2013 Surf Festival Dinner Honorees
2013 Medal of Valor
Dave Shenbaum, Ocean Lifeguard, is receiving the Medal of Valor for a rescue that occurred in November of 2012. While working as an Acting Battalion Chief for the Manhattan Beach Fire Department, Dave responded to a report of a pier jumper off the Manhattan Beach Pier. Upon his arrival, Dave found two victims clinging to a ring buoy in the water, a woman who had attempted suicide by leaping from the pier, and a fisherman who had jumped in to save her. The fisherman was cold and exhausted, and the woman was by now lifeless and non-breathing. Realizing that the lifeguards and fire units were still minutes away, Dave jumped from the pier and swam to the victims. After stabilizing the fisherman on the ring buoy, he began rescue breathing on the female victim as he brought her to shore. Once ashore, paramedics began advanced lifesaving efforts on the female, while other firefighters utilized a line to bring the fisherman in on the ring buoy. Both the fisherman and the suicidal female made a complete recovery. Dave had previously received a Medal of Valor from the City for a nighttime pier jump rescue in 2011.
2013 Distinguished Service
David S. Carpenter
Dave Carpenter, Ocean Lifeguard, is receiving the Distinguished Service Award for his actions involving the capsizing of two outrigger canoes off Marina del Rey in May of this year. Dave was paddling in one of two boats being crewed by novice paddlers, when 15-20 knot winds sharply changed and created unsafe conditions. To get out of the worsening conditions, the paddlers headed back to the marina. Well outside the detached breakwall, Dave’s boat capsized, and, though it was quickly righted, the boat was full of water. Dave began bailing. As he bailed, one crewmember drifted away and due to wind and swell, was unable to get back to the boat. Unfortunately, that crewmember had gathered all the paddles, so the remaining crew was unable to use the boat to rescue him. Dave quickly swam to the paddler, and stabilized his flotation. As the canoe was being pushed further and further away, and the crewmember was unable to swim fast enough, Dave swam the paddles back to the boat, and then directed the efforts to rescue the paddler. The then led the canoe to rescue a paddler from the other vessel, who had also drifted away. Dave then swam to the second canoe. Realizing that with impending darkness and several hypothermic victims, time was critical, he directed multiple attempts to dewater the canoe, while the other boat went for help. It became apparent the canoe’s hull was compromised and the boat would remain swamped. He stayed with the distressed, leaking vessel, coordinated efforts to keep the victims warm, and when the Sheriff’s rescue vessel arrived, assisted all the remaining paddlers onto the rescue boat. Dave stayed with the vessel until Baywatch del Rey arrived, and assisted with dewatering the outrigger and taking it in tow.
2013 Distinguished Service
A. J. Wilson
A. J. Wilson, a 17-year-old resident of Manhattan Beach who had been a Junior Lifeguard and Cadet for 8 years, is receiving the Distinguished Service Award for a rescue in spring of this year. A. J. was on the beach with his family at the far southern end of Hermosa Beach, when he noticed a 25-year-old man struggling in a rip current. Surveying the beach, A. J. realized that the tower lifeguards were all in the water on a multiple victim rescue 400 yards to the north. As the victim began screaming for help, A. J. grabbed his fins and swam to the victim. When he arrived at the victim, who was exhausted, panicking, and breathing in as much saltwater as air, A. J. quickly rolled him onto his back to keep his airway above water, and dragged him out of the rip current and back to the beach. He did this without the use of a rescue can or any other flotation device. Upon arrival of the lifeguards, who had by now completed the previous rescue, A. J. was able to give a clear and accurate size-up of the rescue, so lifeguards and paramedics were able to provide the proper care and treatment. The victim made a complete recovery, and A. J. went on to assist the lifeguards with several more rescues that day.
2013 Special Recognition Honoree
Sheila has been an integral part of the Surf Festival for 20 years. While serving since 1983 as the Coordinator of the Dwight Crum 2-Mile Pier-to-Pier Swim, she has also served over this same time period as the Treasurer of the International Surf Festival Committee.
In 1983, after serving as a volunteer at the start and finish line of the swim for several years, the coordinator of the International Surf Festival, Lieutenant Ned McIlroy, came to her and asked her if she would be willing to take over the coordination of the Pier-to-Pier Swim. As she has so often in her life, she said, “sure”. As a result of her efforts, the 2-mile swim became one of the most popular long distance surf races in the country. During her tenure as Coordinator of the 2-mile swim, the number of participants grew from 300 to over 1200.
This is good reason for the popularity of this race. Like everything she does, Sheila was meticulous in her organization, in her preparation, and in making sure that both the volunteers and the participants felt her personal touch.
Every year, past participants received an application from Sheila inviting them to participate once again. New participants felt the importance of the event when they were required, without exception, to take a check out swim so that the organizers and the County Lifeguards knew that only qualified people were at the start line. She helped to select the design and picked out the color of the shirt participants received each year so that each year was distinctive and so that anyone who saw them wearing the shirt would readily know they had completed the grueling 2-mile course.
The start and finish line was organized in a way that swimmer hardly noticed the details of registering, starting, and finishing the race with an accurate time. It was so well organized that even when doing everything by hand, results of the top three finishers in each age group were ready before the last person crossed the finish line. When the race was over, Sheila would spend the rest of the day, using tic sheets to hand record a finish time for every swimmer, and then type into the computer the time for each swimmer so that she could print it out and mail it within a couple of days.
Of course the key to all events like this are the volunteers. Sheila would spend hors on the phone getting 50 to 60 of her friends and their friends to pitch in. She made sure it was fun for the volunteers. Writing those numbers on the arms and legs of the swimmers and applying wristbands to avoid “bandits” can be a lot of fun. When it was all over, she made sure to send every volunteer a thank you note. Is it any surprise that the same people came back year after year.
Sheila also worked very hard over the 20 years to perfect the recording of the results. She progressed from hand writing every name to working with people on computer programs and moving from tic sheet and popsicle sticks to chromex watches, to a cross country recording system to the current system of using ankle bracelets with bar code that records the time when they step on a pad at the finish line.
While coordinating the swim, Sheila also served as the Treasurer of the International Surf Festival Committee for 20 years. In that capacity she worked with some wonderful people – Ken Johnson from Beaches and Harbors, Coordinators Ned McIlroy, Ron Crawford, Gary Crum and Committee Presidents Jerry Hilby, Chuck Milam and Gary Crum. She was responsible for creating a budget, depositing and keeping track of all of the checks from every festival venue and every donor, paying bills and writing checks for every cost incurred by the surf festival, and completing the yearly IRS, State and Federal Tax Forms.
Sheila Douglas has made a significant contribution to this wonderful community event and it is a very special pleasure to be able to recognize her tonight.
2013 Special Recognition Honorees
Bob Meistrell – 1928 to 2013
Bill Meistrell – 1928 to 2006
Bob and Bill Meistrell were born in Missouri but there was always something about the water.
After Bob and his twin brother, Bill, taught themselves to swim in a Missouri pond, the boys worked on a system where one brother would man a bicycle pump on shore and the other would throw on a diving helmet fashioned from a 5-gallon vegetable can, a pane of glass, and a scoop of tar, and would breathe under water through a garden hose.
The family moved west in the 1940’s, landing in Manhattan Beach when the twins were 16.
The boys took to the ocean immediately. This time, they had a real diving helmet – purchased from a neighbor for $25 after a previous owner had drowned in it.
After Graduating from El Segundo High School, and serving in the Army during the Korean War, Bob and Bill’s surfing world expanded beyond belief.
In 1951, Hugh Bradner, a UC Berkeley physicist, was testing wetsuit materials for the Navy divers. He came up with a two-piece suit made from neoprene; a synthetic rubber patented by DuPont, and tested it himself in icy Lake Tahoe. When the Navy rejected the idea, it became declassified and Bev Morgan, a surfing buddy of Bill’s, found Bradner’s full report in a library at San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography. They figured it might be something they could use.
In 1953, along with a few other business partners, Bob and Bill bought Dine N Surf in Redondo Beach. Little did they know at that time that they were the co-founders of a company whose wetsuits would enable surfers to stay in the water longer and more comfortably than ever before. Their accomplishments a Redondo Beach based Body Glove International helped draw millions to surfing and diving.
On June 16, at age 84 years of age, Bob Meistrell died of a heart attack aboard his 72-foot yacht Disappearance off Catalina Island, where he was helping to run the Rock to Rock paddleboard race. His brother, Bill, died of Parkinson’s disease in 2006.
The two were simply down to earth water guys. Bob was an accomplished diver and diving instructor and a Los Angeles County Lifeguard. In a interview with Forbes magazine earlier this year, he said, “We loved the ocean and everything you can do in it.”
Bob and Bill Meistrell are legends and they will be missed.
2013 Lifetime Achievement
Robert A. Moore
Bob Moore began his lifesaving career in 1967 and was assigned to Puddingstone Reservoir. In 1969 Bob was transferred to the Southern Section where he worked in Redondo and Hermosa Beach. While teaching, Bob worked as a Recurrent Lifeguard in the summer. He coached water polo and swimming. Because of his passion for lifesaving, he became a permanent lifeguard in 1974.
During his tenure in Los Angeles County, Bob promoted through the ranks, Permanent Lifeguard, Lieutenant, Captain and Section Chief. While working, Bob earned his Masters Degree in Public Administration and served as President of the Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society. He worked all areas of L. A. County and was a Lifeguard Training Academy Instructor. His proudest accomplishment in his tenure is that NO ONE drowned in his water during his 38-year career. In 1992 his staff in Manhattan Beach rescued 2,200 persons.
He volunteered with the Los Angeles County Lifeguard Association as Secretary. He became a delegate to the National Surf Lifesaving Association, which later became the United States Lifesaving Association where he served as delegate for 39 years. Additionally Bob served as President of the California Surf Lifesaving Association for ten years. He served on the CSLSA Executive Board for 31 years holding many officer positions and is currently the Website Committee Chair.
As a delegate to World Lifesaving (WLS), Bob was a presenter, lecturer, moderator, and participant representing the USLA at meeting in South Africa, Hawaii, California, Canada, Republic of China, Australia and Germany. He has been published internationally on lifesaving topics. He served as an International Training Officer for WLS. Bob was the USLA National Team Coach, coaching a team to South Africa and hosting Australia. He was Manager/Coach on a second tour to South Africa. He served as Assistant Manager traveling with the Wieland Shield team. This is also Bob’s 39th year on the International Surf Festival Committee (ISF). He has officiated twenty of those years. He is the current Secretary for the ISF.
Bob has competed on the local, regional, and national levels as a champion. He not only was the President of the National Doryman’s Association (NDA), he was also a champion multiple times with his partner Bob Schroeder. Bob currently officiates in local, regional and national competitions.
Bob has lived in the South Bay for forty years and has been happily married to his wife, Sandy, for almost 43 years. In addition to receiving this Lifetime Achievement Award, Bob has been awarded the distinct honor of Life Membership in both the CSLSA and the USLA.