Monday, October 20, 2008

Anatomy of a Rip Current; Part I: Inshore Holes Exposed !

*** County Recurrent "Special Bulletin": Heads up ! Echo Boomer List of successful County Recurrent candidates who kicked ass in the swim test and qualified for the next round are now up to ELEVEN (11) !!! Just in: "Julie Wynn, 19, granddaughter of retired permanent and recurrent lifeguard, Cal Porter, 85." Check it out on our updated County Recurrent Blog Post of Oct. 1, 2008. ***


Part I: Inshore Holes Exposed !

Here for the first time, inshore holes will be exposed for the bottom feeding sandy depressions that they are. Sometimes referred to as 'ankle poppers', back crackers', or 'knee crushers', these inshore holes are responsible for some of the nastiest, dirtiest, and swiftest rip currents known to mankind.

Only during a zero or minus tide can these inshore holes truly be exposed for what they really are. Yet, ironically, at such a low tides these inshore holes look peculiarly tame and benign. Add some surf and a six foot receding tide, however, and these otherwise benign looking little swales in the sand become the breeding ground for the disgorgement and repatriation of ocean water seeking a path back out to sea. We are talking TONS, people, TONS of WATER, that has been projectile vomited :-) onshore by successive sets of surf that is now seeking to get back out to sea and it will seek out the deepest, darkest, lowest point from which to do so. Enter the "Inshore Hole", the veritable late night carousing, late for work, ready for a barfight recurrent lifeguard who has no business watching the water. You hear what I'm saying ! These are not the inshore holes you invite home to meet mom and dad. Benign at zero tide, and Mr. Hyde at high tide. Sound like an inshore hole you too have encountered ?!...

I've met some pretty nasty inshore holes of the Central Section variety. Two steps off the beach and WHAM !..... there goes your right knee and hip down into a freaking two foot hole ! Nice ! Or how about while dolphining out through the surf on a rescue and as you dive off the bottom for the third or the fourth time you find your left and right foot at different elevations of an inshore hole so that when you push off with your legs you get an evil chiropractic adjustment which sends your spine and vertebrae moving in different directions ! Great, just great !

Or the infamous inshore holes on Santa Monica South each spring. Come Memorial Day Weekend its like every other beach patron gets swallowed up by inshore holes ranging from one foot to six feet deep. Yeah, SIX FEET DEEP ! Just ask Bill Asturius, Mark Newman and Jim Oppliger who tried to fetch a 300 plus pound victim out of such a hole adjacent to SMS #26 "back in the day", e.g., circa 1978. I would have liked to have helped them out but Roy Salter (at #24) and me (at #25) were busy with our own rips and rescues. That particular inshore hole, however, was AT LEAST six feet deep and it took all three of those studs to get that gal out of there.

So, you see, and as you know yourself, the inshore hole is the precursor to the rip current. The inshore hole is, in effect, the gateway drug, I mean, a preeminent causal factor to the rip current. The photos to follow illustrate this fact.

Photo below: An otherwise benign play pond for an infant..... AT ZERO TIDE, maybe !

Photo above: A Classic "Ankle Popper" at medium or high tide; here, at zero tide just a tiny shimmering pool of water in the hard sand...

Photo above: Don't let these holes fool you because they are knee breakers for sure at medium tide...

Photo above: Here we have it ! Irrefutable evidence of the proverbial bottom, water feeding inshore hole leading the ocean water back out to sea. Just add a receding four to six foot tide with some surf and this gentle stream becomes a freaking funnel of swirling water hoovering out to sea !

Photo above: "Just Follow The Scum"... if it works for the police, hey, why not use it for catching scum sucking, inshore hole breeding rip currents !

That concludes today's lesson of Part I: Inshore Holes Exposed.

Until Next Time,

Will Maguire,
on behalf of COUNTY RECURRENT News

Keeping the County Recurrent "in the loop" !

DISCLAIMER: County Recurrent is not affiliated with nor sponsored by LACoFD or LACOLA.

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