Lonely statue in a sea of people

Lonely statue in a sea of people

For those who have already been to Tenerife, and in particular to Costa Adeje, it has become a tradition. To walk the beautiful promenade between Los Cristianos and La Caleta. Or at least the Costa Adeje – La Caleta route.

Then you have undoubtedly passed by the Mirador Javier Pérez Ramos, the viewpoint located between the two beaches of Playa del Duque. You may have paused  to enjoy the beautiful panorama. Maybe you even took a photo of the lifelike statue of the lifeguard patiently watching over the bathers.

Even for those who cannot read the Spanish inscription on the pedestal, it should be clear that this statue serves a purpose.

Inscriptie sokkel standbeeld

A piece of history

It is Tuesday March 31, 1998 and the sea is turbulent. The boys from the lounger rental service have just had lunch when a tourist gets in distress in the high waves. Without a moment's hesitation, they try to save the young lady. And with success. But fate still strikes, as one of the group's heroes, 31-year-old Javier Pérez Ramos, is caught by a high wave and dragged into the deep abysses of the Atlantic Ocean. His colleagues try in vain to find him in the massive waves, but eventually have to give up.

A week later, it is April 6, his lifeless body is found. It goes without saying that his death will forever leave a huge void in his family. Javier had a whole life ahead of him.


I have been on the island since 1995 but can't recall if there were official lifeguards on the beaches of Arona and Adeje at the time. That the guys from the lounger rentals served as surrogate lifeguards could be well possible.

Nowadays it is mandatory that certified lifeguards are present on all major tourist beaches. gediplomeerde strandwachten aanwezig zijn.

The moral of the story

Certified lifeguard or not, Javier was a hero. He gave his life for a fellow human.

To avoid accidents, an easy-to-understand 3-flag system has been set up:

  • Green flag: The water is calm and it is safe to swim. However, always be careful.
  • Yellow flag: Possible risk, do not go too far into the water and stay alert.
  • Red flag: Do not swim. In some places there may be a  dangerous undertow that is not always visible from the surface of the water. By ignoring this signal you not only endanger yourself, but possibly also the life of the lifeguard. Just look what happened to Javier.

Javier is gone, but his deed lives on in this statue. It symbolizes all the brave lifeguards who don't hesitate for a second if someone is endangered while swimming our - usually friendly - ocean. So respect the flags and respect the directions of the lifeguards. For yourself, for them.

Stay safe and Hasta Pronto

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