If you think you’ve been in some bad surf, take a look at these pictures. They show two 47-foot Coast Guard lifeboats practicing surf training off Ocean Beach in San Francisco. Taken by Dave Rogers, who usually shoots wildlife, they capture the raw power of the surf and the intensity of the Coast Guard training in absolutely memorable images.
Rogers told USA Today that he was driving by the beach when he saw other photographers gathered on the dunes, taking pictures of the surf. He stopped, and started shooting himself. What he saw was memorable, as the boats climbed over the top of the surf, seemed to fight for balance, and then became enveloped in water. “Waves were crashing over the entire boat,” he said.
The surf was 11 feet that day, and Rogers said the boats varied their approach as part of the training. Waves pitched the boats in all directions. “One boat rolled completely on its side and yet it popped right back up,” he said. “Each wave covered the crew members in whitewater.”
Each boat had at least four crew. The captain of a surf boat usually has at least six years of training. Rogers took pictures for about 20 minutes, and then the boats went farther down the beach, out of the surf, for debriefing. Take a look at Rogers’ pictures here: