Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Nov. 27
- Community Blog
- Living San Diego through a Tourist's Eyes
5 things to know before your toes touch the ocean
This is Nick. He is the lifeguard on duty today at Grandview Beach in Leucadia. He is the only one on duty right now and is determining critical information that could help ensure a good time with minimal injury. He is the guy that could save your life. So be sure to check in with the lifeguard on duty, especially if you are unfamiliar with the ocean.
As he “clocks in,” he is observing five major aspects of the surf condition. Despite its name, the surf report is relevant to all whose plan is to feel the west coast sand under their feet and possibly delve into rolling waves. If the sound of their roar is not convincing enough to get you to swim or board, beach goers should still always be mindful of their surroundings. Even fishermen are no exception. Remember to respect the ocean, yourselves and others. Here's what today's surf report means:
- Surf 2-4 FT FAIR ~ The height of the waves refer to the swells of the ocean. It helps surfers determine how high the average surf will be.
- Dive 6-12 FT VISIBILITY ~ "Sometimes I'll ask the fishermen about visibility." Nick says if people are out there spearfishing, it translates to how far down the water they can see the water to eyeball their potential catch.
- Tide LOW TIDE/HIGH TIDE ~ This one's a given. The ebb times and tides given tell of the times you'll find the waves at their highest and lowest.
- Anything Else SWIM W/FINS - SHUFFLE FEET FOR STINGRAYS ~ Drag your feet through the muddy desert ocean bottom as you walk into the water. Rays will generally stay out of humans' ways and sting only as a defense mechanism if taken by surprise, according to various sources.
- Swim NEAR LIFEGUARD/WATCH FOR STRONG RIP CURRENTS ~ There are a lot of surfers in the water today despite the warning about rip currents. That's because they help surfers get out a little farther into the ocean. Many, without a board, however, might feel difficulty getting back to shore when it feels like they're getting pulled under. Nick (who preferred not to give his last name), advises
“Swimmers need to swim parallel to the shore--to the left or right," if they find themselves caught in a rip current.
It's a sign. Although these are major points delivered at least daily, there are more signs out there that can help newcomers have a memorable outing--without ending up embarrassed on the evening news as the one who did something stupid and careless (like stay off the bluff, use designated stairway, etc.). Read them and obey. Have a good surf. Be sure to say hi to Nick or whoever the lifeguard is on duty.
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- Riptide Watch at O.B. — July 11, 1991