VIA – SC TIMES
Dangerous Surf Conditions Expected
Sep 01, 2011
A large South Pacific storm is sending swells of between 5 and 8 feet to San Clemente, prompting Marine Safety officials to warn beach-goers to take extra caution.
The larger surf will create dangerous rip currents and wave action, with some strong northerly side-currents, moving from south to north, according to a news release from the city.
The danger isn’t only in the size of the surf, but in what’s called the “lull,” in-between waves that create an additional hazard, lifeguards noted. Lulls are periods where the surf is much smaller with the larger waves coming only intermittently.
The location — and distance — of the storm creates the large swells followed by long lulls, according to Marine Safety Chief Bill Humphreys.
“Large surf with big lulls can create a false sense of security for many people,” he said in the release. “Although the ocean looks calm, at any minute the really big waves can come through, creating extremely strong rip currents and side currents.”
The flow and strength of the currents generated can pull swimmers away from the shore or sideways toward the Pier.
“Inexperienced or weaker swimmers tend to get out too far during the lulls, then quickly realize the danger once the bigger waves come through,” Humphreys said.
As a precaution, lifeguards are asking the public to check conditions before entering the water, to always swim near a lifeguard and to never swim alone. A red flag means conditions are extremely hazardous and only expert swimmers and surfers should enter the water.
While beach-goers may be tempted to jump in the water, they should refrain when red flags fly. Lifeguards recommend that swimmers wear swim fins and wear a leash on their surfboards or body boards.
Swimmers caught in a rip current are advised not to panic or tire themselves out by trying to fight the current. Instead, they should swim parallel to the beach until free of the current and return to shore.
Read more: San Clemente Times – Dangerous Surf Conditions Expected
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