The waves in Southern California are as big as they have been since 1997, due to the storm effects of Hurricane Marie in Baja. Perhaps the largest waves could be found at Newport's famous Wedge.
A couple friends of mine were heading up north for a dentist appointment yesterday and on the spur of the moment I asked if I could tag along. I threw a couple lenses in a backpack and we made our way to Orange County.
We grabbed a bite in Newport and then attempted to drive to the pier. Newport was a zoo and many of the streets were shut down to help restrict the estimated 4 to 5000 people who were congregating at the Wedge. They got me as close as they could and we made arrangements to hook up later on Balboa Island. It would be a long walk.
It was stupid of me. Wrong clothes, wrong shoes, intense 90 degree heat, not to mention a very long distance to my destination. I tromped on the sand and finally made it to the famed bodysurfing spot. The Wedge was a freaking zoo.
I watched clean 8 to 10' surf with the occasional 20' monster sets peal in with regularity. Lifeguards were scrambling to keep people on the top of the slope and off the beach and out of the water.
Nobody but an experienced bodysurfer or a person with a bent towards suicide should have attempted to go out yesterday. The form of the surf when I got there at 1:30 was really good. Lots of nice tubes. Perfect big surf.
I wormed my way into the crowd and took some shots. Sweat poured off my brow and occluded my viewfinder eyepiece. I lamented my lack of water and preparation. Didn't get any great big wave shots. I probably saw three gigantic sets come in but really didn't have the fortitude or time to properly photograph the big day and decided to split. Had a very long walk ahead of me back to the ferry. Never got a money shot. Maybe next time.
There were about two dozen diehards braving the waves.