NewsPositively San Diego


81 year-old woman jumps off Ocean Beach Pier with grandsons for charity

Plunge proceeds go to Prevent Drowning Foundation
Posted at 6:12 PM, Jul 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-18 19:32:30-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- For two days out of the entire year, people are allowed to jump off the Ocean Beach Pier as part of a fundraiser to help children learn to swim. Monday afternoon, an 81-year-old Mission Beach grandmother faced her fears and jumped off the iconic pier.

You can ignore the "No Jumping or Diving" today. With witnesses above and cheerleaders below, hundreds of San Diego's junior lifeguards took the plunge of honor off the OB Pier.

Among them were little Calvin and Noah, who brought their grandmother Susan Norman, not just to watch but to join.
"It's kind of crazy that she's even doing it at this age," Calvin said.

The 81-year-old Mission Beach resident has been exercising her whole life. From swimming at a young age to competing and winning half Ironmans in her 70's. But during a race in 2012, Norman suffered a pulmonary edema, putting an end to her active lifestyle.

"I got sick in the full Ironman, and I had to quit, which got me depressed," Norman said.

But a few weeks ago, her daughter-in-law asked her to take the plunge, to do it for her grandkids.

"Now that I'm a grandmother, you can sit back and enjoy the cute things that they do," Norman smiled.

She couldn't say no. After training for a week, she was at the edge of the OB Pier. Her $150 entry fee goes directly to the Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Diego.

Just after 2:00 PM, she and her grandsons did it. It was the most Norman had swum in a long time, and what a way to get back into it.

"I just forced myself to do it, and it makes me happy when you can accomplish something," Norman said. "You feel good about yourself. You have to face your fears."

Today's jump entry fee and T-shirt sales combined brought in more than $25,000 to the Prevent Drowning Foundation of San Diego. The next jump event at the OB Pier is on August 16, 2021.