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Surfers and surfboards save lives

Wrightsville Beach has recognized that surfers are experienced with rip currents and allows them to surf in front of lifeguard stands anytime long period swells and rip currents are forecast by the National Weather Service.
Waves break in shallower water.
That calm patch of water where there are fewer waves is the deep place where the rip currents are.
Swim for the waves, body surf one into shallower water.
Surfers use rip currents. Rip currents are our "lift ticket" to a free ride out past the waves.
Going for a rescue is easier on a midrange or longboard surfboard because you can get to the drowning victim faster, give them a floatation something to hold onto and you will not drown yourself, but a short board will also work.
As a lifeguard, we know that a drowning person is very dangerous. They are panicked and will climb on top of you and push you under. A surfboard in the hands of an experienced surfer is one of the best rescue tools.
Ocean Isle has shallow bars and deep holes closer to the beach. Waves push over the shallow sandbars at lower tides and fill in the deep holes. As water must seek its own level, this creats a current as the water tries to return to the ocean. The path of least resistance for this current is not where the waves are coming in, but where the deep place in the sand bar is, where the waves appear less intense. A bigger set of waves (or continuous smaller waves like OIB when the wind picks up) will create these currents. Usually stronger at mid to lower tide, but high tide can have bigger waves, deeper water near shore and strong currents as well when the wind is strong, but it is really about the waves, regardless of the wind.
Bottom line?

Look for the shallow sandbars with small waves breaking all the way to shore, there should be no hole on the inside of these areas, before the side current washes you off the sandbar, go to shore and walk back up stream.

Learn to surf.
Trust a surfer with experience.
Rip currents and big waves are our playground.


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