Just a few days after two teens were killed while wading in waist-deep waters at Ocean Beach, rescue crews were called there again Tuesday when a surfer got caught in a rip current and had to be fished from the sea.
There's still no sign of the remains of Wayne Ausa and Grisham Duran, the Vallejo 16-year-olds who were pulled into sea Saturday while wading with friends.
But even with this concrete example of the perils of Ocean Beach currents, swimmers and surfers have been out in droves in the recent warm weather. On Tuesday at around 2:52 p.m., Bay City News reports, San Francisco Fire Department rescue crews and the National Park Service’s beach rescue unit were called to the beach yet again, this time near Vicente Street and Great Highway.
According to BCN, the male surfer "had been separated from his board and got caught in a rip current."
Speaking with the Examiner, SFFD spokesperson Jonathan Baxter says that "For an unknown reason, he was separated from his surfboard, was pulled out by a riptide and was unable to get back to shore."
Crews were able to pull the surfer from the treacherous current, Baxter says, and bring him safely to shore. He was transported to the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center as a precaution, and is expected to survive.
But though every stairway to the beach contains a sign like the one below:
San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar says that the issue here is "education," not a decision on the part of surfers and swimmers to risk the currents. (It's unknown if the surfer rescued Tuesday somehow missed all the signs, or chose to ignore them.)
In a written statement, Mar said that agencies should be "assessing and working on improving the existing signage and educational efforts on the dangers posed by the strong currents along our coastline,” and called for lifeguards “especially during the growing number of heat waves that have been attracting many more people to the beach.”
"I think we need better education," Mar told ABC 7. "It can't just be after a tragedy. It has to be year round as well."