 1, 2013 at 1:17 pm

I completely agree with you No more vandalism. And how about no more theft of people’s private property along with that? Why is it that residents and visitors to our community can’t keep their hands off of other people’s stuff? Are the families that raised these slobs, SO low-class that they never bothered to instill ANY type of morals in them, to speak of?
Also, I go for a walk twice a day and see trash all over the place. Cigarette butts, empty liquor bottles/cans, fast food wrappers, plastic straws, broken glass, paper/plastic cups, etc. CONSTANTLY. Ironically, people drive around with “I love the beach” or “Respect our Oceans” bumper stickers on their cars!?! It would be hilarious, if it weren’t so SAD.


obecean June 1, 2013 at 1:29 pm

There you go again with ‘real issues’ that plague our community…I doubt anybody read that ridiculous novel above anyhow. lol This is the intranet, right?


Tyler June 1, 2013 at 5:01 pm

It won’t change. The best you can do is just be a good example and pick up trash on your block or during walks. I do it and I see many others doing it as well. We tend to see all the bad and take for granted all the good that is done. The folks that actually live in OB and take pride in the community are not the ones littering, throwing glass on the ground, etc. It’s our visitors, both from other parts of town/out of town and the tumbleweeds. There’s a reason it’s noticeably cleaner during the Winter.


Debra June 1, 2013 at 9:07 pm

I HAVE been picking up other people’s trash, for the past two and a half years now. And sorry no, it ISN’T only non-residents throwing stuff on the sidewalk/street. My neighbors habitually toss their cigarette butts out and I have lived next door to them for over 20yrs. Forget about asking me them not to, I have–it’s a waste of time. My neighbor on the other side has lived in his house since the ’50’s, he will wait until AFTER the street sweeper goes by, to blow grass clippings and dirt into the street, which promptly ends back on the sidewalk, from the wind stirred up, by passing cars. Last year, a few doors down, someone left a bottle of motor oil in front of their garage, some thieving slob came by, stole it and proceeded to pour the oil out while strolling down the sidewalk. So what did some other KNUCKLEHEAD neighbor do? HOSED it off, onto the street/curb, before I was able to go over there and spread cat litter around to absorb it. THIS is the selfishness and laziness that those of us who actually care about our community are up against.


Goatskull June 4, 2013 at 12:06 pm

“Ironically, people drive around with “I love the beach” or “Respect our Oceans” bumper stickers on their cars!?! It would be hilarious, if it weren’t so SAD.”

I’d like to think the people with those bumber stickers are not the once throwing trash and littering all over the place.


Me May 31, 2013 at 6:24 pm

This surprises whom?


Charles June 1, 2013 at 7:21 am

Regarding the lifeguard statue,
While I support a statue to the lifeguards, I do so in my mind and not with the placement of a bronze at Ocean Beach. Lifeguards in San Diego, not all, but the management and some from the past, that have not been given proper due, have always had a chip on their shoulder.
They feel that professional lifeguards have not been given the respect and adoration of their brothers and sisters in the safety community. Because of this they have, for the past thirty years, felt a need to “make up” awards and other nefarious ways to congratulate themselves for a job well done, and now the statue. Rank and file lifeguards have always been amused and surprised by the need for management to seek this recognition, I am sure their surprise reached a crescendo with the unveiling of the statue.
What management must eventually realize is that they don’t need to make up awards and create statues to themselves; this all ends up looking silly and takes away from their accomplishments. They do an incredible job, often times at great personal risk. The public loves them and the work that they do.
They should be satisfied with this recognition that they do one of the most important jobs in San Diego, literally saving hundreds if not thousands of lives a year. You don’t need awards and statues to commemorate these awesome accomplishments. The saving of a life should be enough to lift your spirits; your hearts should be filled with joy.
In the mean time you have created a symbol that is destined to be the ire of high school graduations classes for years to come.


gailpowell June 1, 2013 at 7:35 am

Does this surprise anyone? Ocean Beach now has it’s very own Cardiff Kook. I do not mean to show disrespect to the honoring of lifeguards but I find fancing up this statute to be a new invitation to creative public art display and a somewhat harmless way to make bold statements in the communiy forum about topical issues, as long as we do not lose sight of the wonderful job lifeguards do along our beaches and bays.


Kenloc June 3, 2013 at 6:26 am

The Cardiff Kook came to be because people felt the statue itself was lame.Who stands on a board like that? The lifeguard statue is cool looking.It also makes me realize I need to excercise…….


pjt June 3, 2013 at 6:33 am

At least a great many of the artistic modifications made to the Cardiff Kook have been artistically elaborate and great fun to look at. Just pouring paint on top of a statue is simply vandalism, not art, street otherwise.


Mike June 3, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Agreed, pjt. Someone earlier commented this might be more of a prank. A prank would be something we could all laugh about like putting a PB t-shirt on the statue. Using paint that damages a public work is a crime, not some innocuous prank. In a perfect world, we could catch these criminals and have them put in pillory during the street fair so we could pummel them with rotten tomatoes.


obecean June 3, 2013 at 5:22 pm

Again, we must wonder why the statue was placed where it could be easily altered.

Btw, according to SD Park & Rec “water soluble paint” was used and it came off with a wet rag– hardly something to get worked up about.

This will happen over and over, so my advice to you is to relax and enjoy. No one is getting hurt. And will likely be the talk of town like the’ Cardiff kook’ has become in North County.


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