Stab Magazine | So Many Waves, So Many Helicopter Rescues

So Many Waves, So Many Helicopter Rescues

California’s West Coast has been busy.

news // Jan 24, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Winter on the West Coast has been keeping most of us entertained. Mavs has been going XL at a fairly frequent rate. Ocean Beach has had some glorious moments. Rincon’s lined up walls have given surfers all over Instagram something to be jealous of. But unfortunately, the steady run of swell has also been keeping rescue personal from Oregon to the Mexican border busy. 

Maybe it’s the influx of “aspirational” humans playing in the ocean these days, perhaps it’s their troubling reliance on Wave Storms or a shitty instructor at their surf school, whatever the case, rescue choppers have been pulling oceangoers out of bad spots all week.

On January 12, at Indian Beach, Oregon, just north of popular Cannon Beach, a pair of surfers were pushed into an inescapable cliffside cove by the unrelenting northwest swell. The Coast Guard was called. In highly dramatic fashion, the surfers were pulled off the beach using 150-foot-long ropes and rescue baskets. The rescue took all of 15 minutes. The surfers declined medical attention—conceivably to go burn one down in their car and self-medicate after the experience.

About a 1,000 miles south, on January 13, another whirlybird was sent out to pluck a surfer from the turbulent Isla Vista waters. In the space of two hours Santa Barbara County Fire logged five rescues at the infamous Campus Point. Four of the victims were reportedly young adults, possibly students at U.C.S.B, while a 67-year-old man was also rescued. Four of the surfers were rescued by lifeguards and jet skis. One of them somehow got trapped against a cliff and had to be choppered out. 

“He later walked away with just an ice pack around his hand,” reported the local news. Again, nothing a little self-medication can’t solve.

Further south still, in the category of “dumb shit people do around the ocean,” two pro lacrosse players (which apparently is a thing) had to be rescued in San Diego when they thought it would be a good idea to jump off a ledge at Sunset Cliffs. Garrett Epple and Nick Ossello, members of the San Diego Seals, asked somebody standing nearby to film their jump—because that’s what smart people do. Forsaking wetsuits in the middle of January, they plunged into the six-foot surf and were promptly rescued by San Diego lifeguards.

“I was flabbergasted,” one witness who tried to dissuade them told the San Diego Union Tribune. 

There’s been no shortage of waves this winter, and apparently, there’s been no shortage of people willing to put themselves in compromising situations.

As an old lifeguard friend once put it, “We’re just here to save the stupid from themselves.”


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