A project to construct a life-size statue memorializing Bob and Bill Meistrell, beloved local surf legends and founders of Body Glove and Dive N’ Surf, at the entrance of the Seaside Lagoon was approved by a unanimous vote at the Redondo Beach City Council on Tuesday night.
The project, spearheaded by Body Glove’s Dinah Lary and her sculpture committee, sought twofold approval: acceptance of the concept and location of the statue, as well as permission to allow the Chamber of Commerce to manage the fundraising dollars.
In a comprehensive 12-page proposal, Lary and her team laid out the design for the sculpture, the proposed location, and a mission statement outlining the plan for fundraising.
The mission is as follows: “To raise more than $130,000 in funds and service donations to commission artist Chris Barela to sculpt a life size statue of Bob and Bill Meistrell as a tribute to their legacy as iconic watermen and commemorate their contributions to the community through the Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce Community Foundation.”
Included in the report was a break down of project budget.
“We do envision that the cost components will be completely covered by private donations,” Lary told the council.
The sculpture is based on a 1949 photographer of the twin brothers when they were both Los AngelesCounty lifeguards. The design, at this point, involves a statue, three benches, engraved bricks, and a company plaque.
“The impact that Body Glove and Bob and Bill have had on the community and on the world is huge,” Lary said. “I felt compelled to do something about it. A small sculpture, one-forth the size, was being made by Chris Barela for the 60th anniversary party of Body Glove, which was going to be a gift to Bob. Unfortunately, he passed before that happened.”
Bob Meistrell passed away on June 16 of this year. His brother Bill died in 2006.
“I thought it would be great to have a life-size statue somewhere in the community,” Lary continued, “so we could all kind of put our arms around it, and take a picture, and just sit there and think about all the cool things they did to increase the visibility of Redondo Beach.”
Mayor Aspel immediately chimed in: “This is a great thing you’re doing. And it’s a great location to have it, too.”
“Bob always loved Seaside Lagoon,” Lary said. “I think it’s because even little kids could get in the water there. It was a very inspirational place for him.”
Artist Barela was a professional surfer for Body Glove and has a close relationship to the Meistrell family. He is completing the sculpture at a significant discount.
After the unanimous vote to approve the project, Mayor Aspel said,” Ok, get to work. Start raising money.”
Members of the community are encouraged to make donations to the Redondo Beach Chamber Community Foundation. There are three benches available for sponsorship at $5,000 each. This includes a plaque with donor name. Bricks engraved with words and logos can be purchased for $2,500. Small bricks with donator name can be purchased for $100. Other donations are welcome, as well.
The project is expected to be complete by no later than April 2014. The project approval and fundraising launch came at a fitting time; a paddle out, expected to be among the largest in South Bay history, will be held in honor of Bob Meistrell this Sunday off the Redondo Pier at 9 a.m. A reception to celebrate Meistrell’s life will follow the event at Seaside Lagoon. ER