Surfing hazards for uninitiated
THAT ECL (East Coast Low) didn't last too long but it sure made its presence felt as it wound its way past our region over the weekend.
It almost ended in tragedy with the rescue of a stricken motor cruiser on the Ballina bar. Things got very serious out there and lives were nearly lost. But, thankfully, due to some very hard-working and level-headed rescue crews everyone involved eventually made it in alive.
Much praise to those blokes for keeping their wits in an extremely dangerous situation.
This whole thing is a classic example of just how powerful and dangerous our coastline can be.
If we're involved in the recreational use of the sea in any way and we are complacent about its power, then we are putting ourselves and others in danger.
This is just as true for surfing as it is for other activities that take place in the water.
I often see people attempting to learn to surf who can barely swim. Some appear to have little or even zero understanding of how the ocean, its waves and currents work. It simply defies logic.
Seeing as we're on the survival topic, I thought I'd share a little life-saving tip with you guys that has served me well for many decades of surfing.
Always surf like you are not wearing a legrope. What I mean by that is this. Never, under any circumstances, rely on a legrope to save your life. Always ask yourself before paddling out. If my legrope fails, could I swim back to the beach without my board?
If I pull into this wave, can I make the wave without losing my board?
If I paddle out here, can I do so without having to throw my board and dive for deep water?
In other words, can I hang onto my board?
Because legropes can, and do, fail at any time.
Too often I see inexperienced people relying entirely on a legrope to save them from a dangerous situation.
It's actually far safer to not rely on one at all. Leg-ropes are often touted as a safety device these days, but this is erroneous.
They were originally designed to reduce the risk of losing a board on the rocks for experienced surfers; they were designed as a tool of convenience.
Okay let's take a look at this weekend's conditions.
Right now we have some E 1-2m swell. This should be replaced by a pulse of long-period S 1.5-3m (13-18 sec) swell.
This is being generated from dual lows further south in the Tasman.
Once again this swell will be short-lived.
The winds are forecast early morning W 10-15kts swinging S 20kts tomorrow, then SW/NW 15kts on Sunday.
However it would not surprise me if the wind did actually go around to the south on Sunday.
Whatever the wind does, if this pulse of swell stays predominantly out in deep water, we'll get some sweet little waves on the open beaches.