What good is a beach without surfing and sandcastles? "Spirit of Imperial Beach" by sculptor James A. Wasil focuses on the most important part of the ocean: having a good time. Located just north of the Imperial Beach Pier, the 18-foot tall statue honors the beachgoer within everyone.
Installed in 2008, the $150,000 statue was created as a part of San Diego Port District's art program. According to the Port of San Diego, the statue itself is meant to honor the surfers and lifeguards of Imperial Beach, as well as honor the general surfer culture found in California. The bronze statue features a man holding a surfboard, with two children accompanying him. The two kids are a little girl and a little boy, each of whom is riding a fish.
What is important to understand is that the statue does not just focus on the human aspects of beach life. "Spirit of Imperial Beach" seeks to capture the full spirit of ocean life, which includes marine animals. Included in the statue are several intricately detailed fish who line around the display. That's not all; the work also includes detailed images of shells, sandcastles, and crabs.
Symbolizing the unity between land and sea, it shows how all must live together to create the beauty of beach life. Symbolizing the ties between young and old, it illustrates how one must lead into the other, continuing the cycle of life. All-in-all, the "Spirit of Imperial Beach" shows that it is not one spirit, but many spirits, which create a way of life. Many consider Imperial Beach one of the birthplaces of surfing. Having a rich history in surfing and sandcastle building, this is the ideal place to learn more about the unique cultural crafts of Southern California. This site is a must-see for any who enjoy surfing, sand, or the ocean in general.
Cover Image: "Spirit of Imperial Beach_3" by Port of San Diego via Flickr.