GEORGE FREETH
1883-1919

 

Located at the Redondo Beach Pier is this statue and tribute to George Freeth. Below are the exact words printed on this memorial with an inset photo of the statue.  Surfing is popular throughout California. 

GEORGE FREETH


FIRST SURFER IN THE UNITED STATES

 

   GEORGE FREETH WAS BORN IN HONOLULU NOVEMBER 8, 1883 OF HAWAIIAN AND IRISH ANCESTRY.  AS A YOUNGSTER HE REVIVED THE LOST POLYNESIAN ART OF SURFING WHILE STANDING ON A BOARD. HENRY E. HUNTINGTON WAS AMAZED AT FREETH'S SURFING AND SWIMMING ABILITIES AND INDUCED GEORGE TO COME TO REDONDO BEACH IN 1907 TO HELP THE BUILDING OF "THE LARGEST, WARM SALTWATER PLUNGE IN THE WORLD."


   GEORGE FREETH WAS ADVERTISED AS "THE MAN WHO CAN WALK ON WATER." THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE CAME HERE ON THE BIG RED CARS TO WATCH THIS ASTOUNDING FEAT. GEORGE WOULD MOUNT HIS BIG 8-FOOT LONG, SOLID WOOD 200 HUNDRED POUND SURF BOARD FAR OUT IN THE SURF. HE WOULD WAIT FOR A SUITABLE WAVE, CATCH IT, AND TO THE AMAZEMENT OF ALL, RIDE ONTO THE BEACH WHILE STANDING UPRIGHT.

GEORGE FREETH INTRODUCED THE GAME OF WATER POLO TO THIS COAST.  HE TRAINED MANY CHAMPION SWIMMERS AND DIVERS. GEORGE WAS THE "FIRST OFFICIAL LIFEGUARD" ON THE PACIFIC COAST. HE INVENTED THE TORPEDO SHAPED RESCUE BUOY THAT IS NOW USED WORLD WIDE. ON DECEMBER 16, 1908 DURING A VIOLENT SOUTH BAY STORM, GEORGE RESCUED 6 JAPANESE FISHERMAN FROM A CAPSIZED BOAT. FOR HIS ALOR HE RECEIVED "THE UNITED STATES LIFESAVING CORPS GOLD MEDAL."


   GEORGE FREETH DIED APRIL 7, 1919 AT THE EARLY AGE OF 35 YEARS AS THE RESULT OF EXHAUSTION FROM STRENUOUS RESCUE WORK. 

 

Note: The Redondo Beach George Freeth tribute statue bust was stolen in the Summer 2008.

 

Long Beach <  Redondo Beach > Hermosa Beach

 

 
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