NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Massive waves drew spectators and surfers alike to Newport Beach Thursday.
A southern swell brought near perfect conditions to The Wedge, where daredevil body surfers rode waves of up to two stories high.
“It’s really dark, you don’t see anything,” said one swimmer. “You just like pray that you don’t hit your head.”
For experienced surfers, it was a thrill to dive-in, and almost as exciting to watch from the sand.
“He just like fell, and he dived in,” said one spectator from Colorado. “It looked a little painful.”
One towering wave even rushed onshore, drenching surprised spectators.
“I think we were so focused on the waves that nobody noticed this huge wash just come in,” said Aimee Cullwick, a tourist.
Hayden Hemmens, a seasoned lifeguard, shared what The Wedge experience was like:
“It is like a washing machine. You kind of have to know which way is up and which way is down when it happens to you because if you’re bracing for impact, you have to know if you’re going to cover you’re head or start kicking up towards the surface.”
On days like this, lifeguards insist the action in the water is reserved for only the most experienced.
“I’m just glad I’m not out there,” said Anne Bohn, a Corona del Mar resident. “I got rescued out here one time when I was a child.”
Waves between 7 and 11 feet are forecast at The Wedge Friday.