With fins in hand, a deep breath and inhibitions fully in check, junior lifeguards proved how much they want their job Monday as they made a stomach-dropping jump off the Ocean Beach Pier.
The 30-foot leap allowed students to show off their “water proofing” skills that could potentially saves lives out on the open ocean.
But they did not jump alone. Celebrating 100 years patrolling our coast, the San Diego Lifeguards invited community members and parents willing to donate $75 to make a leap alongside the students. The event is one of the San Diego Junior Lifeguard Foundation’s largest fundraisers.
Among the daring swimmers: Mayor Kevin Faulconer, San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman and other city leaders.
Both the chief and the mayor have made the jump before, but when faced with the prospect of doing it again? “It’s still high,” said Faulconer.
“This is a long fall right here, a long first step,” said Zimmerman, “and then I’m actually looking forward to the swim part. The first part – taking that step off the pier – is I think going to be a little more challenging.”
But once they raised their fins overhead and took that step, it was nothing but smiles.
Lifeguards patrolled the waters below on surfboards to make sure all jumpers made the 500- to 1,000-yard swim back to shore safely.
The pier jump funds programs that teach young San Diegans about aquatic safety, give free swim lessons and allow underserved youth to learn about the ocean.