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JOSHUA SUDOCK, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Richard Dominguez of Westminster, who was out surfing since daybreak, takes a break near the Huntington Beach Pier on Tuesday morning. A winter west-northwest swell is slowly building and will bring overhead waves at some spots along the coastline on Thanksgiving Day, according to Huntington Beach-based forecasting company Surfline.com.
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Strong swell bringing rip-current danger

THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Warm weather for the Thanksgiving holiday might entice people to head to the beach to take a cooling dip into the ocean, but beware – there will be big waves and rip-current dangers.

Wednesday will start off small, but a winter west-northwest swell will slowly build, and waves will be big on Thanksgiving Day, with overhead waves at some spots along the coastline, according to Huntington Beach-based forecasting company Surfline.com.

At standout surf breaks like Huntington Beach and Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point, waves could be in the 8-foot range by Friday. There's also a secondary south-southwest swell moving in at the same time, making for peaky conditions. The swells will be easing through the weekend, according to forecaster Jonathan Warren.

"Please exercise caution if entering the water, as there will be strong surf and rip currents throughout the region. Eating too much turkey may make you too lazy to swim out of a bad rip," Warren said.

Rip currents can suck beachgoers out to sea and make it difficult to swim back to shore. You can identify a rip because the surface water will seem choppier and will be a brown, murky color. To exit a rip, swim parallel to shore until you are out of the murky area, then swim away from the current and then toward shore.

Also, you might not last long if you take a dip – water temperatures are toe-numbing, sitting below 60 degrees.

A few tips to keep you safe:

• Swim near a lifeguard.

• Never swim alone.

• Don't fight the current.

• Never swim while intoxicated.

• Leash your surfboard or bodyboard.

• Don't float where you can't swim.

• Always wear lifejackets when boating.

• Protect your neck to avoid spinal injuries, and never dive headfirst into waters. Also avoid bodysurfing, bodyboarding or surfing straight "over the falls." Ride the shoulder.

Contact the writer: lconnelly@ocregister.com


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