Waves are always good for swimming, but when they are large, like those off the Southern California beaches, there is a potential danger in surfing them. They can be dangerous even for the pros, since it’s easy to get pulled into the middle of a wave and be thrown far out of the water. Even the pros need to go slowly into these large waves, because even the pros can get hurt if they try to ride a wave too quickly into it. When surfing off of Southern California beaches, it’s important to watch for waves that look suspiciously similar to breaking surf or waves that are too high in the air. There is also the risk of being run over or getting beach stubs from large surf, which aren’t pleasant at all!
There are some simple ways to protect yourself on the beach. The first is to move sand! If a wave is knocking sand out of the air around you, then it is doing what it is supposed to – breaking the sand. You should move the sand around to create more space between you and the approaching wave. If there is a lot of open sand on the beach, this can be especially dangerous, so try to find the edge of the sand and stay put!
Another way to protect yourself on a beach is to watch for loose particles of sand. Many beaches have loose particles of sand lying in the ocean, because that part of the beach is generally not patrolled. Surf is hitting the beach due to the wind pushing the sand around and making it come back down, creating a wave. Loose sand in the ocean is more difficult to surf, since it can easily get in the way of your wave. This is why you will often see surf boards near the edge of the beach, as well as buoys near the shoreline to mark the point where the beach and ocean meet.
Beach grains offshore may be more dangerous than loose sand, though. When waves hit the beach, they can break the surface of the sand and create large waves. The waves can travel far offshore and come in contact with the beach before actually hitting it. As these grains of beach come in contact with the sand on the ocean floor, the grains can become solid enough to block a future wave from coming in, which makes it harder to paddle out into the surf.
Beach erosion can cause significant damage to a beach. Sand is soft and can erode quickly, causing large holes and erosion. A damaged beach can take a very long time to fill back up following a storm. Storms can also cause sand to wash away from the beach, creating an uneven beach or erosion that spreads across the sand.
Beach nourishment allows for sand to slowly rebuild a broken beach. It uses small amounts of sand from the ocean floor, along with any organic materials such as pebbles or rocks that have been washed out of the sea, to fill up the beach. This sand is often very fine and does not move much when the wind blows. This makes the beach soft and pliable, while preventing any beach erosion that may occur. This sand is usually left in place until it is replenished from reeds beds during a high tide. This sand then can easily replaced during a low tide.