Bob Burnside Leaves A Huge Wake As His Legacy

Bob Burnside Leaves A Huge Wake As His Legacy


Bob Burnside Leaves A Huge Wake As His Legacy

Courtesy of Swimming World Magazine.

California waterman and famed lifeguard Bob Burnside passed away on December 10th at the age of 87.

Burnside was the Founding President of the United States Lifesaving Association and 2014 Paragon Award / Aquatic Safety recipient whose legacy is huge throughout Pacific from Australia to America.

Burnside was appointed the first president of the Surf Life Saving Association of America in 1964 which later became known as the United States Lifesaving Association. The 22-time All-American swimmer and 3-time All-American water polo player spent his career along the shores of Los Angeles and still swam up to 2500 meters 5 days a week in his mid-80’s.

In high school, he was the national record holder in the 100-yard backstroke and the 120-yard IM who was the first American high school swimmer to break 1 minute in the 100-yard backstroke

I miss the beach,” said the ocean lifeguard since 1951 who was honored by the International Swimming Hall of Fame as the recipient of the 2014 Paragon Award for Water Safety.

He also wrote the History of Junior Lifeguarding and was most influenced by his stepfather, 1920 Olympian and ISHOF Honoree, Stubby (Harold Herman) Krueger, and his mother, Jane Mackenzie, who was a Ziegfeld Follies dancer.

Swimming World Magazine reported, “Bob was instrumental as a member of the affirmative action committee to mandate women’s rights to take the beach lifeguard test that led to the hiring of the first female ocean lifeguards by the department. He eventually rose to become the chief lifeguard of Los Angeles County. During his tenure, Los Angeles County created the first lifeguard paramedic program, a hyperbaric chamber, lifeguard certification program, and pioneered the prevention first concept in lifeguarding.”

The honors and victories that were showered upon him included:

* Australian Bronze Medallion
* 1989 Grand champion in World Body Surfing
* 13-time World Body Surfing age group winner
* 12-time masters division national champion at the USLA National Lifeguard Championships in the Iron Man, swim rescue board and rescue race events

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