Surfing After it Rains in California (The 72-Hour Rule)

How Long Should You Wait To Surf After It Rains?

The Department of Environmental Health suggests waiting at least 72 hours to surf in the ocean after it rains to protect your health and safety. Many people don’t realize they have a higher risk of getting an infection in the water if they attempt to surf shortly after there’s been rainfall.

The risk is the highest the day after it rains and reduces with each passing day. This risk declines and returns to normal after about three days.

Is It Safe To Surf After Rain?

No, health experts do not believe it is safe to surf immediately after it rains due to the increase of bacteria that are present in the water. It’s safe to return to the water after 72 hours to reduce the risk of contracting different types of illnesses and diseases.

The Surfrider Foundation also advises surfers to never get in the water while it’s raining because of how polluted the coastal waters become due to water that leaks out of sewage pipes. Urban runoff also contributes to the bacteria that is present. Southern California is known to have more bacteria in the water than in other coastal regions in the U.S.

Beaches that are in proximity to nearby rivers are also dangerous to surf in, which is why some scientists recommend waiting up to five days to get back in the water.

Many surfers who get into the water too soon can develop gastrointestinal illnesses, which include vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea. Norovirus has been discovered in 97 percent of beaches in cities like San Diego and can lead to severe illness.

Additional illnesses include MRSA, staph, sinus infections, the flu, hepatitis, and the flu. There’s an average of a three percent risk of contracting an illness within the first 72 after it rains.

Many surf locations with a lot of runoff are also more dangerous to surf in because they contain more fecal indicator bacteria. This risk drops to 2.5 percent in dry weather.

Why Are Beaches Closed After It Rains?

Most beaches that are closed after it rains is due to pollution that enters the ocean from storm drains. The pollution often includes pet waste, motor oil, trash, pesticides, and pathogens.

Locations like, Rehoboth Beach in Delaware have five pipelines that drain into the ocean right off the beach. Some of the runoff at other beaches like Imperial Beach in San Diego comes from Mexico, which is why cities close down their beaches for several days. It’s important to avoid entering the water, especially if it looks brown. It’s important to read signs that are posted at the beach, especially at lifeguard towers.

Where To Surf After It Rains In San Diego?

Some beaches in San Diego clean out quickly after it rains, whereas others take long until it’s safe to return. Some of the best beaches to return to where the water is cleaner include La Jolla Shores, Solana Beach, and Cardiff. Fortunately, San Diego is known to have some of the cleanest in Southern California.

Where To Surf After It Rains In LA

If you want to surf after it rains in Los Angeles, some of the best beaches include Manhattan Beach, Venice Beach, and Santa Monica Beach. These are some of the cleanest spots out of the 500 beaches that are present in the city. Unfortunately, Los Angeles has dirtier ocean water than other parts of the country because of the millions of people present in the area. Los Angeles only gets a few days of rainfall each year, which causes more pollution to be present in the ocean.

Additional beaches that rank higher for having clean water in the city include Zuma, Malibu, and Royal Palms State Beach, San Pedro. Both of these beaches are considered to be hidden gems that are less populated and even have tide pools where a lot of marine life is present.