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Rip Current Awareness Week: Spotlight on California Sea Grant funded researcher Bob Guza

Co-Director, Integrative Oceanography Division Professor, Oceanography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography University of California, San Diego

Bob Guza is a California Sea Grant funded researcher. He is a professor of Integrative Oceanography at Scripps Institution of Oceanography University of California, San Diego.


It’s Rip Current Week, how does your research help inform people about rip currents?

My work helps forms the physical, scientific basis for understanding rip currents.

How did you come to work on coastal hazards research?

Childhood fascination with waves and beaches, and bad weather

Where do you do most of your work? In a lab? In the field?

In the field, and in a computer

What is the piece of technology or equipment you could not do without?

Global positioning system (GPS)

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Learning new things about waves and beaches

What is the biggest challenge you face in communicating the importance of your research?

The challenge is NOT to show that my work is important – that’s easy. The challenge is to show that it is more important than the competition and thus worthy of funding.  Observational science costs significant money.

When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in science?

Age 5. I narrowed it down to nearshore processes by age 12.

What part of your job did you least expect to be doing?

I am essentially running/funding/managing  a small nonprofit. Management ! Human Resources! Yikes.

What’s at the top of your recommended reading list for someone wanting to explore a career in science?

ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE : The book of Nature.  Stare at waves, at trees swaying, at snow blowing, at patterns of flying birds, at the roundness of rocks, at water oozing from mud in a swamp, at the blast of a lightning strike. Why do they do what they do? All these and more are possible topics of lifelong study.

And how about a personal favorite book?

The book of   “See the Beaches”.

Do you have an outside hobby?

Visiting beaches worldwide, fishing, crustacean hunting, and gardening.

What surprised you most about Sea Grant?

VERY broad scope of work supported


Meet other people in the Sea Grant Network that help raise awareness of Rip Currents:

Michigan Sea Grant’s Communication Director: Elizabeth LaPorte
North Carolina Sea Grant Extension Specialist: Spencer Rogers
Texas Sea Grant funded researcher: Chris Houser, PhD

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