It's pretty easy to get your self in that situation, the hard packed sand adjacent to the surf can be a lot easier to drive on and tow over than the inner beach, at least, until it isn't.
A similar thing happened to a couple of knucklehead friends of mine in the early 1980's, with their 4x4 trucks, near Halfmoon Bay CA. There *may* have been underage drinking involved, so keep it on the DL... In their case, both trucks were junk by the time the tide went back out and the tow trucks showed up. Tough lesson.
You've got to know your tides, and the tidal change in feet, in the area you are playing in, if you're going to drive close to the surf.Talk to people who live closer to the equator, ask for a tide chart, and they look at you like you've just asked for a 5 pound sack of horse feathers. Any semi-intelligent boater in the SF Bay or Delta, wouldn't launch a small skif wo/first checking the tides for the day.
1995 E350 7.3 Diesel, 4x4 high roof camper, UJOR 4" lift