Yesterday, Tom Allen my partner at Blind Dog and fellow shapper, rescued a little kid who was headed out to sea in a rip current. No one saw what was happening except Tom. He was about 100 feet from the kid and paddled like hell to reach him. He grab him, pulled him up on his surfboard and swam along side to shore. He was giving a surf lesson at 13th. Street, Sunset Beach.
Rip tides can be seen or not. Best to not venture out too far unless the surf is really flat. The surf conditions were deceiving today. Waves were about 2 to maybe 3 foot, nothing big. But the incoming tide and increasing wave size, along with wind conditions, along with very shallow sand bars combined to create a deadly current.
Just because you do not see a rip, if you're feeling current trying to move you down the beach, that is enough warning to not go out too far.