Swell to produce high surf, potential for ‘sneaker waves’ along coast

A surfer walks the beach in Santa Barbara. An ocean swell is expected to produce high surf Monday and Tuesday.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

A large swell sweeping across the California coastline could create dangerous conditions for beachgoers through Tuesday, including stronger rip currents and possible “sneaker waves” that can sweep people into the ocean.

The swell is expected to affect the coastline south of Point Conception through Tuesday afternoon, with building surf also creating strong rip currents, according to the National Weather Service. The surf is expected to build up to 4 feet on Monday, with some sets possibly hitting 6 feet.

“Sneaker waves” -- so named for appearing out of nowhere and catching people near the shoreline off guard, often with deadly effect -- will also be a threat through Tuesday morning, particularly during high tide, the National Weather Service said.


Sneaker waves were blamed in the deaths of three members of an Arcata family last year near Eureka when they attempted to rescue a pet dog that got swept into the ocean.


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