“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Redondo Beach in Los Angeles County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)

George Freeth

First Surfer in the United States

George Freeth Marker [front side] image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael Kindig, March 25, 2016
1. George Freeth Marker [front side]
Inscription.  George Freeth was born in Honolulu November 8, 1883 of royal Hawaiian and Irish ancestry. As a youngster he revived the lost Polynesian art of surfing while standing on a board. Henry H. Huntington was amazed at Freeths surfing and swimming abilities and induced George to come to Redondo Beach in 1907 to help promote 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 cards to watch this astounding feat. George would mount his big 8-foot long, solid wood, 200 pound surfboard 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 life guard" 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 fishermen from a capsized boat. For his valor he received "the United
George Freeth Memorial [back side] image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael Kindig, March 25, 2016
2. George Freeth Memorial [back side]
Click or scan to see
this page online
States Life Saving 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.

George Freeth Memorial
Terry P. O'Donnell (1940-2008) - Sculptor
Mark A. Protasel - Project Originator
Janice Richardson Brymer - Original Layout Designer

Public subscription and the following donors have made this memorial possible: The South Bay Lifeguard Association, Jerry & Ruth Witt, Greene's Rady Mixed Concrete Co., Hon. Charles E. Wortham, Muriel C. Hons, Tierra Del Rey Parlor No. 300 Native Daughters of the Golden West, Muriel Richardson Protasel, Pier Properties Limited, Harry Pecorelli, Stephen P. Shoemaker Jr., Tony's Fish Market, Quality Sea Food Inc., Alcast Foundry Inc., Gertrude I. Richardson.

Redondo Beach Historical Commission

Curt R. Richardson - Chairman
A "Red" Allison - Vice Chariman
Mose Goldenson - Member

Originally erected A.D. 1977

The bronze George Freeth Memorial Bust dedicated in 1977, was stolen from the Redondo Beach Pier in August 2008. The recasting was made possible by using the original mold archived and provided by the City of Redondo Beach Historical Museum. Casting for the replacement was completed by Tim Doyle and Kelly O, daughter of the original sculpter Terry O'Donnell.

George Freeth Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Michael Kindig, March 25, 2016
3. George Freeth Marker
Meistrell, Body Glove's Co-founder, City Councilman Pat Aust, The Redondo Beach Historical Society, Starboard Attitude, and a team of community volunteers held a series of fundraisers to replace this cherished monument.

Rededicated A.D. 2010
Erected 2010.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Arts, Letters, MusicAsian AmericansSports. A significant historical date for this entry is April 7, 1919.
Location. 33° 50.354′ N, 118° 23.458′ W. Marker is in Redondo Beach, California, in Los Angeles County. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 207 Fishermans Wharf, Redondo Beach CA 90277, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Hotel Redondo (approx. 0.2 miles away); King Harbor and The Marinas (approx. Ό mile away); The Plunge and The Lightning Racer (approx. 0.4 miles away); Bill and Bob Meistrell (approx. 0.4 miles away); The Redondo Beach Plan (approx. 0.4 miles away); 9-11 Tribute (approx. half a mile away); Old Salt Lake (approx. 0.9 miles away); The First Bank of Hermosa Beach (approx. 1.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Redondo Beach.
Also see . . .  George Douglas Freeth, Jr. Surfing Pioneer, Lifeguard. Born in Honolulu, on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, he is revered as the man who brought
George Douglas Freeth Jr. image. Click for full size.
Public Domain, circa 1910
4. George Douglas Freeth Jr.
surfing to Southern California. (Submitted on March 25, 2016, by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California.) 
Additional keywords. Multiracial Americans, Pacific Islanders
Credits. This page was last revised on November 6, 2019. It was originally submitted on March 25, 2016, by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. This page has been viewed 475 times since then and 72 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on March 25, 2016, by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.

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Oct. 3, 2022