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Pompano
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[*] posted on 12-27-2014 at 02:42 PM
Sneaky stuff


Went by this beach warning sign on the Pacific Coast and it got me to wondering?


How dangerous are these...and how common?

I know about 'Oh, those sneaky snakes... they'll sneak up behind you... and drink all your root beer' and often sing it around our campfires, but I've never had an experience with a 'sneaker' wave. Whether in Baja or Up North. (although I was once pulled out to sea in some weird undertow back in the fuzzy 60's)

Have you?











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Barry A.
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[*] posted on 12-27-2014 at 02:57 PM


Actually, Yes. Waves come in sets. Sometimes there is a particularly vigorous wave within a "set" that catches you by surprise, especially on a steep beach like on the Pacific side of the Cabo peninsula. You are wading in ankle-deep water and Boom, you are suddenly in it's grips and knocked off your feet, and that can be stressful as well as occasionally life-ending. I sure have been surprised once in a long while, and I lived beside the Pacific Ocean for about 30 years in my youth.

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[*] posted on 12-27-2014 at 03:57 PM


Roger, several of these signs at northern California beaches. Like Barry states, waves come usually in sets of three and sometimes are much bigger than normal Signs especially useful to fishermen who climb down to some rocky outcropping to get closer to deeper water and are at risk of getting washed of those rocks. Many paid the ultimate price .
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bajabuddha
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[*] posted on 12-27-2014 at 04:56 PM


...you never watched.... The Poseidon Adventure? :O

[Edited on 12-27-2014 by bajabuddha]




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Barry A.
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[*] posted on 12-27-2014 at 05:11 PM


----------and then there is the ultimate wave------known as a "Rogue Wave"----------now THOSE will make you sit up and take notice, I hear. Never actually saw one, tho occasionally when in my Tin Boat in the SOC I thought one was chasing me.

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[*] posted on 12-27-2014 at 05:34 PM


Vandenburg, that's indeed where this sign is...northern Cal Coast. I agree that some fishermen we've seen on rocky points are taking quite a risk at times. Like these two...let's hope they made it home okay, with some fish!



"Rogue Wave"...as in a single wave? Most likely caused by an undersea landslide or earthquake, Barry A.? I've had experiences with wind driven 25ft waves off Westport, Washington, which were big enough to quickly chase us back into harbor. Pretty nasty. THat day those storm waves sunk a trawler/cruiser named the Patrick D. Thanks to quick action, the couple aboard were rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter and a diver/swimmer.

No 'sneaker waves' for me, thanks. I'll take fair warning anyday.

[Edited on 12-28-2014 by Pompano]

[Edited on 3-12-2017 by BajaNomad]




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[*] posted on 12-27-2014 at 05:44 PM


One episode of 'The Deadliest Catch' caught a rogue wave on camera! While working in an already rough Bering Sea, they were slammed by a wave far larger than the others.
Most of the commercial (and charter) fishermen that I have met say they have encountered them, and fishermen wouldn't exaggerate, would they?




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[*] posted on 12-27-2014 at 05:57 PM


Large waves can be particularly dangerous on beaches with a lot of big driftwood. It is quite common in the Pacific Northwest, for people to be injured or killed when a larger than normal set comes in and dislodges big driftwood logs, rolling them over people on the beach.



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[*] posted on 12-27-2014 at 06:08 PM


Quote: Originally posted by AKgringo  
One episode of 'The Deadliest Catch' caught a rogue wave on camera! While working in an already rough Bering Sea, they were slammed by a wave far larger than the others.
Most of the commercial (and charter) fishermen that I have met say they have encountered them, and fishermen wouldn't exaggerate, would they?


Hah...read this and had to respond right away. I think I watched that episode on the tube. Big sucker that washed over the entire 100 ft plus ship. Had to be a real pucker factor that day.

Meeting a salmon skipper one winter in Baja, I had the good fortune to become one of 5 partners in 5 driftnet Bristol Bay salmon boats and permits in the 70's and early 80's. We went out of Naknek mostly and sold our catches to Peter Pan cannery. Reds were the prime target. We saw a bit of rough stuff, but thank God, we never saw any monster waves..those rogues...cuz we never went out in weather that rough. Never saw much sun either, come to think of it. Of course we were 32 ft as compared to 120 ft. A slight advantage.

No sneaker waves for me up there either...although I was told about that huge 1958 wave that rushed into Lituya Bay. Can you believe that wave went 1720ft up the side of the mountain at the end of the bay. Makes you wonder....but that was a landslide...and did not 'sneak' in by any means!

[Edited on 12-28-2014 by Pompano]




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[*] posted on 12-27-2014 at 06:24 PM


There are a couple of points I've fished on in Nayarit and, over the course of a few hours if you are paying attention, you can see a bump way outside that is much larger than the rest.
If you are not paying attention you are going swimming.
I made it a habit to never look away.
I've seen the same thing in NorCal... hairball!
Now, when I'm surfing? That's the bump I'm waiting for....
:coolup:
Brief NOAA explanation




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[*] posted on 12-27-2014 at 06:38 PM


Quote: Originally posted by monoloco  
Large waves can be particularly dangerous on beaches with a lot of big driftwood. It is quite common in the Pacific Northwest, for people to be injured or killed when a larger than normal set comes in and dislodges big driftwood logs, rolling them over people on the beach.


Playing catch up here. Just read about the dangers of big waves rolling all the driftwood around, monoloco...and I couldn't agree more. I was recently walking the Washington beaches and there are plenty huge logs that would be NO fun trying to dodge. Like being in the middle of a giant pick-up-sticks game!







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[*] posted on 12-27-2014 at 06:54 PM


Quote: Originally posted by soulpatch  
There are a couple of points I've fished on in Nayarit and, over the course of a few hours if you are paying attention, you can see a bump way outside that is much larger than the rest.
If you are not paying attention you are going swimming.
I made it a habit to never look away.
I've seen the same thing in NorCal... hairball!
Now, when I'm surfing? That's the bump I'm waiting for....
:coolup:
Brief NOAA explanation


soulpatch, I've always thought of how much fun it would have been to grow up on the Pacific Coast...and learn at an early age how to surf, along with reading the waves and spotting a good ride. The big onas never did quite reach to North Dakota...but then, we did have all that wonderful snow to ski on and off of, so I guess it's a wash. We did have a few 'sneaker' blizzards....like on April Fools day one year.




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[*] posted on 12-27-2014 at 07:03 PM


Yeah, I hear ya'... you know, every place has it's pleasures if you are open to them.
I always wonder how different my life would be if I had grown up far from the sea.
And, now, here I am living in the very center of Mexico after surfing for 35 years!
Well, the ocean will wait and I still have that wave knowledge..... this learning to ride horses thing? Man, it's fun when they head out and smooth but when I think about getting off at a high rate of speed and sudden deceleration..... jajaja, I have a lot to learn!




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[*] posted on 12-27-2014 at 08:19 PM


I've lost track of the number of sneaker wave fatalities just on the Southern Oregon Coast in the past few years. Usually folks who come from the inland and are totally unaware of the danger.
One particularly sad case involved an ex Coast Guard veteran who wanted his ashes spread on the coast near Port Orford. His wife and two sons made the trip from another state to satisfy his final wish. The elderly widow was out on a rocky shore attempting to spread the ashes and was hit by a sneaker. Her two sons tried to save her and she and one son were swept away and As I recall never recovered. One son barely survived.
As the saying goes, Never turn your back on the ocean.
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[*] posted on 12-27-2014 at 08:34 PM


Lordy Lencho....



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[*] posted on 12-27-2014 at 08:44 PM


Somewhere I have an old snapshot of a sneaker wave that almost took John away! We were in Southern Oregon and saw the warning sign, but shoot, the cliff we were on was way above the beach and the water looked calm, so we just did not take the sign seriously.

I was taking picture of John standing near the edge of the cliff when our of nowhere, a monster wave engulfed him and the cliff! Fortunately, he was not swept away, but was just soaked, very cold and a bit embarrassed. I just happened to snap the picture as the wave covered over him! I must find that snapshot.

Since then, we have NEVER taken one of those signs lightly.
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[*] posted on 12-28-2014 at 01:10 AM


I was shore fishing a few years ago near Punta Baja Bob on the Pacific side. Had a nice gunny sack full of Yellowfin Croaker...very average day...no storms...then out of nowhere comes this wave and all I could do was turn my back and hug the cliff behind me as it crashed over me. I turned and watched my tackle scatter on the rocks as my gunny sack slid down into the water...I guess I could have jumped in after it but I had no idea what was to follow that wave. Luckily surf perch were a dime a dozen so dinner wasn't a problem but man, it was an eye opener.
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[*] posted on 12-28-2014 at 10:08 AM


An employee of mine was swept away by a sneaker wave at Seal Rock here at Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Was back in "74. He was only 30 years old.
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[*] posted on 12-28-2014 at 11:02 AM


A lot of effort has gone into understanding the statistical distribution of ocean waves. From Wikipedia:

" Significant wave height, scientifically represented as Hs or Hsig, is an important parameter for the statistical distribution of ocean waves. The most common waves are less in height than Hs. This implies that encountering the significant wave is not too frequent. However, statistically, it is possible to encounter a wave that is much higher than the significant wave.

Generally, the statistical distribution of the individual wave heights is well approximated by a Rayleigh distribution.[4] For example, given that Hs is 10 metres (33 feet), statistically:

1 in 10 will be larger than 10.7 metres (35 ft)
1 in 100 will be larger than 15.1 metres (50 ft)
1 in 1000 will be larger than 18.6 metres (61 ft)
This implies that one might encounter a wave that is roughly double the significant wave height. However, in rapidly changing conditions, the disparity between the significant wave height and the largest individual waves might be even larger."

What beach goers need to understand is that these big waves can appear suddenly because they are built up from the sum or stacking of two or more waves. This can happen at sea (I have witnessed this first-hand, very scary, esp at night) or on a beach.

Approaching the beach, two or more waves of different heights start to drag on the bottom at different depths, and that is when they also start to slow down and pile up into a breaker. If those waves combine at the break point, then you get what is commonly called a sneaker wave.

The point is you really can't see it coming because it didn't exist until the waves stacked together at the break point. It's easy to understand how someone from the interior of the country would not know about this and get caught out.

I once had a job at a wave tank that could roll a 10 footer. We got told by the university president "that there shall be no more surfing" in the wave tank.

We put that memo on the bottom of a huge poster of one of the guys riding a ten-footer in the tank!
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[*] posted on 12-29-2014 at 12:05 PM


Dude,

These signs are a waste of time and money.

Surfers can't read.





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