by Eddie Solt
All photos by Mike Balzer unless noted
On Thursday June 4th, the city of Redondo Beach paid tribute to Bob and Bill Meistrell, two of the most influential men in the history and culture of surfing and diving. Set in a bronze sculpture by legendary South Bay surfer and artist, Chris Barela, the twins are depicted as young Los Angeles County Lifeguards. Barela modeled his work after a famous 1949 photo were both Meistrells are standing tall already chiseled and looking forward and eager to create their legacy.
The crowd included the entire Meistrell family, surf legends, dive legends, Redondo Beach Mayor, Steve Aspel, who spoke of the significance of Body Glove to the city of Redondo Beach and reiterated the common theme of all the speeches, the twins’ love for their home town.
“It’s fitting that the the statue be placed in King Harbor, at the entrance to Seaside Lagoon because my dad and uncle drive up and down this street two to four times a day, running between their Dive N’ Surf shop and their boat,” Bill’s son Billy told the hundreds of watermen and water women who attended the unveiling.
Following the unveiling, the crowd gathered to the entrance of the newly remodeled Dive N’ Surf. Built on the original building that’s been standing on 504 N. Broadway since 1953, the Mayor declared the surf mecca a landmark in Redondo Beach.
“The event was humbling and I felt very honored to be there and see all of the love that still goes out to Bill and Bob. I am really proud of the renovated store and our new international headquarters. I am very happy that we were able to accomplish all of this in the original city that this company was founded in, Redondo Beach, California,” said Robbie Meistrell, CEO of Body Glove International.
Proceeding the ribbon cutting, local musician Kevin Sousa kicked out the jams, as well as Body Glove President Russ Lesser who dedicated a few songs to the brothers’ memory. The event attendees stood astonished while watching a live performance painting of Bill and Bob being created by artist Gregory Adamson and well fed and hydrated by food and drinks sponsored by Watermans and Budweiser.