Santa Cruz

Even Skilled Surfers Wary of Giant Waves at Ocean Beach

San Francisco's Ocean Beach is known for big waves, especially during the fall and winter seasons. But on Tuesday those big waves went beyond what is typically seen at the popular beach.

"I love that we have this on the western edge of our city," resident Emily Nahmansom said. "But in the wintertime, when the waves are big, it's extra exciting."

A high-surf advisory went into effect at 3 p.m. Tuesday, pushing the usual 10-foot waves to 20 feet and higher.

With waves that size, even the most experienced surfers say they are staying out of the water.

"It's death-defying," surfer Monique Kitamura said. "If you are not a skilled surfer and you are going to throw yourself out there, regardless, if you even make it out of the current the undertows, you’ll die. So luckily for us, the surfer that surfs here ... they know what they are doing."

From the parking lot, people kept their distance, admiring Mother Nature’s strength from afar after Coast Guard officials reiterated warnings about sneaker waves. Such waves can snatch unsuspecting beach goers and fishermen who venture too close to the water and pull them out to sea.

The high-surf advisory remains in effect in coastal areas for Sonoma, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties until 6 p.m. Wednesday.

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