Watch a huge wave knock a man off a rock into the ocean near Santa Cruz

A video shot along California’s Central Coast last month shows a man being knocked over by a giant wave and swept into the ocean near Bonny Doon Beach. The man survived, officials said.

The clip was posted to Santa Cruz County’s Facebook page on Tuesday amid a warning from the National Weather Service that swells could reach 25 feet along some area beaches. The high surf advisory was in effect until 9 p.m. Thursday.

The nine-second video shows a man standing on a rocky outcropping that’s struck by a giant wave, which sends him tumbling backward before sweeping him into the water.

“... never turn your back on the ocean!” the Facebook post reads. “Waves can sneak up on you, as this Bonny Doon beachgoer recently discovered (he is fine after a rescue by State Parks).”


The 20-year-old man was knocked into the ocean on Dec. 20, shortly after 4 p.m., said Eddie Rhee-Pizano, Santa Cruz lifeguard supervisor for California State Parks.

By the time parks personnel, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and paramedics responded, he had swum back to shore and was on the beach. They treated the man for scrapes and transported him to a hospital. His injuries are not believed to have been serious.

Powerful waves continued to batter the beach Thursday.

“We still have a lot of energy in the water and some large waves,” Rhee-Pizano said. “So we’re just trying to keep people away from the water as much as possible due to these large long-period waves that are hitting the coast.”

He urged visitors to heed warnings from the weather service and take proper safety precautions.

“It’s important to realize when you have these high surf advisories, you need to stay high and dry,” he said. “Never turn your back to the ocean and definitely stay off the rocky outcroppings and coastal bluffs for your safety.”

Bonny Doon Beach is known as a dangerous stretch of coastline during periods of rough surf.

In 2016, two UC Santa Cruz students died after they were swept into the ocean by a wave while standing on a rock at the beach. About three years before that, two women drowned after a wave knocked them from the cliffs where they were fishing just north of Bonny Doon.