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Monster surf, dangerous rip tides forecast this weekend

March 30, 2012 |  1:41 pm

A large west swell is expected to bring monster surf and dangerous rip currents to the coast this weekend, stretching from the Bay Area to San Diego.

The National Weather Service has issued a high surf advisory for San Francisco, southern Monterey Bay and Big Sur, where waves up to 22 feet are predicted.

The bulk of the wave energy will come from a storm system from Alaska expected to slam into Northern California on Saturday, sending a powerful swell moving down the coast over the weekend, forecasters said.

The surf will peak in Southern California on Sunday, hitting west-facing beaches with 7- to 12-foot waves before quickly losing strength on Monday.

"Pretty much all the beaches will see bigger surf than they usually do, but the biggest will be on exposed, west-facing beaches" like El Porto in Manhattan Beach, said Ryan Kittell, a forecaster with the National Weather Service office in Oxnard.

Winds up to 25 mph could whip up even stronger waves that could eat away sand from some beaches. With dicey swimming conditions and high temperatures in the low 60s, it won't be an ideal day at the beach.

"Just the people who are really die-hard surfers will be out there," Kittell said. "And there will probably be a lot of them."


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Photo: Heavy surf at Dockweiler State Beach in January. Credit: Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times.