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Undertow on Playa Bruja out front of Riu Emerald Bay?

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Undertow on Playa Bruja out front of Riu Emerald Bay?

Just confirmed our trip to the Riu for March 2014. Love the looks of the ocean out front of the hotel. I have read that Playa Bruja affords the ability to boogie board and surf a bit out front of the hotel and "just down a ways" I am bringing 2 kids (9 and 13) who love boogie boarding. I have read about the waves being "pretty big" sometimes. My questions is about the undertow. I have body surfed, boogie boarded, and surfed in Huatulco and have experienced an unbeatable undertow that pulled me ( a very good swimmer) about a quarter mile down the beach before I could get back to the beach. Assuming the red flags are not up, do i have to worry about my kids? thanks

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1. Re: Undertow on Playa Bruja out front of Riu Emerald Bay?

Hello Nick,

We stayed in that area in March of last year and tried some surfing and boogie boarding. The waves were pretty intense at times due to the weather conditions and time of year. I'm a pretty strong guy and I got knocked around pretty good at times particularly when I tried it further up the beach at Playa Bruja. I'm sure I don't have to tell you this but but perhaps try the water yourself before you let your kids try it.

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2. Re: Undertow on Playa Bruja out front of Riu Emerald Bay?

Nick,

I wanted to add that the surf further down the beach by the Rui Emerald Bay is less intense than up by Playa Bruja but even the waves along the shore line were strong enough to knock an adult down if they weren't prepared for it. Now my experience is based on what conditions were like last March. Things may be different in 2014. Perhaps inquiry again closer to your vacation time.

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3. Re: Undertow on Playa Bruja out front of Riu Emerald Bay?

hasn't changed since your Post Last year : tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g150792-i257-k5122…

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4. Re: Undertow on Playa Bruja out front of Riu Emerald Bay?

Perhaps we're getting two very different types of oceanic events meshed into one description?

Undertow is where you get pulled away from shore by currents or waves. This phenomenon usually occurs on steep angle beaches, and doesn't actually require big waves. The biggest danger is to poor, or non swimmers who try walking on the bottom back to shore. This can result in being swept off your feet.

Getting pushed around by bigger waves can pull you further away from the beach as an undertow does, but that's not typical. In fact in most cases the white water / broken wave flow will push you back toward the sand. The phenomenon most associated with bigger waves is a rip tide, not an undertow.

A rip tide is typically caused by a deeper spot along the bottom where water from spent waves gets less resistance while flowing back out to sea. This results in a hidden river where water is flowing outward, then moving laterally up or down the beach.

The problem isn't really getting pulled out to sea by a riptide. Rather it's not recognizing the event and a swimmer tiring out while trying to swim directly to shore against the current in the "river." Just let the current take you down the beach and swim laterally rather than back to shore.

Ultimately the current puts the swimmer in a location where the rip tide isn't working. Swimming back to shore there, especially with the help from the waves pushing you in, isn't that difficult.

In the case of the undertow the danger exists almost exclusively near the bottom. Pulling up your feet up and swimming back to shore while on the surface can be relatively easy. The danger is the poor or non swimmers panic and try to walk back as mentioned. That subjects them to the undertow, and subsequently they get pulled backwards to a location where the water is over their head.

All that being said undertow in Mazatalan is quite uncommon, and would be very unusual at Playa Bruja where the surfing and boggie boarding is usually done. Rip tides are also uncommon at Playa Bruja by Mr. Lionoso's Restaurant. A rip can occasionally occur farther down the beach in Cerritos, but more south than the beach in front of the RIU itself.

The thread Jo Lee linked has some good information that would still generally apply. It's way too early to predict what the condition would be like for April. However just before your trip Nick, re-post the question and hopefully a specific prediction can be made at that time.

Edited: 06 November 2013, 21:08
Calgary, Alberta
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5. Re: Undertow on Playa Bruja out front of Riu Emerald Bay?

I stand corrected. Good advice from AquaMaz

Edited: 06 November 2013, 22:32
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6. Re: Undertow on Playa Bruja out front of Riu Emerald Bay?

Great reply aqua, I expected to see a reply from you. You know your stuff and the particulars about Maz. You nailed my concern, as it was/is more about the risk of rips rather than undertow. I am not worried about myself; more the kids in the ocean. My brush with death in Huatulco ( body surfing, no board, 12 foot crushing breakers, and a wicked rip that would allow no progress in to beach) surely would have killed/drown less-informed, poor swimmers caught in the same situation. It was the only time I have ever been scared in the water, ocean or otherwise. As I said in my original post, I eventually rode the rip about 1/4 mile down the beach wher I could swim to shore. Interestingly and sadly, a surfer died the same day off San Francisco as there was a huge winter storm out in the pacific creating treacherous conditions up and down the west coast. I will take your advice and repost and check how things are when we get closer to our trip. - Nick

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7. Re: Undertow on Playa Bruja out front of Riu Emerald Bay?

Nick: talk to the Life Guard..He will give you Lots of Info.... and keep close watch with the Kids..

When in June we watched as two people, father and teen that had to be rescued by skidoos.,just on South end.

So there is a pull at certain times .

Great resort .have a great trip.

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8. Re: Undertow on Playa Bruja out front of Riu Emerald Bay?

Actually this entire north area is well known to have strong undercurrents. There have been numerous tragedies over the years, so please just use caution and be aware. Don't swim alone.

9. Re: Undertow on Playa Bruja out front of Riu Emerald Bay?

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