Lifeguards close Ocean Beach pier, rescue surfer amid high surf

Big waves pose danger for swimmers and surfers

SAN DIEGO - The big waves along San Diego's coastline forced lifeguards Tuesday to shut down the Ocean Beach pier.

Aaron Kirkeby was surfing at Sunset Cliffs when two female lifeguards had to rescue him.

"I'm a little bit embarrassed, you know," he said.

He did not want to go on camera at first but came around to get a safety message out.

"It's not about anything other than surviving because it could take your life -- that's the bottom line," he said.

Kirkeby started surfing five years ago, so he's not a beginner, but admits he's not in top-notch surfing shape. He and his friends know bigger barrels make for better rides, so they paddled out at Sunset Cliffs. A couple hours in, the swells started to grow and he started to grow tired.

"The current was really strong, so you have got to be careful on Mother Nature; it's a strong animal," he told 10News.

At times, Mother Nature unleashed 10-foot tall waves, and at Sunset Cliffs, there's no soft beach to soften an underwater blow.

"It's just scary," he said. "[It's] my life, you know."

Not making it home to his two teenage daughters was not an option, so he told his friend he needed help.

"Big sets come and you get caught on the inside, you know. I just didn't want to find out what that was," Kirkeby explained.

San Diego Lifeguards had already beefed up their staffing, so lifeguards hopped on a jet ski and yanked Kirkeby out of what they call expert-level only surf.

Kirkeby may be embarrassed, but at least he got his "Baywatch" moment.

"It's funny, two chicks pull up on a jet ski, and I'm like, 'Yes!'" he yelled through laughter.

Kirkeby said they weren't just any chicks, telling 10News, "They're heroes."

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