NEWPORT BEACH ( — Orange County lifeguards Thursday were warning body surfers and beachgoers about big surf generated from a southern hemisphere storm off of Chile.

The waves were the most dramatic at the world renowned Wedge in Newport Beach, which is located at the tip of the Balboa Peninsula.

The massive waves, which were 8 to 10 feet high, are reserved for people with the most expert knowledge on the surf.

However, lifeguards were still out in full force to warn swimmers and children about the conditions.

“Lifeguards will staff up a bit up and will be more proactive along the surf line… try to keep inexperienced swimmers closer to shore or out of the waters,” said Battalion Chief Jim Turner.

In Laguna Beach, lifeguards posted closed signs on the rocks to discourage visitors from venturing out in the tide pools and cliffs during strong swells.

Beach visitor Jim Haske heeded the warnings.

“I’m thinking about the safety of my kids, so we’re going to let the lifeguard take over and if there’s anything not prohibiting us from the water, then we’ll definitely grab that opportunity,” he said.

Campers from the Western Christian School in the Inland Empire visited Big Corona del Mar State Beach in Newport. They found the surf bigger than past trips.

“We’re making sure we’re listening to the lifeguards,” said camp counselor Gloria Granados. “And when they say we need to be waist high, we go out there and tell them to be waist high. And (we’re) constantly doing head checks.”

The locals don’t like to give away their secrets, but word has it that the big waves will continue to build on south facing beaches through Friday.


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