For instance, a south swell will push you toward the north, and a north swell pushes you in a southerly direction. This could come in to play if there’s a pier or jetty that you might get washed toward. So it’s a good idea to check out the conditions before heading out.
Check the flags on the lifeguard tower. Green means safe conditions, yellow means use caution and red means hazardous conditions, meaning you probably shouldn’t be going out.
When you start heading out, sometimes there are some deep spots and shallow spots, sand bars, so it’s not advisable to dive head first in those areas. There have been many neck injuries from that sort of behavior over the years.
When swimming or surfing it’s advisable to use the buddy system and go out with a friend. With the water warming up there have been some sting rays, so shuffle your feet to let them know you’re coming, instead of stepping right on one. If you do get stung, I hear soaking your foot in really hot water is good for getting out the venom or barb.
Watch out for rip tides. If there’s a swell and you’re out by the surf line, a current sometimes will start sucking you out to sea. Try to stay calm, and swim parallel to the shore to get out of it. Raising your hand and waving for help should also alert lifeguards.
And don’t forget the sunblock, hopefully waterproof, with an SPF of 30 or more, so you don’t get a sunburn. Also let’s try to keep our beaches clean by putting the trash in the trash canisters. And for goodness sake, don’t break any bottles. I hate picking glass slivers out of my feet.
Other than that, lets have a rip roaring, great 2008 summer! The first part of the week, with the good-shaped overhead south swell surf, and wow, water temperatures warming up to 66 degrees, I saw a lotta people trunking it. At 7 and 9 tonight, Surf Theater at the Charter Centre Cinemas, 7822 Warner Ave., is featuring the Rip Curl movie called “Somewhere.” I heard it’s a jammer with 48 searches and 12 locations. Cowabunga, surf’s up. Fig over and out.
RICK FIGNETTI is a 10-time West Coast champion and a longtime KROQ-FM surfologist. He owns a surf shop on Main Street. You can reach him at (714) 536-1058.