December 8, 2022

Reverse flow

A little assistant surfer who can turn into a dangerous enemy. This article is not only and even not so much for surfers, but for everyone who is going to swim in the ocean. Share with those who are dear to you

Danger: reverse currents in the ocean.

The ocean has an incredible amount of energy.

A vast mass of water is constantly moving towards the coast, bumping into shallow water; it falls in waves, which we love so much for the opportunity to surf.

However, even after the collapse, this mass continues to move towards the land, but the ocean does not overflow its shores, which means that all this water goes back somewhere.

These “drainage” channels are called reverse, or rip-off, currents (in English. Rip Current)

Sometimes they are visible even to the untrained eye; sometimes, they can be completely invisible.

Experienced surfers are good at detecting blackcurrants or surfing channels and use them to get to the lineup faster.

However, everyone else needs to learn how to do this for safety reasons: an unprepared person, once in a canal, may panic from the fact that he is very quickly carried into the ocean, try to fight the current, eventually become exhausted, and even drown if no one comes to the rescue.

How to determine the reverse flow

The channel is located to the side of the breaking wave (or between two peaks), where the wave either does not break at all or collapses crookedly as if two waves are meeting, going in different directions.

rip current | Definition & Facts | Britannica
The water in the canal is usually restless and boiling as if it were walking

The channel may appear calm, but it will likely be darker than the surrounding area.

Debris/wood/algae collect in the canal, and all this suspension and foam on the water surface stably float towards the ocean.

Lifeguards display prohibitive swimming flags on public and private beaches in front of the canal. Please don’t ignore them!

Important! The reverse flow is much stronger at low tide, that is, when there is little water.

If you are caught in a reverse flow

Just like in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, don’t panic! Do not try to swim straight to the shore; the speed of the reverse current can reach several meters per second, the pull is powerful, so you will not be able to overcome it.

It is necessary to swim out of the channel sideways, along the coast.

You will find yourself in the braking zone of the wave and, with foam, will swim out to the shallow water

If you are having trouble getting out of the current, try to get the attention of lifeguards or someone on the beach.

To do this, you need to raise your hands since the screams will most likely not be heard due to the noise of the surf.

But it is better, of course, not to get into such situations. You will significantly reduce your risk if you heed the following tips.

How not to get caught in

Never go swimming alone, especially at night. In terms of surfing, this is also important since there is always the possibility of injury, so you need someone to come to the rescue.

Do not swim where there are prohibitive flags

Learn to swim well in general and in the ocean in particular.

Swimming in open water is a little more complex than swimming in a pool, so when choosing a safe swimming area, try to splash and dive and swim a couple of hundred meters to get used to it.

Before swimming, determine the reverse flow zone according to the signs indicated above.

If you see that someone has fallen into the opposite current and is calling for help, do not rush to him by swimming; since then, two of them will need to be saved.

Instead, contact the beach lifeguards, try to throw something floating on the person, or, if the situation is critical, grab something floating yourself (for example, a surfboard or lifebuoy) and only then swim to help.

Remember, reverse currents are found in the ocean and the sea, so it is essential for all travelers to know about them, regardless of where the path lies – to the Maldives, Thailand, or Odessa!