I was going through some of my old photos when I happened upon some photos I took of a rescue of a surfer at Otter Rock, Dec 26th 2006. It got me thinking about rip currents. NOAA says ” Rip currentsare powerful, channeled currents of water flowing away from shore. They typically extend from the shoreline, through the surf zone, and past the line of breaking waves. Rip currents can occur at any beach with breaking waves.” Rip currents are used by experienced surfers as an energy saving route through the surfzone to the lineup. However, newbie surfers sometimes get stuck in rip currents and don’t know how to get out of them. If you are stuck in a rip, paddle parallel to the shore line and always paddle further than you think you need to- then paddle back to shore.
The person being rescued in this photo had just rented a board for the first time. She paddled out into the rip, couldn’t exit it and got swept out to sea. Luckily for her the Newport Coasties were just around the corner and a rescue helicopter and boat were scrambled. The rescue took about 30 minutes and the girl was fine.