How to Surf : How to Identify & Avoid Rip Currents

How to Surf : How to Identify & Avoid Rip Currents


Hi! This is Pat Weber with the San Diego Surfing
Academy for expertvillage.com. I want to tell you about rip currents: how they form and
what to do. Here’s the beach. Here’s waves coming in over a reef or a sand bar. Deeper
water like a channel. All this water has to go out some where, and it is going to go out
the path of the least resistance where the waves are breaking left. This texture in the
water, this chop heading this way is a rip current. Never swim against the rip current.
Not even an Olympic gold medalist can swim against a rip current. It is not even humanly
possible. You want to go parallel to the shore: one direction or the other. Sooner rather
than later you will be out of the rip current, remember not to panic, and then you will be
able to get to the beach. Also a rip current is the surfer’s chair lift. It helps you out
into the line. If you are swimming, never swim against it; always swim perpendicular,
parallel to the beach.

Antonio Breitenberg

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38 thoughts on “How to Surf : How to Identify & Avoid Rip Currents

  1. Neal Acharya says:

    Very well explained. I've seen so many animations and graphics and "expert" explanations, but this guy gets right to the point and explains it perfectly. Great Video!

  2. JR6355 says:

    this video can save lives nice work expertvillage!

  3. DRthirdLEGGED says:

    you probably saved my life and the other 7,816 people who watched this, thank you

  4. 12 Bravo Gamer says:

    four weeks ago at seal beach, I got caught in a rip current, I got tumbled and got so strong that I hit my head at the bottom floor of the beach.

    This is great advice man. If that Lifeguard was not on duty, I wouldn't be typing this comment

  5. FiNiSH Random says:

    my friend Will got caught by a rip current. and he swam against the current and made it back to shore! and when i asked him how he said it wasent that strong.

  6. FiNiSH Random says:

    i guess so! although it could have been just the weakest type of rip current. this is why i dont go into oceans. i prefer bays and pools XD

  7. sean says:

    o.O
    If I was caught in one, I'd probably attempt to swim against it 😛

  8. ronzy says:

    A fatal mistake in this video, repeated by lifeguards across the world

    If stuck in a rip DO NOT try to swim ANYWHERE, reserve your energy and focus on staying afloat

    Beaches do not ONLY have rip currents taking you away from the shore. Beaches have SIGNIFICANT cross shore (parallel) currents

    This vid tells you to swim parallel 'one way or another'. DO NOT! One of those ways will be AGAINST the cross-shore current, wasting your energy and you could drown. I'm happy to give more details…

  9. ronzy says:

    @Anthony92841 a Uni student in this sort of stuff, coastal oceanography, etc…

  10. under25toride says:

    Your text blocks your diagram

  11. ronzy says:

    @Bullzeye95 Hello Bullzeye. I can see how you miss-interpreted my comment as being a furor, I simply ran out of space and had to edit out any politeness. Hundreds of people drown on both lifeguarded and non-lifeguarded beaches around the world every year. My intention was to better inform all beach goers in the hope of possibly saving lives. I honestly can't see anything unnecessary in that…..

  12. ronzy says:

    @Bullzeye95 ….The ultimate point is, many people (particularly tourists) don't use common sense on where they swim, and then they do find themselves in trouble. PLEASE JUST SAVE YOUR ENERGY AND STAY AFLOAT. There are minorities who do understand the ocean and can use rips to their advantage (even when in trouble) – eg experienced surfers, specific oceanographers, experienced lifeguards, those who live by the coast pay attention and learn. It's the knowledge and understanding which can save you

  13. GBPaddling says:

    I've heard advice to swim at 45 degrees to the shore,I wouldn't do this.In my opinion,I would stop swimming,calm down and take stock of the situation,the rip will only take you so far,then you will travel left or right,watch fixed objects ashore that will indicate your direction(a transit mark),then after approx. 100 yds try to swim,your mindset should be preservation of energy,be prepared to be there a while.Also these rips can move location!!! after a storm ,sand gets moved about!!!

  14. d33untouchabl3 says:

    Thanks for sharing this video!

  15. Viewer says:

    He just saved 30,000 lives

  16. JkNMtB14 says:

    @under25toride turn them off…

  17. allenzero1 says:

    @GBPaddling NOT ALWAYS SOME WILL PASS YOU ON TO ANOTHER CURRENT OUT TO THE OCEAN!!!
    Thank you I shouldent be alive what a great educational show.

  18. allenzero1 says:

    @Bullzeye95 Yes there is but thats about rivers and narrow currents with a bend or sudden drop in them different from a beach entirely though

  19. allenzero1 says:

    @Bullzeye95 Another big mistake is getting pulled out over a reef YIKES they will tear you to ribbons!

  20. allenzero1 says:

    @astral360 thats some balls well done!

  21. allenzero1 says:

    @ronzy depends 2 if it's Ocean based if so getting dragged out can be lethal just the same butalso as he said reefs could be 2 ether side which will also mess you up pretty badly, So in the end it's about staying calm an considering your situation wisely not in haste.:.

  22. allenzero1 says:

    @randomboys1000 they can vary in strength widely

  23. allenzero1 says:

    @cosmicGOON I live in Michigan an I can attest to that it's all 2 true.
    Our fuckin lakes our so big they generate many dangerous currents some spots the Ocean is WAY safer,
    Aka near our Detroit river in a lot of spots namely near the bridge will kill you 4 sure

  24. allenzero1 says:

    @MLB89 most true RIP currents no but many ppl call any pulling current a RIP current by mistake

  25. FiNiSH Random says:

    @allenzero1 mother nature lol

  26. Teddi Kella says:

    I am adding this video to my squidoo . com lens about rip currents. 🙂

  27. takforalt says:

    Well done vid. Very clear and to the point. Thanks.

  28. etapi65 says:

    @Sw33tAsH0ney If you can float you can survive a rip.

  29. Ddashmatt says:

    The most common danger of rip currents is when people panic, staying calm in the ocean is the most important aspect of safety.

  30. CJPapan says:

    A kid in my town just drowned from being caught in a rip current, he was only 15

  31. Osmigo1 says:

    I'd like to see a video showing how to SPOT a rip current from the beach, so you can avoid them to begin with.

  32. Sophie A says:

    That was a good description. Thanks.

  33. msmusik2 says:

    how far out were you to start with? did the rip current start to move slowly and then pick up speed? me and my friend were swimming upper hip level and I guess we were moving sideways because all of a sudden we were up to our necks and I guess I felt a little current but I just thought it was a part of the waves, were we in a rip current?

  34. 12 Bravo Gamer says:

    Numbers wise, I do not have an exact numbers, but well over 100 yards from the beach. One indication is when there is very foamy water and the beach is evacuated. Rip currents drag you further into the ocean, wave after waves pound you. If you experienced neither, you weren't in one. But I would ask a lifeguard or an oceanographer who can answer the question better than I can. All I know is I shouldn't be alive.

  35. Carisa Carlton says:

    Best explanation I found. Thank you. I embedded your video in my article on rip currents at Laguna Beach Gazette dot com.

  36. alex jaines says:

    I use the rips to get out.

  37. Dead poolmonkey says:

    So it helps surfers but for swimmers is a night mare

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