LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A hurricane off the coast of Mexico has Southland beach towns getting ready for what could be some of the biggest surf in years.
A high-surf advisory is in effect for Southern California through Friday evening.
Hurricane Marie, a category 3 storm, could bring swells of 10 to 15 feet, strong rip currents and coastal flooding, the National Weather Service said.
Officials warned the conditions will be most dangerous for south-facing beaches from Seal Beach to Port Hueneme.
It was reported Tuesday morning that a surfer had died after being pulled from the rider at Malibu Surfrider Beach. The man was reported to be in full cardiac arrest, according to county lifeguards.
In the Belmont Shore neighborhood of Long Beach, a 10-foot berm spanning 20 blocks was constructed to protect against higher-than-normal water levels on the peninsula.
The big waves brought out big name, professional surfers, such as Laird Hamilton.
“It’s big for California,” Hamilton said. “The water is a lot different right now. It’s a lot more alive. Just be careful, and don’t try to prove anything.”
“The waves are big, but the water is moving so fast, and, as you can see with the pier here, people just get swept under it pretty quickly,” surfer Kevin Augnas said.
Pre-filled sand bags are available to the public at Ocean Boulevard and 55th Place in Long Beach, while empty bags are available at 72nd Place and Ocean Boulevard. Residents are limited to 10 bags each.
In Seal Beach, police said they have considered the possibility of shutting down the pier, should conditions become too dangerous. Water and sand also reportedly was flooding around homes in Seal Beach late Tuesday.
“I ran out on the pier, and the pier was like shaking,” business owner Paige Mycoskie said. “It’s just so awesome, and to have all these amazing local surfers out there tearing it up, it’s pretty cool.”
In Malibu, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies confirmed after 5:30 p.m. that the pier was closed because of damage from the high surf. Seven of the pier’s pylons were taken out by the forceful waves
The Newport Beach police and fire departments are advising visitors to anticipate heavy traffic and severely limited parking as large swells typically attract onlookers in the area.
High surf conditions were expected to peak through Wednesday, then slowly diminish. Only strong swimmers were advised to enter the water.
Areas of the Orange County coast, such as Huntington Beach, also saw surf reach heights of 15 feet.
Hot surf spots, such as The Wedge, prompted hundreds of onlookers to flock to the coast, causing traffic advisories in the area.
There was also heavy traffic on the water, as boarders and surfers competed for waves.
“It was fun, it was real crowded,” surfer Taz Yassyn said. “(It was) hard to kind of catch a new one.”
Workers monitored 6-foot berms along the beach, which should stop large waves from flooding into the parking lots.
Newport lifeguards, who rescued 35 swimmers from strong rip currentsTuesday, are reportedly increasing staff hours throughout the advisory.