VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Lifeguards at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront were not in chairs, but they are on patrol on ATVs.
People for the most part stayed on the beach and were not getting in the water, but a few did, and that’s where lifeguards were at the ready.
Tom Gill, chief of the Virginia Beach Lifesaving Service explained what his team was dealing with Friday.
“What we are dealing with are two things: the surf from Hurricane Lee and the cold front that is causing really strong northeast winds,” Gill said, “so the combining of that is big surf, but not swimmable. It is not surfable, so stay out of the water.”
Gill said they have 11 ATVs and two trucks, so their entire day was to talk to people and tell them not to go into the water.
“it is not wanting them in the water,” Gill said. “It is keeping them out of the water.”
That is why they put up red flags on the lifeguard stands.
But as 10 On Your Side was speaking with Gill, we saw a father and daughter duo in the surf. Not struggling, but in the surf.
You could hear Gill contacting one of the guards.
“We have people in the water near the pier,” Gill said.
It didn’t take long for the ATV to show up, and motion them to get out of the water.
“What he is going to tell them stay out of the water today,” Gill said. “There is dangerous surf with red flag warnings. Surfing conditions are choppy, and we have closed the water for the day. We want everybody out.”
We went down and met Edson Portilo and his daughter Hailie retreating from their ocean swim. What were they told by the lifeguard on the ATV?
“They say the waves are too big and we are not allowed to swim, which is kind of bad — the rip current is not sucking us out,” Edson Portilo said. “I think it is better to be safe. Safe first.”
We asked Edson didn’t he know he wasn’t supposed to be in the water,
“Well, I mean I see the flag,” he said laughing. “We wanted to go in the water definitely. It is awesome. It is good, that is why we’re going in.”
Some could consider this day, after all the humidity, the best day of the summer.
Just ask Lynn Holgate.
“It takes it all out of you — the humidity,” Holgate said, smiling. “It’s great to be outside, and not always wanting to run back into the AC.”
Holgate, from northern Virginia, is in town visiting her son and daughter. No humidity is fine with them.
Another person, Rebecca Curall, said that “it’s nice not to be continuously drinking water with sand smacking you un the face andand spending time with family.”
Gill said the red flags will be flying Saturday with guards in the stands and swimmers able to wade out in the water.
That will be determined Saturday morning.