top of page

1989 Surf Festival Dinner Honorees



1989 Medal of Valor Honorees


Ocean Lifeguard Greg Bonann

Greg Bonann is a veteran Ocean Lifeguard and also a television producer.  His production of Baywatch, a made-for-television movie is based on the L.A. County’s lifeguards.  Greg and a staff of 6 writers from GTG Entertainment, Inc. were in the Venice lifeguard headquarters on June 6, 1989 finishing a background and orientation discussion on lifeguarding when a 18-year old man ran up screaming “my brothers drowning!”


Even though fully clothed and off-duty, Greg responded immediately.  He directed some of the writers to go upstairs and seek back-up assistance from lifeguards, then he and the man ran toward the water.


When they got to the sand at Ave 23, the man pointed toward Avenue 19 and said that was where his brother was seen last.  Bonann could see the muddied area of a riptide but no victim was visible.  Greg ran three blocks and began to strip off his clothes on the sand in front of the riptide.


Bonann entered the water in his underwear, still not knowing where the victim was.  He swam 100 yards out, near the end of the riptide, and began surface dives to the 9-foot deep bottom.  His first dive was fruitless.  He instinctively moved over 40 feet and began a systematic search pattern, looking for the victim.

His second dive was fruitless as well, so he swam 40 feet further south and dived again.  This time, the dark outline of a human appeared on the bottom.  Greg grabbed the victim and swam him to the surface.  Evaluating the victim’s condition, be began mouth-to-mouth resuscitation but cout not open the victim’s air since he had no rescue can for flotation and support.


He hyper-extended the victim’s neck to create an unobstructed airway and blew.  It worked and the victim began breathing feebly on his own. Bonann swam the unconscious 13-year old through the surfline but, before he could touch the bottom, a set of waves submerged the two and the victim stopped breathing again.  Still in water over his head, Bonann side-stroked the victim closer to shore, alternating mouth-to-mouth breaths as three-foot waves crashed on them.


In waist-deep water, they were met by Ocean Lifeguard Jeff White and assisted to the beach. Oxygen was then given to the victim and he began to regain consciousness. Paramedics transported the victim to the hospital where he recovered with no ill effects. 

Ocean Lifeguard Don Anderson


On December 12, 1988 retired Ocean Lifeguard Don Anderson was on the beach on the south side of the Hermosa Beach Pier watching the surfers ride waves.  Don then observed a male surfer as he was hit by a set of waves, washing him under the Pier where his surfing leash wrapped around a pier piling.  The leash hooked onto the barnacle-covered piling and pulled him underwater.


When Don saw the incident occur, he immediately dived into the surf and went to the surfer’s aid.  He swam directly to the piling, then traced the surf leash down to the victim.  Another surfer came to help and the two of them held the victim above water until they could unwrap the leash and free the surfer.


They swam and pulled the victim through the surfline.  Once on the shore, lifeguards administered oxygen and the victim became alert and fully oriented before paramedics arrived. He was transported to the hospital where he made a full recovery.



1989 Anderson
bottom of page