Sneaker waves

Thinking about something from a couple of years ago after reading about surf conditions in Northern California this week. I was at Rodeo Beach in Marin, California, after a storm had passed. The waves were huge, crashing near the lagoon. I was on higher ground, and I could see where the wave wash was coming in from my vantage point. It was like walking on two levels – the higher, drier, safe beach area that had yet to be hit and the lower level that was smooth, wet, and steeper. As someone who grew up near the water, I knew to never walk on the lower side.

I watched an older woman and her dog walk on the lower level. Suddenly, a sneaker wave hit quickly and unexpectedly. I was up high and could only bear witness to the event. The wave ran up the beach like a freight train, and the old Labrador saw it coming. It quickly surrendered as the water engulfed it. The older, overweight woman walking the dog tried to run up the beach, but the panic of a slight uphill run and water coming from behind caused her to stumble and fall. The water took her quickly. Fortunately, neither she nor the dog was swept out to sea. They were so lucky.