Ocean Safety: Identify a Rip Current

Have you ever heard of rip currents? If you’re an experienced surfer, you’re probably familiar with this term. If you’re just starting out, knowing what a rip current is is a basic concept that will ensure your safety in the ocean.

That’s why, at Mundo Surf, we’re going to clarify what this term means and how you can navigate a rip current.

Let’s get started!

Do you know what a rip current is and how to recognize it?

In short, a rip current is a current of water that flows back from the shore towards the open sea.


corriente de resaca


Generally, they form on the surface of the sea in areas where the water is not too deep, between two sandbanks.

The origin of these currents is due to the irregular breaking of waves on the shore, which form sandbanks, with deeper areas between two sandbanks. To allow the water to evacuate and circulate smoothly, rip currents are generated.

Rip currents are quite narrow, and as we just mentioned, their movement is very fast, so they can be deadly.

At this point, you may be wondering, how can I identify a rip current so that it doesn’t affect me when surfing? First, observe the sea and the beach before entering the water. Don’t trust the areas of the beach where you see a calm shore with hardly any waves as this is likely to form a rip current.

Similarly, another trick to locate a rip current is to observe that, after a calm shore, a kind of river or current furrow is forming that extends from the shore towards the deep sea. In fact, this “furrow” may even have a different color from the water of the rest of the sea.

Next, talk to local surfers or lifeguards. Each beach is different, and locals are the ones who can best inform you about the specifics of this beach.

Another piece of advice we must give you is to check the tide prediction before going surfing. Look for information about the tide in the area where you are going to surf and read if it is an area prone to this type of currents. This way, you can anticipate water movements. If the tide is low, by observing the shape of the beach, you can get an idea of whether a rip current could form in some area.

corriente de retorno


Tips for surviving a rip current

Now that you know what a rip current is and how to identify one, we’ll tell you what to do if you ever find yourself caught in one of these currents.

If you get caught in a rip current, stay calm. We know this can be difficult to do, but remember that staying calm will prevent you from making any regrettable movements or wasting your energy. It’s also essential that you don’t let go of your surfboard, as it allows you to paddle much faster and tire less. Your board also allows you to rest if you start to run out of energy.

On the other hand, never swim directly towards the shore in the face of the current. Swimming in this direction will only tire you out, and the current could trap you even more and pull you further out to sea. It’s best to swim to the side to get away from the current, so you can then paddle towards the shore with the current in your favor.

corriente de resaca

And what distinguishes a rip current from a tide current?

The terms “rip current” and “tide current” both refer to the same current that we explained earlier. So, if you read that there are rip currents or tide currents forecasted in the area where you’re surfing or planning to surf, be careful and apply all of our tips!

Rip currents are particularly dangerous for swimmers. Surfers, with the help of a surfboard, can move around much more easily in the water. That’s why surfers are usually the ones who come to the aid of swimmers.

In addition to all the tips we’ve provided, we also advise you to check the condition of the equipment you’ll be using when surfing. Having a good surfboard, wetsuit, surf fins, and a surf leash in good condition is essential for practicing this sport safely.

If you need to replace any of these materials or even your surf grip, you’ll find a wide variety of models to choose from in our online surf shop. And, if you have any questions, you can ask our team without any commitment and we’ll advise you and answer any questions you may have. Remember, we’re here to help you!

Products recommended for you:

Rating: 5.0. From 3 votes.
Please wait...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *