Video: ‘Sneaker Wave’ Catches People by Surprise in Oregon

By Epoch Newsroom
Epoch Newsroom
Epoch Newsroom
January 25, 2016 Updated: January 25, 2016

A “sneaker wave” caught beachgoers by surprise near Coos Bay, Oregon, over the weekend.

A video of the wave was uploaded to Facebook and YouTube, showing the wave careening over the rocks and suddenly sweeping over a beach in Charleston, south of Coos Bay, OregonLive.com reported.

“Uh oh. Time to go here,” Steve Raplee, who shot the footage, said in the video. “Get out of the way!”

After running for safety, he then focuses on the water.

“I just got out of the way. It would have taken anybody in its path,” said Raplee, who owns a cafe near the beach.

The National Weather Service in Eureka, California, posted a link to Raplee’s video with this comment:

Check out this video of a sneaker wave that caught beach-goers off guard near Coos Bay, OR last weekend (courtesy of The Oregonian). Sneaker waves are waves that run abnormally far up the beach after a long period of smaller waves, and can seemingly come from out of nowhere to pull unsuspecting beach-goers into the frigid Pacific waters. This will be especially relevant tomorrow, as an arriving northwest swell will likely result in a high threat for sneaker waves along area beaches.

While sneaker waves are common on the Oregon coast, they’re not well understood.

“When you get into the beach, especially when you get into complicated areas like the rocks, you can get feedback – the previous wave changes the condition for the next wave,” Oregon State University oceanographer Robert Holman told The Oregonian in 2011.

“If you had a previous wave that washed down at just the right time, that would reinforce the next wave. That can produce things that truly are dangerous and not expected.”