NewsLocal NewsSan Diego News


High surf warning in effect across San Diego beaches until Monday

Ocean Beach high surf
Posted at 12:25 PM, Dec 28, 2023
and last updated 2023-12-28 15:25:09-05

OCEAN BEACH, Calif. (KGTV) — A high surf advisory will be in effect across San Diego beaches from 8 a.m. Thursday through 2 a.m. Monday.

At Ocean Beach, groups of San Diegans came out to watch the power of the rising and crashing ocean.

Among them was spectator Mark Davis, who came to watch the high tides to kick start his day.

"I came just to watch the waves before I go work out," Davis said.

The high surf also drew out surfers of all levels who wanted to see if they could handle the ride.

"My friend asked me if I wanted to come check it out, and once I saw it, I knew it was too large and in charge for me," Gerry Giuliano, a surfer in Ocean Beach, said. "I mean, it's hitting the pier and that's a warning sign that's it's pretty big, closing out and breaking pretty quickly too."

Ocean Beach lifeguards were also out in the water Thursday morning, trying to prevent anything bad from happening to the surfers who were getting too close to the pier.

The high surf isn't just going to hit Ocean Beach the week leading into the new year. Other beaches in San Diego could see anywhere between 4 foot to 12 foot waves.

Black's Beach is also expecting to see some of the higher surfs.

These conditions could bring flooding, and even further damage to the Ocean Beach Pier, which is closed through storm season until early 2024.

The pier closure hurts surfers, like Giuliano, who like to walk out to the end to get better views of the surf.

It also impacts residents, like Rick Dower, who have fond memories of the pier, but have seen it deteriorate over the years, despite all the maintenance the city has done on it.

"I think they're at a point where that pier needs to be replaced after 50 years, especially after 50 years of being pounded by the waves like this," Dower said. "It's amazing it's held up as well as it has. I was with my dad when it opened in 1966."

As more tides are expected later in the week, Mónica Muñoz, Media Services Manager with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, provided the following advice:

  • Never turn your back to the ocean to take a selfie or for any other reason. It's very easy to be swept away from areas like cliffs along the coastline.
  • Don't go into the ocean during these conditions if you aren't a strong swimmer or surfer. It's very easy for people to be overcome with fatigue and not be able to swim out on their own.
  • Always swim near a lifeguard.
  • If you find yourself in a rip current, relax, don't panic. Swim parallel to shore until you're out of the rip and then swim in.
  • A rip current will pull you out further away from shore but it won't pull you down under the water.
  • If you feel you can't make it in, raise your hands and a lifeguard will come to rescue you.
  • Stay away from the coastal cliffs during high surf conditions. Slippery, wet rocks are common reasons people fall in.