VENTURA, Calif. - A Hurricane making its way through the Pacific Ocean is expected to bring high surf and strong currents to Ventura County south and southeast-facing beaches this week. Rescuers are urging the public to be cautious while entering the water, but surfers are enjoying the bigger sets.
Hurricane Marie is bringing potentially damaging surf to Ventura County beaches.
Lifeguards warn that if you are enjoying the beach to make sure to stay off rocks, jetties and other edges where large waves can sweep you away.
"The water has nowhere to go when it hits a stationary spot like a jetty or a pier. So what it does is it creates a rip current. If people get in the rip current and a big set comes, it will start sucking them out to sea," said Ventura lifeguard Loren Alford.
Even good swimmers and surfers can get caught off-guard by this week's unusually strong rip currents.
"The biggest thing is don't panic. If you are getting sucked out to sea, wait till you are safely out past the jetty and then swim parallel with the shore and the currents until you are safely out of the rip current and then come straight back in to shore," advised Alford on how to safely escape a rip current.
On Tuesday, the bigger waves had hundreds of people checking out the surf at popular break spots like Surfer's Point, in Ventura.
"To see big waves like that in the summertime, it only happens every four or five years that you get a swell like that," said Oxnard resident Gerry Christinson.
"Two- to three-foot days are pretty common around here. So when we have a big day, it is kind of nice. Just a change," said Ventura surfer Charles Robinson
The National Weather Service is reporting that this week's waves may be the largest surf Ventura County has experienced in recent years, with breaks reaching up to 15 feet.
Longtime Ventura surfer Jack Riley welcomes the big set. "A bigger set you get more speed. It is kind of fun to be a little scared you know, but not too scared. When you take off down the face off that wave and you crank that bottom turn hit the top and then you ride. It's fun, you know, really fun," said Riley.
If the waves do get to 10 or 15 feet, like the National Weather Service predicts, low areas along the beach might see minor coastal flooding near times of high tide.
The National Weather Service reports the high surf is expected from Tuesday, Aug. 26, to Friday evening Aug 29.