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Response to retrowire (Original post)

Mon Feb 8, 2016, 06:46 AM

23. I was 16 in 1967 and had moved from NJ to southern California two years previously.

I grew up swimming in the summer in an old cow pond that had been converted into a swim club. They had categories
of swimming skills--for which you were tested--and given badges that you wore on your swim suit so that the life guards
could see at a glance just what skill level any kid had. There were privileges associated with each level that allowed
you more access to things--like the dock, diving boards, water slides, the raft out in the middle of the pond. You get the
idea? There was also a swim team (I was a member), and a diving team (I was a member). They also taught the Red Cross
water safety and life guard training programs. I had attained the highest level of swimming skills badge as well as a junior
life saving designation from the Red Cross that was as far as I could go given my age--14--before we moved to California.

So, two years later in Southern California we had a backyard pool to swim in--not a 3 acre pond--or the ocean. Our next door
neighbors from where we had lived in NJ were visiting, so the kid from next door I grew up playing with (a guy) and I go
down to Moonlight State Beach in Encinitas. We're out in the water, goofing around, but he gets tired and decides to
go sit on the beach but I decide to stay and play in the waves a little longer. All of a sudden, I'm aware that I'm being
pulled out farther and farther each time I dive under a wave and that I'm beginning to get a little far out. So, I try to
catch a wave and body surf back in. But the wave crashes on me and pulls me under. When I come up, I'm farther
back out. By now, I'm getting pretty tired. I'm not making any progress toward the beach and simply trying not to get
pulled farther out. I realize I'm in trouble--big trouble--so I start screaming "help" and waving at my friend on the beach.
He just waves back. He can't hear me. The lifeguard station is about 20 yards down the beach and they haven't spotted
that I'm in trouble. I come to the realization that if I'm not going to drown, I have to get myself out of this rip current by myself.
So, the Red Cross water safety/life guard training kicks in and I remember that I need to swim parallel to the shore to get out
of the rip current. I let myself be pulled out past where the waves are breaking and start swimming. I go about 30 yards and
try riding a wave back in again. No deal, pulled under when the wave breaks and, holding my breath, am pulled back out.
I start swimming again, farther along the beach, maybe another 20 yards. Ride the wave in, and this time it dumps me
out close enough to the beach that I can stand. Only my legs are rubber and I'm exhausted. I stay there a few minutes, just breathing, realizing
how close I came to drowning--in sight of a friend and a lifeguard--neither of whom recognized the danger I was in. Finally,
I get up, get out of the water, and walk back to my beach towel and plop down next to my friend. Turns out he didn't have a clue
of the trouble I was in.

I never did go back in the ocean at Moonlight State Beach. I went on to become PADI open water certified for SCUBA when I was
in my early 30's, but I have never really much liked playing in the waves in the ocean ever since that near drowning experience.


The swim club still exists https://www.noepondclub.org/DisplayPage.aspx?PageID=7

And brochures about beaches in southern CA warn about rip currents http://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/662/files/sanelijosbpdf092309.pdf

There's a youtube video of a lifeguard rescue at Moonlight State Beach

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Arrow 30 replies Author Time Post
retrowire Feb 2016 OP
Liberal_in_LA Feb 2016 #1
retrowire Feb 2016 #2
cherokeeprogressive Feb 2016 #3
retrowire Feb 2016 #4
hermetic Feb 2016 #5
retrowire Feb 2016 #6
hermetic Feb 2016 #7
shanti Feb 2016 #30
Enthusiast Feb 2016 #24
retrowire Feb 2016 #8
davsand Feb 2016 #9
retrowire Feb 2016 #11
davsand Feb 2016 #13
retrowire Feb 2016 #15
Initech Feb 2016 #10
retrowire Feb 2016 #12
Initech Feb 2016 #14
retrowire Feb 2016 #16
Initech Feb 2016 #17
doc03 Feb 2016 #18
retrowire Feb 2016 #19
doc03 Feb 2016 #20
Enthusiast Feb 2016 #25
Kashkakat v.2.0 Feb 2016 #21
retrowire Feb 2016 #22
Enthusiast Feb 2016 #26
LineNew Reply I was 16 in 1967 and had moved from NJ to southern California two years previously.
mnhtnbb Feb 2016 #23
Enthusiast Feb 2016 #27
Ohio Joe Feb 2016 #28
mnhtnbb Feb 2016 #29
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