Statue planned for Newport Beach lifeguard who died rescuing swimmer

Statue planned for Newport Beach lifeguard Ben Carlson, who died rescuing swimmer

A life-size statue commemorating fallen lifeguard Ben Carlson could soon be keeping watch over the Newport Beach coastline.

City leaders, along with members of the Ben Carlson Memorial and Scholarship Foundation, are currently determining whether the Newport Pier or the Balboa Pier will be home to a 9-foot tall sculpture of the late lifeguard. The Newport Beach Arts Commission is expected to discuss and possibly take action on plans for the statue at its next meeting.

Members of the foundation received encouragement from city leaders when they presented the latest plans for the statue during an Arts Commission meeting last week, said Josh Yocum, a longtime friend of Carlson's.

"We're so grateful that the community has shown support for this effort in the months following Ben's act of valor," Yocum said. "It has been astonishing."

Carlson, an experienced lifeguard, died in heavy surf while rescuing a distressed swimmer on July 6, just four days after his 32nd birthday.

According to current plans, the sculpture would sit on a 3-foot granite base and would probably be made of stainless steel or bronze with a silver or gold matte finish.

Carlson's right hand would clutch a rescue tube and fins, while his left hand would shade his eyes as he gazes toward the ocean.

Fry writes for Times Community News.

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