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Surfing: Hidden Dangers

Article ID: 8
Last updated: 07 Aug, 2014
Surfing images from Ocean Beach, San Francisco. It can be spectacular, unpredictable, and it always has a number of hidden dangers...

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Surfing can be a spectacular sport to watch, and to take part! However, there are hidden dangers which are always present...... and Ocean Beach, San Francisco has dangers in abundance..... 


First of all, the water is cold, even when air temperatures are high on the beach. Low temperatures will drastically reduce your chances of survival. The low temperatures of the water rapidly results in numbness, confusion, and loss of body control. Unconsciousness and death can follow. 


One golden rule is NEVER to turn your back to the ocean! There are special types of waves, called sneaker waves, which arrive randomly, and without warning. They result from a number of wavefronts combining to form a 'killer' wave which has a much greater power than other waves. It can 'sneak' up to you, and knock you over so easily. Then the worst part follows....it then drags you back to the ocean, and you are swept out to sea by one rip current. A rip current is basically an outward flowing 'river' ,which drags everything and everybody, out to sea. It is virtually impossible to escape from this force and energy, if you become a victim. 


Shorebreaks are waves that break directly on steeply sloping beaches, as is the case at Ocean Beach. There are many cases of these resulting in to neck and spinal injuries. It gets worse, since the force of the returning water can drag a person into the ocean, along a rip current. 


Wading and swimming are dangerous activities at Ocean Beach. Quite apart from the dangers of rip currents, there are inshore holes and traps that are caused by the motion and forces of the water removing large quantities of sand. This action forms inshore holes, which cannot be seen by waders, or swimmers. It is so easy to fall or become trapped in one of these inshore holes. 


Oh...almost forgot to state the obvious. There are sharks in these waters, including the Great White Shark. Surfers, in their black wetsuits (an absolute must for insulation) can be mistaken for seals, and attract the attention of sharks. 


All these images were taken on October 26th, 2003. With record breaking air temperatures of over 90 F at this time of the year, the water is still very cold. Wetsuits provide the required insulation, and are an absolute necessity for the surfers. 



This is not a good advert for best practice! NEVER turn your back towards the ocean. Watch out for those sneaker waves.....
Article ID: 8
Last updated: 07 Aug, 2014
Revision: 1
Views: 81
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