Public invited to jump into Ocean Beach pier for lifeguard fundraiser

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Junior Lifeguard's pier jump made quite a splash for the second time this year in Ocean Beach.

On Monday morning, nine-year-old Anna Bolster found herself standing on the pier unable to put one foot in front of the other. It was that moment when your heart starts pounding and your knees start shaking.

Earlier, Anna and at least 100 other junior lifeguards warmed up to music and trying to shake off last-minute nerves.

The time for the big jump was getting closer.

"About 15 feet," Anna said of the jump.

While the jump is actually more than double that, she had a plan.

"I'm going to think about nothing," she told 10News.
 
While she isn't exactly an adrenaline junkie, she wasn't in it alone. Her dad, Jeff, was by the lifeguard tower getting a safety lesson.

"She definitely wanted some company," Jeff Bolster said. "Mom and I had to negotiate who was going to be taking pictures and who was going to be jumping, so I'm jumping."

It's no longer just about kids facing their fears. Members of the public were encouraged to participate. It was the fourth year moms, dads and community member could take the plunge into the Pacific Ocean.

It started with only 35 members of the public, and this year, they thought they'd max out at 150.

Jumpers had to sign a waiver and shell out $75 -- money that is pumped back into the San Diego Junior Lifeguard Foundation, which is designed to "waterproof" San Diego.

Lifeguards work to preventing drowning incidents by offering safety programs and free swim lessons. Mayor Kevin Faulconer and San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman were expected to join in efforts by making the jump.

Signing up seemed to be the easy part for many.

"Well, I'd like to think it's going to be alright," Bolster said. "I think [Anna] might be a little more nervous … although getting here I kind of looked out there and didn't remember it being that high."

Bolster and his daughter stood together on the pier -- 35 feet above the ocean -- with only two ways out.

Dad jumped off, and Anna froze.

Then, there she was in that moment, faced with that fear.

After hearing the cheers and encouragement from people on the pier, she did it.

"I just like knowing that he's there with me," Anna said.

Learn more about the San Diego Junior Lifeguard Program by going to www.sdjgfoundation.org.

Watch San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer take the plunge (video from Instagram, courtesty of Charles Chamberlayne):

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