Dr Rob Brander is a coastal geomorphologist and Associate Professor in the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, NSW, Australia. He has been studying beaches and surf science since 1986. Rob completed a BSc and MSc at the University of Toronto where Canadian water temperatures convinced him to live in Australia. His PhD on the morphodynamics of rip currents was completed at the University of Sydney in 1997. He has published a wide variety of scientific articles based on his research on rip currents, coral reef-islands, and the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami and has been at UNSW since 2000.
Rob started giving community Science of the Surf talks in 2001 and developed his school SOS program in 2006 where it won a NSW Department of Education and Training Frater Award for Excellence in School Performance in 2007. In 2009 he travelled through the United States (with family in tow) meeting and working with rip current scientists and educators in California, Maryland, Delaware, North and South Carolina and Florida. He was the invited Keynote Speaker at the First International Rip Current Symposium in Miami, Florida in February 2010.
Rob is a member and ex-caretaker of the Tamarama Beach SLSC and is passionate about surf safety, coastal education and bodysurfing. Somewhere along the line, he gained the moniker "Dr Rip" from the local lifeguards and lifesavers for his habit of dumping purple dye into rip currents. He is not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing!
Rob's first book, 'Dr Rip's Essential Beach Book, everything you wanted to know about surf, sand and rips' was published in Oct 2010 and is now a best-seller in Australia. It really is the written version of The Science of the Surf.
You can follow Dr Rip's Science of the Surf on Facebook.
Rob has been running a Rip of the Month page for 7 years showing photos of rips from around the world. The patterns that rips make when viewed from above can be quite amazing. But these photos might help you understand how to spot a rip.