Wednesday, May 25, 2011


(Photo source/info, per Bob Burnside: The attached photo (above) shows (my son) Bobby in Tower 4 at Zuma with Don Bane, a seasonal guard. This was the time frame of the rescue (in the story below).

Just in from Chief Bob Burnside, Ret., an absolutely heart warming story from "back in the day" at Zuma during a huge swell that involved his, at that time, 9 year old son, Bobby, who was a Zuma Junior Lifeguard at the time. It is such a delightful story that we just HAD TO SHARE it with you all. So here goes... just as we received it.

From: Robert Burnside
Subject: Emailing: WE had just moved to the duplex and it was a day with very large surf and rip currents.doc
Date: May 23, 2011
To: Will Maguire

"Will... Not necessarily be of blog interest... but I also came across this in my bio. About my son Bobby... To those that have never seen Zuma with a big southern swell... and a radical running lateral current...they have missed some days of exciting rescues... If you have never experienced this... When it goes Zuma for a schedule at either Tower 3,4,5,6, or 7. Bob"

"WE had just moved to the duplex and it was a day with very large surf and rip currents. Bobby had returned from the junior lifeguards program. It was late in the afternoon and the closest open lifeguard station was a good distance north of the house. Bobby noticed two people being swept out to sea in a huge rip current. They were screaming and “climbing the ladder”! He knocked the house phone off the hook, which immediately signaled to our headquarters switch board. I was doing the next weeks schedules and the switchboard operator commented to me, ”your house phone is off the hook and no one is answering”. Realizing that was a signal a tower lifeguard would do if he had to quickly depart his station for a rescue, I went to the observation area with the binoculars and spotted a yellow rescue can and someone heading out to sea with it. Then I noticed two victims floundering at the end a massive rip current. We radioed the beach unit to respond and dispatched the Headquarters emergency car immediately. The lifeguard from the closest tower hadn’t seen the victims... and when we called his tower to back up, he bolted out of the tower toward them. When both victims had been returned to the shore safely, I was notified that Bobby had made the initial contact, holding the two victims up, until the other lifeguards got to him and them He was only 9 years old at the time. He received from the County Board of Supervisors a commendation for Bravery and exemplified the value of the Junior Lifeguard Program.

That season he also received the Outstanding Junior Lifeguard Award for the Northern Division... something he repeated for many years after, as his ocean skills were so outstanding."

(Per Bob: "The photo above shows Bobby finishing 8th in the recurrent lifeguard exam 10 years later... photo taken by Paul Mathies.")


Many Thanks to Bob for sharing this great story about his son, Bobby, and for telling in perhaps the best way the value of the junior lifeguarding program. We also can certainly understand his personal pride at his son's valor and bravery at the age of 9 years old to have no fear or intimidation to brave the huge surf at Zuma. On a lighter note, "County Recurrent" surmises that this valiant effort by his son that day and the memory of it brings a tear (or two) to the Chief's eyes and continues to warm his heart even today.


Until next time.....

"County Recurrent" News

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1 comment:

Paul said...

I remember Bobby from my Jr. Lifeguard days as well. I had never seen anyone to this date so as one with the ocean as Bobby. A true waterman if there ever was.