Surfers compete Saturday: rip currents strong Sunday

Hundreds take part in weekend surfing competition as riptides roll in Sunday

By Zachery Lashway - Reporter/anchor, Roxy Tyler - Web producer

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - Some 140 surfers are competing Saturday and Sunday at Jacksonville Beach in the Void surf competition.

While conditions in the water were perfect for surfing Saturday, there's a potential threat for strong rip currents Sunday.

"This is the best it gets for summertime. It's hot and sunny. A ton of people out on the beach. We have a 2 to 4-foot swell in the water. This is as good as it gets," said co-founder of Void Media, Tye Wallace.

He's the organizer of the annual surf competition.

"(We've been) lucky with the surf, fortunate enough, we have been going through a flat spell, and we have really good surf today," Wallace said.

News4Jax chief meteorologist John Gaughn couldn't agree more, "We have a great weekend for summer. I mean, it's hot and sunny." 

But things can change quickly in the ocean. That's why lifeguards use a color-coded flag system. 

Yellow flags flew Saturday, but they will likely turn red Sunday.

A red flag warns of high surf and strong currents.

"We have low pressure in the south. That low pressure is sending the waves, setting up a situation where we could get rip currents as the winds become more easterly and northeasterly," Gaughn said. "Keep the kids close to the coast and be alert to the lifeguards when they get close to the water. Listen to the lifeguards. When they say pull out of the water, get out because there could be a danger there." 

The area affected by rip currents Sunday will extend from Georgia to Jacksonville and to the south.

But Wallace said organizers of the two-day surfing competition are prepared.

"Judges on the north and south will keep their eyes on competitors at all times," he said.

Sunday's competition begins at 8 a.m. Winners will get their awards at 6 p.m.

 

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