Rip currents have been in the news in my area for the past few days. The media has been announcing regular warnings, and the life guard towers all have signage indicating strong rips. Last week, two tourists on Longboat Key rented surfboards and ended up drowning after getting caught in a rip current. I'm not sure of all the details, but speculate that they didn't know what they were doing, or how to handle the situation. Rip currents can be very dangerous for a person who is unsure of how to handle them, but they can also be valuable tools to surfers who want to paddle out to where the waves are. Surfers identify where the rip currents are, then let the current do all the work taking them outside, saving the energy of a long paddle. Because of rip currents, one is able to extend a good sesh for a much longer time by conserving energy . When my break has good waves, I look for the location of the rip current, and use it to take me out. Once outside, I can catch a wave, and repeat the cycle for as long as possible. When one is dialed into their own home break, it is usually easy to find the rips. There are interesting market parallels regarding rip currents. The markets can have many underlying rip currents that are either very dangerous, or valuable tools to the speculator. Rip currents can appear as sudden declines, increased activity, huge increases in price and volume, and many other forms. Rip currents have cycles, direction, and patterns, much like the markets. If you know your particular market well, you will probably have no problem identifying and recognizing the presence of a current. Rip currents can appear and disappear in a heartbeat, just like volatility in the market. In the water, one saves them self from a rip current by swimming parallel to the beach until the grip is lost. If caught in a market rip current, instead of battling it, just go with the flow or exit the trade. Either way, the proper management of a rip current (in surfing or the markets) will conserve much valuable energy, allowing for a longer session.





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2 Comments so far

  1. steve leslie on May 27, 2008 9:11 am

    In my much younger days, I was a lifeguard at a lake. I am also a certified scuba diver. The number one reason why a person drowns is they panic. The unfortunate fact is that a person can drown in as little as a few short seconds. All it takes is a large gulp of water and that is it. The person becomes unconscious and the body shuts down. A rip current exacerbates the fear and terror because of the sheer force that it has. It is also important to note that the number one reason how people die in hurricanes is by drowning. Until one experiences the sheer force of water, you can just not appreciate its power and danger. This is why a study of rip currents can be very valuable to the trader and the speculator alike. The positives is that most can avoid drownings if they are prepared ahead of time and respect the elements. I wrote an article back in March of 2007 on Rip Currents It is archived for those who wish to read it. I describe some of the characteristics of rip currents and how to survive one when caught in it. On a similar note, There is a great show on A&E on Crab fishing in the Bering Sea. It is considered the most dangerous profession in the world. I learned that if one is washed overboard their survival rate is but a few minutes at best before hypothermia takes over but if one is wearing a survival suit they can remain alive for hours until they are found and rescued.

  2. steve leslie on May 27, 2008 11:54 am

    You might think of rip currents like leverage. It can help or it can hurt you. In the movie Jumanji there is a great line: Sarah Whittle "A little rain can't hurt you." Alan Parrish "No but a lot of rain can kill you."


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