How to spot Rips on beaches.
Rips occur at almost all beaches, however some are much more prone to strong rips than others. Most beaches with strong rips or that are patrolled will have the rips marked however this is not always the case, so your best chance of avoiding a rip is knowing how to spot them. Rips are simply put, water flowing back out to sea. As waves crash and wash towards the beach the excess water has to return to the ocean. Often larger surf and tide movements will cause stronger rips as there is more water to return to sea, however sea floor shape and sand bar movements can also channel the returning water into faster moving rips on smaller surf days. Even small surf rips can be dangerous as often large areas of beach may only contain one or two rips meaning that all the water pushed to the shore from the waves will be funnelling out in a concentrated spot, meaning the rips can move a lot more water than you would expect ! To identify a rip, look for areas of water with smaller or flat surf that leads all the way out to the back of the line-up. As the rip pulls water out towards the ocean in the opposite direction of the waves the surf in these areas is often smaller or non-existent. Choppy crisscross waves can often be seen as well, this is the result of conflicting currents and wave action. Also watch out for murky water in these areas, rips tent to also pull sand and sediment out to sea meaning the water in rips is often brown and sandy compared to the rest of the beach. Rips are most common in areas with sandbars and will often appear between sandbars in deeper channels of water.