SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) — About 30 people had to be rescued from the surf on beaches in Santa Cruz between Saturday and Sunday as warm temperatures drew big crowds to the water this weekend.

Santa Cruz Lifeguard Captain Britten Miles said it was a rare combination of huge holiday crowds, and a powerful south swell that prompted so many rescues.

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“It’s a long period swell, which means it has a lot more energy, and it is a lot more likely to knock people over, and cause rip currents and stuff like that,” Miles said.

Lifeguards kept a close watch on the crowds, which swelled into the thousands.

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“Lots of raw power.  There were huge waves just overtaking people and sweeping them out.  It was intense,” Hayden Loyd of Sonora said.

Hayden and his friends from Sonora were in the waves, but decided to get out.

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“A few of the smaller kids were getting stuck out there, but the lifeguards came out and saved them,” Rocky Rozadillo of Sonora said.