SURFING SOAPBOX:Towers deserve support

From the depths of the frigid waters of Sea Ranch, I am still not immune from the barrage of e-mails and phone calls that I have received regarding the Laguna Beach lifeguards finally being given approval to upgrade their terribly outdated lifeguard towers.

Let’s be honest — the last time I have seen lifeguard towers like the ones we have here in Laguna was either in the movie entitled “Lifeguard” or in a black and white movie I cannot remember the name of.

In any event, I think our lifeguards have been neglected long enough and no doubt deserve better than the unsafe, backbreaking towers that they have been stuck in for years.

And, under a new mandate, the lifeguards also need to have adequate shelter from the sun.


Here’s the dilemma: I do not like the new lifeguard stands; however, I have not been given a better solution to remedy this problem.

When I ask the lifeguards about this, they have stated that they researched this for five years and have determined that this is the best way to solve all the requirements.

Who would know better than our guards?

What are the alternatives — create another city committee or fit each beach with a video camera and have lifeguards guarding the beach while inside a room somewhere?



After all, each complaint I received had to do with one individual tower, not the implanting of all the towers. So really, people were only concerned about particular towers that affected them personally.

It’s a shame that these people were only concerned with the ones either in their front- or back yards (no pun intended).

It is time that as a community we start looking at the bigger picture and stop being so consumed with our own needs.

Because the big picture is this: Our beaches are becoming more and more crowded everyday, and the lifeguards need the proper resources to do their jobs.

So I, for one, support our lifeguards and their new towers — even it means I’ll have to get used to looking at them.




  • James Pribram is a Laguna Beach native, board member of Clean Water Now, professional surfer and founder of the Aloha School of Surfing. He can be reached at