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    Jan 2006
    Earth, USA, California

    Surfers OK after wipeouts

    Surfers OK after wipeouts
    Officials warn of deadly riptides, possibility of floods on coast
    The Monterey County Herald
    Herald Staff Report
    Article Last Updated: 02/25/2008 01:46:10 AM PST

    Click photo to enlarge

    Ed Guzman, wearing helmet, is assisted by two men as he tries to rescue his personal watercarft along the rocks on Pacific View Boulevard in Pacific Grove on Sunday... (DAVID ROYAL/The Herald)

    As officials warned residents to stay away from Central Coast beaches and bluffs, several surfers who braved the waves were uninjured after wiping out in giant breakers off Pacific Grove on Sunday.
    Riding a personal watercraft shortly after noon, Ed Guzman tried to rescue a surfing friend he'd been towing amidst the 20-foot-plus surf off of Ocean View Boulevard and Coral Street when another large wave hit, the second in a towering set.
    Guzman was washed off his craft, firefighters said.
    Guzman, owner of Club Ed surfing school in Santa Cruz, was trying to aid his surfing partner, Don Curry, who had wiped out in a 25-foot wave and lost his board, said Monterey Fire Division Chief David Potter.
    Pushed into shore rocks, Guzman and two men rescued his watercraft from the churning surf near the water's edge, and Curry swam safely ashore at a cove near Lovers Point. Both men had been wearing protective helmets.
    Potter said another surfer's board broke in the water but that man also was able to swim ashore unharmed.
    Swells of 24 to 26 feet were seen Sunday all along the coast in Big Sur, Carmel and Pacific Grove and lasted through the night. State emergency officials warned of "battering waves pounding the shores" that caused very dangerous swimming conditions and deadly rip currents that would last through early today. Potter noted that the storm causing Sunday's big waves wasn't as forceful as one that caused widespread blackouts and flooding earlier in the year.

    "We didn't have anywhere near the impact we did of January's storm," he said.
    On Jan. 4, wind gusts reached 48 mph, causing outages that left tens of thousands without power. This weekend, on-shore winds only reached 28 mph.
    A Pacific Gas & Electric Co. spokesman said there were no storm-related outages in Monterey County on Sunday, with the closest outage, in Boulder Creek, leaving 2,000 without electricity.
    But lighter winds inland don't mean the coastline is safe, officials said.
    The state's Office of Emergency Services has issued a high surf warning that remains in effect at least through this morning.
    A strong Pacific storm generated the "very large" westerly swell, state officials said, that would continue to peak through the night and possibly cause coastal flooding and beach erosion from the Central Coast south to Santa Barbara County.
    Emergency agencies warned that coastal residents should prepare for flooding.
    The surf is expected to gradually subside today but could remain as high as 10 feet through Tuesday.
    Even after the waves subside, Potter urged the kind of caution that's always advisable along the coast. "Don't ever turn your back on the surf," he said.

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