A surf hero and legendary lifeguard, Tim Kelly is remembered in Hermosa Beach by a bronze statue that sits at the foot of the Hermosa Beach Pier. Kelly, who was well known to the South Bay’s Junior Lifeguard Program, died at age 24 in a car crash while returning home from a surf trip to San Diego’s Trestles Beach in 1964. His death devastated the surfing world, especially in the South Bay.
Following his death, Kelly’s friends and local lifeguards commissioned a statue in his honor. The first Tim Kelly statue, built 45 years ago, was made of foam and fiberglass. The memorial statue was built and originally placed at Kelley’s favorite surfing spot, the Breakwater. When the Charthouse was built on the beach, the statue was moved to the Hermosa Pier. The statue went through a series of refurbishings and was finally recast in a bronze replica.
A plaque on the monument reads, “The Tim Kelly lifeguard memorial is dedicated to the brave men and women who have passed through the ranks of the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Lifeguard Division. Their courage, professionalism and devotion to lifesaving is recognized worldwide.”