Beaches Heat Up As People Look To Cool Down

MALIBU With temperatures inland hot enough to cook eggs on the sidewalk, thousands of Angelenos hot-footed it to area beaches to get a little respite from the heat and cool their tootsies -- and other parts -- in the water.

Even the beaches reported unusually-high temps, but nothing compared to what the Valleys and deserts were getting. It was probably too hot in Malibu for Barbie, and she's plastic.

For humans, the cool water provided a great escape.

By midday, beaches from Zuma to Santa Monica to Hermosa to Newport were at or near full capacity, as residents jockeyed for spots along the beach.

At Santa Monica Beach, where the temperature reached 80 degrees, lifeguards reported 130,000 beachgoers in all -- double last week's crowd.

"It's early in the day to really get stats," said Capt. Ocean Lifeguard Tom Seth, but he noted lifeguards already made a larger-than-normal number of rescues.

Twenty miles west, at Zuma Beach the temperature hovered around 78 degrees just before noon. An estimate on the number of beachgoers, expected to reach its peak by 3 p.m., wasn't available.

"It's very busy -- as busy as it can be," said Capt. Roger Murray. "The weather is just hot and wind is calm, moderate. There is a riptide, and we're doing lots of rescues throughout the Malibu area, from Surfrider to Point Dume."

To handle the larger crowds, the Zuma Beach station has called in extra
lifeguards and doubled-up its coverage on some towers.

"We have a Honda Aquatrack personal watercraft and a rescue boat patrolling the coastline helping out, so if we get multiple victims pulled out at the same time, the boat and watercraft can really help and assist with that," Roger said.

At Hermosa Beach, farther south, the temperature was a pleasant 78. "Good crowds" were on the beach by noon, said Garth Canning, a section chief with the Los Angeles County Fire Department, Lifeguard Division.

Canning noted dangerous riptide conditions, usually more a problem at south-facing beaches like Manhattan and Dockweiler, where the surf was reported at 2 to 4 feet today.

"It's good to talk to the lifeguard, to ask for the safest spot to swim," Canning advised. "We are making rescues."

At San Clemente State Beach, marine safety officer Ian Burton said the 72-degree water is matched by the 75-degree air.

Typical water conditions for late June greeted oceangoers. The ocean temperature at Zuma Beach Friday was a relatively-cold 64, with waters warmer in Orange County and points south. (© 2008 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.) - Beaches Heat Up As People Look To Cool Down