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  1. #1
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    Question Delaware Surfing Accidents this summer

    I was called by the Local Newspaper, and asked about why there might be an increase in surfing accidents this summer in Delaware. Apparently there have been much more then normal, as reported by the hospital.

    I told them that there was nothing abnormal about the wave action this summer, but I thought that the beach replenishments might be responsible. (I'm sure the towns would be glad to hear me say that - sarcasm). I described how the replenishment destroys the sandbars and make for more shorebreak type waves that are more conducive for injuries. I based this on zero research on injury data, but I think its clear to most surfers when they see the before and after effects of replenishment on the sandbars.

    Firstly, I wasn't aware there were more surfing injuries this year. Have other Delaware surfers seen this? Also, do you agree with my suggestion that the replenishments may be at fault?

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Swellinfo View Post
    I was called by the Local Newspaper, and asked about why there might be an increase in surfing accidents this summer in Delaware. Apparently there have been much more then normal, as reported by the hospital.

    I told them that there was nothing abnormal about the wave action this summer, but I thought that the beach replenishments might be responsible. (I'm sure the towns would be glad to hear me say that - sarcasm). I described how the replenishment destroys the sandbars and make for more shorebreak type waves that are more conducive for injuries. I based this on zero research on injury data, but I think its clear to most surfers when they see the before and after effects of replenishment on the sandbars.

    Firstly, I wasn't aware there were more surfing injuries this year. Have other Delaware surfers seen this? Also, do you agree with my suggestion that the replenishments may be at fault?

    No doubt that has an impact on the injuries. I would suspect that the majority of the injured weren't surfing, but "boogie boarding". I took my kids down to the beach last week. The swell was running 1-2 feet. We are in Monmouth County, a spot of continued beach replenishment. The surf was absolutely dangerous, literally breaking on dry sand. I saw some kids boogie boarding that were getting absolutely drilled into the sand. I'm surprised non of them broke their necks!! The lifeguards seemed unaware of the situation. Based on the swell size they had the green flags flying, meaning all safe. IT definitely creates a serious hazard for the unexperienced, especially if anyone gets caught in a rip because of the sudden drop off to deep water only five feet from shore.

  3. #3
    if it will bring us any closer to artificial reefs, then yeah.... beach replenishment is to be blamed for injuries.

  4. #4
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    Been saying it for years. Replenishment is TRASH!!! It is a short-term, extremely costly, minimally thought out solution to a never ending problem. We need more sand pumped offshore for those bars to reform, then we can pump sand onto the beach. I guard in North Bethany and to say the least Ive seen some pretty horrendous shore break and stronger rips this year. Army Corps is a bunch of idiots. Lets start a petition against this bs...youre completely right Micah

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    No doubt that has an impact on the injuries. I would suspect that the majority of the injured weren't surfing, but "boogie boarding". I took my kids down to the beach last week. The swell was running 1-2 feet. We are in Monmouth County, a spot of continued beach replenishment. The surf was absolutely dangerous, literally breaking on dry sand. I saw some kids boogie boarding that were getting absolutely drilled into the sand. I'm surprised non of them broke their necks!! The lifeguards seemed unaware of the situation. Based on the swell size they had the green flags flying, meaning all safe. IT definitely creates a serious hazard for the unexperienced, especially if anyone gets caught in a rip because of the sudden drop off to deep water only five feet from shore.
    Agreed, the tourists only know how to ride straight in and when you get that special 2 foot set jacking up and exploding on shore you have that boogier going head first into the sand. We have a drop off about 10 feet out in bethany that goes from knee deep to chest. So tired of this nonsense.

  6. #6
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    I'm not going to pretend that I know all of the obstacles of the beach replenishment options as far as what works the best for maintaining a beach and cost effectiveness, but they really should consider the safety impact...

    I went to the beach with my friend's family who has a 7 year old boy. The waves were small, but just surging on the beach and little kids (and adults) were getting pounded left and right.

    Do you think the town's are just thinking $$, and don't even consider safety issues are an after thought?

    Maybe we will eventually get to offshore reefs?

  7. #7
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    I haven't seen any concrete studies indicating a direct correlation between the beach replenishment and surfing(body boarding) related injuries. But there are many articles regarding this topic as well as anecdotal evidence.. I think it is obvious to anyone who surfs in DE. I have seen Dewey Beach destroyed multiple times from the replenishment as well as OCMD.

  8. #8
    Most likely the toll was highest at SSide IR, the favorite spot for sponges.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swellinfo View Post
    I was called by the Local Newspaper, and asked about why there might be an increase in surfing accidents this summer in Delaware. Apparently there have been much more then normal, as reported by the hospital.
    I know Beebe Hospital has been collecting ocean injury data for a couple of years and trying to compare the time and location of the injuries to risk factors, including things like beachfill proximity, wave heights and periods n the nearshore buoys, beach slope, what activity the victim was doing.

    Depending on how you define surfing, I'd think the majority of it is done in Delaware at spots that aren't nourished, like cape and IRI. If they include tourists riding a ten dollar sponge in the surf then yeah, the coarse grained beachfill is a major factor. I was on the beach in Dewey the other day on a day with some swell and kept cringing watching middle aged guys slamming themselves up onto the beach on their hard slicks.
    Last edited by mitchell; Aug 5, 2012 at 09:35 PM.

  10. #10
    Common sense would tell you that a large wave breaking onto dry sand is DANGEROUS. Sort of like diving into the shallow end of a pool! A recipe for serious injuries. The lifeguards seem totally oblivious to this. As far as data for surfing injuries go, 99% of surfers won't surf that anyway so you might not see huge increase in those injuries, but an increase in injuries in tourists boogie boarding or even swimming/body surfing.
    Last edited by shark-hunter; Aug 5, 2012 at 09:56 PM.