Huntington Beach

Brown Foam Washing Up Along Orange County Coast Raises Questions

Lifeguards say they've been overwhelmed with questions on what the substance could be.

Recent storms are bringing more than great waves for Orange County surfers. 

A brown, frothy sea foam has been washing up in Huntington Beach in recent weeks and has many raising questions about what it could be. 

"It's just slippery to the hands on the board and to the feet on the board sometimes," said Pete Romaniuk, a surfer in the area. 

Lifeguards say they've been overwhelmed with questions on what the substance could be. 

Surfers have also complained the thick and bubbly foam can be slick and pose problems when riding the waves. 

"Some of the surfers who wax their boards and go out surfing step on it and their feet have slipped off and they have fallen. No body's been hurt," said Huntington Beach Marine Safety Lt. Claude Panis. 

But lifeguards say aside from being slimy and sometimes smelly, it's safe. According to Panis, the foam forming is a natural occurrence caused by algae blooms that are agitated due to high surf. 

"When the conditions are right and there are nutrients in the water the algae grows, it dies, it decays," said Panis. "That combined with sustained winds and large surf like we had last week will actually cause it to froth up and foam."

He also says the foam in the area has died down in the past few days. 

While some are concerned the substance may be some sort of sewage or oil, others say it won't stop them from performing their favorite hobby. 

"As a surfer we just deal with it. If it's there, just brush it off," said Kristian Bassett, a surfer. "We don't really care. It could be orange, green, nothing matters. As long as there's waves." 

Lifeguards say the natural foam should clear once the storms clear and the water settles.

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