It is crucial for surfers and beachgoers to know and understand changing ocean conditions, including how to read swell and surf forecasts, especially during periods of strong south swell in the summertime in California.
Strong south swells can bring powerful waves and challenging surf conditions. Surfers who are aware of these conditions can make informed decisions about when to paddle out, which breaks to avoid, and whether their skill level is appropriate for the conditions. This knowledge helps minimize the risk of accidents, injuries, or getting caught in dangerous situations. By being aware of hazardous conditions, surfers can decide whether to wait for more favorable surf conditions or seek alternative activities.
Due to the millions of people entering the water up and down the coast of California each summer, it is challenging to ensure that each person has access to this type of information; that's why one of CORE Project's main focuses is to bridge that gap, but in addition to mass outreach efforts, experienced surfers and swimmers should also have the skills and knowledge to take action if someone is in need.
Video reposted from @thecore_projectt
This recent video of CORE Project's founder, Yehuda Ben-Hamo, depicts just that. You can see Yehuda trying to signal lifeguards when he notices a fellow surfer in distress getting swept by strong currents in Newport Beach after losing his board. The surfer began to panic, but luckily, Yehuda could keep him calm and get him in safely after a few minutes. Remember that trying to stay calm and take deep breaths in an emergency in the water is very important. It can help conserve energy and prevent drowning.
After getting to the beach safely, it's crucial to kindly educate the surfer on how to identify hazardous conditions + where might be a safer option during similar conditions.
A steep, long-period south swell, coupled with the unique bathymetry of Newport Beach, can create hollow, fast, and powerful waves that are NOT beginner friendly. More experienced surfers may even struggle during these conditions.
Outreach and education play a vital role in safeguarding beach recreation by promoting awareness, knowledge, and responsible behavior. Here's how they can help:
1. Awareness: Outreach initiatives raise awareness about potential hazards and risks associated with beach activities, such as rip currents, strong tides, or marine wildlife. By informing beachgoers, surfers, and swimmers about these dangers, they can make informed decisions and take necessary precautions.
2. Knowledge: Education programs provide essential knowledge about water safety, including swimming techniques, understanding ocean currents, and recognizing warning signs. With this knowledge, individuals can make smarter choices, assess their abilities, and avoid engaging in activities beyond their skill level.
3. Responsible Behavior: Outreach efforts encourage responsible behavior, emphasizing the importance of respecting the ocean and its ecosystems. This includes properly disposing of trash, avoiding activities that harm marine life or habitats, and adhering to designated swim or surf zones. By promoting responsible behavior, beach recreation can coexist harmoniously with the environment.
4. Emergency Preparedness: Education equips beachgoers with basic first aid skills and knowledge of rescue techniques. In the event of an emergency, individuals who have received proper training can respond effectively, potentially saving lives and minimizing the impact of accidents.
It's vital to keep your eyes on the forecast and prepare BEFORE you hit the water.
Please be aware of the changing conditions on days like this^^, including tidal swings, wind, the impact of long-period south swell energy on wave heights, consistency (frequent lulls & flurries), and near-shore #currents. Remember that outgoing tide and light onshore wind at beach breaks (like Newport) can guarantee rip currents.
By following the four guidelines stated above, we can create a culture of safety, responsibility, and respect at the beach, ensuring that everyone can enjoy recreational activities while minimizing risks and preserving the beauty of our coastal environments.
If you'd like to support CORE Project's safety education and outreach programs, you can donate here.