The science of the surf…

OK, going by that title, you would be mistaken for thinking that I’m some sort of ocean expert/marine specialist…

…. but obviously I’m not.

However, I have just been talking to someone who is very knowledgeable about that sort of thing, and I felt it was of utmost importance to deliver the information to you!

I have just this minute come back from watching my 12 year old son battle with the surf whilst he was on one of his weekly school ‘surf skills’ lessons at one of our local beaches.

Imagine that? Surf Skills –I mean, when I was 12 we were lucky if we got a trip to the community swimming baths. I still shudder to think what lived in that luke-warm footbath we all had to trudge through before we entered the pool, and there were always toddlers splashing about in it ’cause it was warmer than the pool itself …. heeeave.

But anyway, back to the pristine beach today – I was asking one of the lifesavers about ‘rips’ (something I always hear about – but never really know what it means) and he told me that a rip is a current of immensely strong water that washes back into the ocean after the waves have crashed onto the sand.

Apparently the current is so strong, that not even an Olympic swimmer would be able to swim against it, never mind my feeble body.

So in true ‘top tip’ fashion, here is a basic outline of what to look out for and what to do if you get caught in a rip.

  • Check the waves on the beach, a rip has noticeably calmer water, with just slightly bumpy water and no crashing waves. (almost as if to entice you to swim there?)
  • The area will also be darker blue in colour, as it is deeper there.
  • Obviously make sure you swim between the red and yellow flags, but if you do find yourself in a rip – just put one arm straight up and wait for rescue.
  • If you are caught in a rip and you are in an area without lifesavers (regretting it now aren’t you!) then swim away (either side) of the rip – not towards the beach.

“We’re always pulling Poms out of the ocean” said the surf lifesaver to me today – how embarrassing I thought, as I faked a terrible Aussie accent.

Have a safe week. x

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2 thoughts on “The science of the surf…

  1. Hi Rob,

    I have just added a new post and put a link to your website ’cause you were right – it explains the whole ‘rip’ thing much, much better!

    Thanks so much for pointing me in your direction, let’s hope it saves a few poms from being pulled out of the sea!

    Best wishes

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