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Bombi
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margaritagirl
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September 18, 2010 1:01 pm  

That story is so sad.

We had a young man who was surfing @ Salt River over by white horse yesterday. One wave cracked his surf board in half, he ended up in front of our house down quite aways from the Columbus beach swimming for his life. My husband went down to assist him out of the water. He was scared and told my husband he didn't think he was going to make it.
My husband drove him down to Columbus beach where his family was so glad to see him alive.


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Edward
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September 18, 2010 1:03 pm  

Tragic, indeed.

There needs to be a unit in every school, and shared with the public, about rip currents.

As a young Water Safety Instructor, I learned about rip currents and have been especially cautious with waves since then.

It looks like great fun to dive into the incoming wave. Kids - and adults - need to understand that the water will then return to the sea and may run fast through a narrow channel, causing the rip.

Rule 1. Avoid the rip.

Rule 2. If caught in the rip, swim to the side.

Rule 3. Never try to swim back to shore through the rip.

Anyone had any experience with a rip current?


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chefnoah
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September 18, 2010 1:18 pm  

Over a year ago I was caught in one at Cane Bay. I was with 2 friends who knew what to do. We just started swimming parallel to the shore and eventually we made it. I'm not the strongest of swimmers and it took me longer than my friends.
It felt like an eternity, but real time was a minute or two. It was like swimming in one of those treadmill pools. Exerting so much energy with no return. It was a calm day too, I can't even imagine what Carambola was like yesterday. How sad...


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Bombi
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September 18, 2010 1:34 pm  

The 16 YO may have been surfing., according to my son. Not to diminish this tragedy but I've seen it before and has almost happened to me and my sons. Big wave are such an allure for all surfers and watermen/women. The experienced ones know their limits and the power of the sea. Less experienced always learn through experiences which most often just scare the shit out of you but teaches you a valuable lesson, respect for the ocean.

My oldest boy almost bought the farm a couple of times in Hawaii. One time he lost his board on the outside reef at Sunset Shore and was carried by the current several miles before the rip slowed down enough to swim the mile ashore. Another time at Wiamea he got worked by a huge wave and driven to the bottom where the depth and pressure from the breaking wave shattered his ear drum. He surfaced and miraculously found his board and paddled to shore. He had wicked vertigo from the injury. better now.
The younger one is just plain crazy and seems to be afraid of nothing. I hope he matures soon.
My scare was in So. maine and not nearly so dramatic but it taught me not to over estimate my abilities.

Surfers are a crazy breed that feed on the rush of sliding down the face of the wave powered by only nature and their imagination.

I feel so bad for his family. It would devastate me. The only consolation I can find is that he left this life doing something that he loved.

Of course I could be misinformed.


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newarrival
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September 18, 2010 2:50 pm  

Was the boy who is lost a visitor? A local? My heart is breaking for the family.


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SkysTheLimit
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September 18, 2010 3:05 pm  

He was a student at St Joseph High School on STX.


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Linda J
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September 18, 2010 3:51 pm  

There is no consolation for losing a 16 yo child.


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Edward
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September 18, 2010 6:16 pm  

As Bombi notes, a big wave can take you down to the bottom. A rip current doesn't take you down; it just takes you out to sea.

Noah's friends did the right thing. Take it easy. Don't fight it. Swim parallel to shore. When out of the rip, float and rest before making your way back to shore. And avoid the rip as you return to shore.

We all grieve for the child.


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Bassman
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September 18, 2010 6:41 pm  

My wife and I got a scare at the same spot as Chefnoah at Cane Bay. The rip current is caused by a cut in the reef in front of the boat launch. We didn't realize what was taking us out and quickly tired trying to swim straight back. Fortunately we drifted enough to the west side to struggle in. At one point I didn't think we would make it. I've never been so scared in all my life.


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longtime
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September 18, 2010 8:42 pm  

The young man's body has been found

http://stcroixsource.com/content/news/local-news/2010/09/18/police-locate-body-teen-caught-rip-current


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aussie
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September 19, 2010 1:14 pm  

Anyone had any experience with a rip current?

First, my heart-felt condolences to the boy's family. This is a such a tragic loss of life.

Yes, I've seen the internal workings of a rip current while diving. I was diving alone off the FL coat while in college and waded right into one. I was only in about 3 feet of water when I was knocked down and started being pulled forcefully out to sea. I didn't have my mask, fins, or regulator in place so I got squared away first and then started trying to figure out what was happening. I had a full tank of air so the only real danger I was in was being thrown into the coral.

Rip currents, at least underwater, are not a steady current. I would be forcefully thrown about 15 to 20 feet out to sea. Then I slowly sank about 4 feet to within 1 foot of the bottom. Then I'd be pulled about 4 feet back towards the beach, lifted about 4 feet in the water column, and then once again forcefully thrown out to sea in a continuous cycle. The current went right to the bottom. The sand would be vacuumed up each time the surge was towards the beach.

I got a bit lucky clearing the first reef which is only in about 4 feet of water at high tide. A powerful outward surge stopped me just short of the reef. Then I was lifted up and thrown over the reef but just barely. The next surge toward the beach tried to pull me back into and onto the reef. I planted my feet against the coral. It's a very powerful force and it was all that I could do to brace against it.

Once clear of the first reef, I just decided to just enjoy the ride and observe. I allowed it to take me about 300 yards out to sea to a depth of perhaps 15 or 20 feet. As I approached the second reef, I decided to error on the side of caution and slowly started kicking parallel to the beach. It's a narrow current. When I was outside of it, I could still observe it from safely outside of its grasp.

If you're caught in a rip current while swimming, swimming parallel to the beach is what will save you. It's simply much too powerful of a force to swim against.


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