<a href="http://losangeles.cbslocal.com/photo-galleries/2011/09/02/massive-waves-pummel-newport-beach/">» PHOTOS: Massive Waves Pummel Newport Beach</a>

NEWPORT BEACH (CBS) — Massive waves are expected to pummel Southern California’s coast through Sunday.

Friday, officials announced they were closing at least beaches in Orange County because of the high waves.  Capistrano Beach’s parking lot in Dana Point was closed because the high surf damaged some steps and part of the wooden boardwalk. Aliso Beach in Laguna Beach was closed because of debris being brought in by the crashing surf.

At The Wedge in Newport Beach, waves averaged 10 to 12 feet Thursday, with some reaching higher than 20 feet.

123295324 10 Massive Waves To Pummel Southland Beaches Through Sunday

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The Wedge has spectacularly high surf due to a jetty that causes waves to bounce off rocks and back into themselves, adding up to 25 percent more height.

“It just gets real shallow here, it’s two waves coming together, the wave jumps up just twice its size,” said surfer Steve Morgan.

“It’s like the whole washing machine effect. You’re getting upside down underwater and starting to lose your energy, but once you hit the beach it’s like, all right, whew, you’re still alive,” said surfer Spencer Pirdy.

“It reverberates off the rocks and it has a lot of water moving around, a lot of rip currents that just suck you out and keep you in there forever,” Pirdy added. “Yeah, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re in a lot of trouble regardless of what luck is on your side.”

A surfer died at the famous spot during a swell there in 2009.

Pirdy said he loves the rush of energy that comes from surfing in waves like these.

“It’s just a rush of adrenaline when you’re making that drop. It’s like nothing else matters, you just wanna make it,” he said.

Those who enter the water – experienced surfers and swimmers – must receive permission from lifeguards. However, when a black flag goes up, surfers and body boarders are no longer allowed in the water.

Thousands have lined the shores of area beaches to get a sight of some of the state’s biggest waves.

“Yesterday we couldn’t believe how big it was, so we had to come back today and try to get here early enough to get a parking place,” said one spectator.

Lifeguards said they did make two rescues on Thursday after two professional surfers needed assistance getting out of the water after they said they were pounded by the waves too hard.

More than 3,000 spectators gathered at The Wedge Thursday, but more onlookers are expected Friday, when the surge returns.

» PHOTOS: Massive Waves Pummel Newport Beach
Comments (17)
  1. Percival says:

    Times have sure changed. I body-surfed the wedge in summer of 1968, ’69, and ’70, no lifeguards. Good times!

  2. JOe Dutra says:

    Excuse me. Your TV truck doesn’t belong on the sand.

  3. Whyzupp says:

    Cool, surf’s up.

  4. ontie1 says:

    It’s always super unreal to see or be in water that has those kind of waves and it ain’t amateur hour out there……git’em dudes.

  5. Sandbars hurt says:

    I grew up across the way in china cove back in the late 80’s and you could only body-surf the wedge, unless you were suicidal. Those waves crash directly on the shore. I was always happy to get in and out of there in one piece without neck or spinal problems, lol. Great place though and always entertaining.

    1. teaisstronger says:


      The Government prevents surfing when the conditions are great. Get the government out of our lives. Its not the Government’s business.

  6. Nivek says:

    Whats wrong with vehicles on the sand? I live in WA State and many of our west coast beaches function as public roads. It’s great to drive out away from crowds to enjoy your own groups’ beach campfire.Do you not do this anyhwhere down in CA? Too bad if you dont!

    1. Tim Ruck says:

      A few beaches allow driving, such as pismo. Too many people in Ca. Maybe fine in Washington, but if they allowed driving on all the beaches in Ca. it would be chaos!

      1. Nivek says:

        Tim, please dont think that I am telling Californians what they should do with their State, its yours to make your own decisions with in this Federalist system of ours. Beach driving is just something many of us in the PNW enjoy as a means to get away from the main road and beach-head, out to the more remote areas of the coast.

        I have found that for the most part people are very courteous and look out for one another while beach driving. Its not a “free for all” either, some beaches only allow driving a certain times of the year, to protect clam-beds during hatching times and such. That is fine, because they make great eating later, over the campfire! Driving is not allowed on the Olympic National Park beaches either, so there are some controls, its definately not chaos.

    2. Dave says:

      Have to agree with Mr. Ruck, Nivek – besides too many people (SoCal has roughly 23 million people, whereas the entire state of Oregon has about 3.8 million people for 4 times the acreage), pretty much every municipality charges for parking. If they opened the beaches for driving, odds are good that they’d turn into parking lots, and good luck finding a patch of sand to lay on then!.
      Besides which, the PNW beaches look to be mostly hard packed sand, whereas the SoCal beaches really only have a limited area that’s driveable (right along the water between the surf and the high tide mark), the rest requires at least a 4×4 due to the powdery nature of the sand around here.
      Really lovely areas on the coast up your way, Nivek; I’m looking to move up there within the next few years myself.

  7. whyzupp says:

    Surf’s UP!!! Be Careful, a Great White has been cruising off San Diego for over a week now.

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