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Rip Currents - After Considerable Study, Why Can't I See Them At Beaches That Have Warning Signs About Rip Currents Being Present?


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#1 Wannabelifeguard

Wannabelifeguard

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Posted 23 February 2020 - 07:02 PM

Hi guys,

 

So I have been trying to learn as much about rip currents as possible. I regularly go to beaches that are well-known to be dangerous, not to swim, but to see if I can spot the rip currents.

 

I have had zero success.

 

I can spot a rip current on youtube videos - there are videos that show you a beach with a rip current and you have a few seconds to identify the rip yourself before the video points it out to you. But I have never been able to find a rip in real life even when I am looking at a beach that I know is very dangerous and full of rips. Leading me to believe that the youtube videos only give easy examples

 

The problem that I am having is that when I go to these beaches, all I am seeing is a long shorebreak (a wave that essentially breaks on the beach). There are no waves behind this shorebreak. It is just calm and then one wave breaking. The wave is continuous all along the beach - no calm patches between it. You can look further along the beach and see the wave beginning and watch it move all the way up the beach and past you. There is no break in the wave whatsoever. 

 

On some occasions I have been to the beach and seen another wave behind the shorebreak - but again, there is no calm calm patches between the waves. No hint of a rip.

 

I have not noticed any signs of discoloured water - but I can't even see this in the Youtube videos that show rips so I am not sure how effective this is as an indicator of a rip.

 

The beaches I am going to are definitely dangerous and many people have died there because of the rips. It is so dangerous that even on beautiful sunny days there is almost no one at the beach. And, as I mentioned earlier, there are literally signs saying "DANGER - Rip currents. Stay out of the water!". There are other beaches nearby that are much safer.

 

So, does anyone have any ideas on why I am not able to see the calm patches?

 

I usually go to the beach at low tide when rips are at their most dangerous. I have also been there at high tide. The waves are usually plunging waves... not sure if that helps.

 

Any help would be appreciated.

 

EDIT 1: I should add on one occasion recently, I was able to identify two longshore currents (I have only recently started watching out for them). The two longshore currents were travelling in to each other (like this: =====><=====) and when they hit each other they would combine and turn out to sea. I could see a thin line of foam moving out to sea, so I imagine that there was a rip there - but there was still a shorebreak in that area and no sign of it being any calmer than any other part of the (almost non-existent) surf.

 

Edit 2: I found a video on youtube that shows beach surf that is very similar to what I am seeing. I have only watched the first 30 seconds of it, so if you just look at the 30 seconds and imagine that is what the beaches that I am looking at look like all along them: https://www.youtube....h?v=Hiqv7R8LG50 - as you can see there is only one wave and no calm patch. 


Edited by Wannabelifeguard, 23 February 2020 - 08:05 PM.