Lightning Strikes Near Surfers in San Clemente (Video)

Lightning and water don’t mix.

Or rather, they do, quite well in fact. So well that when lightning strikes a body of water, it sends the electrical current scurrying, propagating, and sizzling anything in its path.

It’s humans that don’t fit well into the equation. Like on Easter Sunday, when a lightning bolt struck the waters off San Clemente, CA…with surfers nearby.

Surf cam footage from San Clemente Pier, as retrieved by local former Championship Tour surfer Kolohe Andino, shows a handful of surfers in the water when the bolt struck. No word on whether or not anyone was electrocuted. Maybe it was far enough away?

For a little more info on the dangers of lightning strikes on the ocean, here’s NOAA:

“Lightning strikes are not only dangerous; they can be deadly.

“Lightning doesn’t strike the ocean as much as land, but when it does, it spreads out over the water, which acts as a conductor. It can hit boats that are nearby, and electrocute fish that are near the surface.

“If you’re at the beach and hear thunder or see lightning, get out of the water. Get off the beach and take shelter in a building or in your car.”

Related: Watch: Cliff Collapses at Iconic Santa Cruz Surf Spot

But how far does lightning travel when it strikes the ocean?

Well, that one’s a little tougher to determine. Lightning strikes vary. The stronger the strike, the further it travels. Per

“When lightning strikes water the electric charge doesn’t penetrate deep into the water, but rather, it spreads across the surface, dispersing horizontally. This electric charge can travel as little as 10m or as much as 100m or more, depending on the power of the lightning bolt itself.”

Looks like that bolt in San Clemente was, thankfully, far enough away.


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