tide rip tide race

What is the difference between a tide rip and a tide race?

Same thing I believe.

– Last Updated: May-26-06 1:22 AM EST –

Different terms used in different regions. Many would say 'tidal race' and not 'tide race', I believe.

These are distinct from a 'beach rip', a type of rip current that allows water washed up on shore by breakers to return to sea either at the ends of a beach or through sandbars or other breaks in underwater topography, depending on the tide height. This is often mistated as a 'riptide', which apparently is 'non-term' in terms of oceanography, but commonly used in the US anyway.

A rip tide
is confused water created by opposing currents which can be created by jettys, piers, rivers dumping into in coming tides, etc.

A tide race is a fast incoming tide such as a boar tide.

They can be awesome in areas that have exceptionally high tide.

The most amazing one that I have ever seen is in Turnagain Arm in Alaska. The area goes from mud flats to about a 16 foot depth in a matter of a few minutes. It is awsome to stand on the bluff and watch the series of about ten or twelve continuous breaking waves come from a mile away.

Every so often there is a death there from either someone getting caught too far out in the sand flat and not making it to shore or a surfer/kayaker not being able to control their boat and wearing themseves out.

We experienced a tide race in Halibut Cove, Ak and had some fun surfing the standing waves before we smartened up and let them take us backwards to safer water!



Your first description sounds like…

– Last Updated: May-26-06 11:49 AM EST –

perhaps a beach rip (though your examples are not consistent) and your second a tidal bore perhaps, not a tide race.

From NOAA glossary:

rip current—A narrow intense current setting seaward
through the surf zone. It removes the excess water
brought to the zone by the small net mass transport of
waves. It is fed by longshore currents. Rip currents usually
occur at points, groins, jetties, etc., of irregular beaches,
and at regular intervals along straight, uninterrupted

tidal bore—A tidal wave that propagates up a relatively
shallow and sloping estuary or river with a steep
wave front. The leading edge presents an abrupt rise in
level, frequently with continuous breaking and often
immediately followed by several large undulations. An
uncommon phenomenon, the tidal bore is usually associated
with very large ranges in tide as well as wedge
shaped and rapidly shoaling entrances. Also called eagre,
eager (for Tsientan, China bore), mascaret (French),
pororoca (Brazilian), and bore.

rip—Agitation of water caused by the meeting of
currents or by a rapid current setting over an irregular
bottom. Termed tide rip when a tidal current is involved.
See overfalls.

Use in practice
Tide(al) race when used by Kayakers usually means a spot where changes in tide cause significant movement, texture or 3-dimensional features (standing waves, hay stacks ect). Depending on the incoming waves, winds, location and geography they can happen at almost all tide levels and flows, you need to have an undrstanding of where rivers flow into an area, if water is bounded by islands or headlands etc. Local information can help you decide when and where to paddle. Some people avoid them some people travel thousands of miles to play in them.

Google for Malstrom Tide Race and the Bitches for some examples. In usage with paddlers I have been with a “rip” is small well defined event in a specific spot at a given time “the race” is the name of the location that has recurring large features.