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Phuket Surf School


 

A quick learn to surf guide
for newcomers to the sport/lifestyle/obsession of surfing



Rip Currents

One thing every surfer must know about is rip currents. Every year many people drown because they don't understand the force and danger of rip currents. Being a surfer you will, for sure, be called upon to help swimmers in distress who have be swept out by a rip current.


What is a Rip Current?

A rip current is when waves come into the beach they bring a lot of water with them. This water needs to escape back out into the ocean. The water usually goes along the beach to either end and then goes in a channel out the back or in the middle of the beach through a break in a sandbar.

You can usually tell a rip current by no waves breaking; choppy water even though the rest of the sea is calm; waves breaking either side; a line of seaweed or other moving out to sea; a difference in water colour; lack of foam sitting on top of the water.

what a rip current looks like


Facts about rip currents

  • Rip current speeds vary. Average speeds are 1-2 feet per second, but they have been measured as fast as 8 feet per second......faster than an Olympic swimmer!

  • Rip currents can be very narrow or more than 50 yards wide.

  • Sometimes rip currents end just beyond the line of breaking waves; however, they may continue to pull hundreds of yards offshore.

  • Rip currents do not pull people under the water, they pull people away from shore.

Why are Rip Currents Dangerous?

Rip currents are dangerous because they can move very fast out to sea. Any swimmers caught in the current can easily be taken out past the breaking waves or further. Rip Currents can pull even the strongest swimmer out to sea.

They are moving out to sea all the time, but when the tide is changing from high tide to low tide this is when they can be at their strongest.

how to escape a rip current
picture from NOAA


Surfer's Friend?

Now for the good news...YES! rip currents are the surfer's friend! When you are sitting watching the waves before you paddle out, look for the rip currents. Usually good waves can be breaking either side as well. Paddle out through the rip current and then accross to the waves. Sometimes you can get out to the line-up without getting your hair wet.....

Check our forum for more on understanding tide charts

Other FAQs

How to fix your surfboard

How to spray paint your surfboard

 

How to forecast the surf

How to ride a body board

 


Where can I find Learn to Surf Books & DVDs?

 

 

All About Surfing::Saltwater Dreaming::

mailing/postal address

Saltwater Dreaming
108/3 moo 3
Cheongthalay, Thalang
Phuket 83110
Tel: +66 76 271050
Fax: +66 76 325629
URL: www.saltwater-dreaming.com

Surf Shop (location map)
Surin Beach, Phuket, Thailand


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