Rip currents a real concern at Jersey Shore

September 9, 2012 6:43:41 AM PDT
Tropical Storm Leslie may be far out at sea, but it is having a profound effect along the Jersey Shore.

Waves pounded the shore in Atlantic City, and several beaches have been closed to swimmers.

The surf at the Jersey Shore has gained intensity as hurricane season picks up.

Margate City beaches are closed off to swimmers until further notice.

"You're seeing waves 6, 8, 10 feet coming through certain days," said Joe Palmer. "Couple of those waves hit you over the head, the next thing you know, you swallowed some water, you're out of breath, panicking."

The 12th annual Dean Randazzo surfing competition to raise money for people battling cancer is an exception to the beach closure; the event is equipped with 4 lifeguards and extra safety gear.

"We tell the contestants before they paddle out, 'Do not feel obligated to paddle out unless you're absolutely comfortable with it,'" said Dan Cellucci.

Because of the powerful waves, lifeguards have the wave runners on standby. If a surfer gets into trouble, they will take them out into the water, load the victim up onto the raft and bring him ashore.

"I lost my board because my leash snapped," said Harry Richardson. "The waves are really powerful."

"It's a long paddle, but once you're on a wave it's a fun ride," said Nick Giunta.

Bigger waves in the Garden State are a dream come true for some, but not all.

"It is definitely way too rough out there," said Jackson Baylinson.

Families who are still soaking up some final days in the sand say they are prepared for rougher waters.

"We're just taking some precautions, going in the water holding onto her extra tight and not going in too deep," said Dina Gambone.

Even after the storm passes, lifeguards say the rip currents could linger, so even if the waves look quiet they could be quite strong through next week.


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