Big waves attract surfers, bring warnings to Brevard beaches

Lifeguards monitor 9 to 11-foot surf this week

By James Sparvero - Reporter

COCOA BEACH, Fla. - Beachgoers and boaters in Brevard County are being threatened this week by dangerous sea conditions.

Nine- to 11-foot waves are attracting dozens of surfers, but lifeguards say the conditions carry strong safety warnings.

"That big cold front that just spun off the coast up north gave us some good waves," said surfer Mike Bierly, who traveled to the beach Monday from Orlando.

"The water's great. It's warming up as long as you're moving around, paddling a little bit," Bierly said.

Single red flags at the pier warn that only the strongest swimmers should be in the water.

In other parts of the county, like Melbourne Beach, the ocean is off limits. Double red flags extend from Indialantic to Sebastian Inlet.

Brevard Ocean Rescue Chief Eisen Witcher said these conditions are expected throughout the week.

"It is big. It is rough. The surf is powerful," Witcher said. "It can be very dangerous for an inexperienced swimmer. We're advising people not to go out past their waist."

Brevard lifeguards did not have to rescue anyone in an emergency situation over the weekend or so far on Monday.

John Stobba, a spring breaker from Penn State, may be ecstatic to escape near-freezing temperatures, but he's still not taking any chances.

"I wouldn't even dare go in this water," Stobba said. "That's why we're just chilling out on the beach. It's kind of a bummer but definitely some rough waters."

Lifeguards said beach closures may occur during high tide periods.

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