Surfs up! Crowds flock to California beaches A person surfs at the Wedge in Newport Beach, California (AP photos)
Surfs up! Crowds flock to California beaches
Lexile

Hundreds of spectators lined the beach and gasped, cheered and clapped as bodysurfers braved 15-foot waves at The Wedge, a Newport Beach, California break known for its powerful waves.

The thrill of challenging the walls of churning water created by a major storm thousands of miles away lured bodysurfer Robin Mohr out of bed before sunrise.

He was panting on the sand after a wave sent him tumbling through the foamy chop. A trickle of blood was on his forehead, where he'd been smacked by a surfboard earlier in the day.

"You're just super-alert to where you're positioned, because the worst-case scenario is you land with your head on the sand," said Mohr, 50, a South African who drove from San Diego to Newport Beach.

Big surf has been pounding south-facing sections of the Southern California coast since May 3, keeping lifeguards busy and attracting daring surfers and bodysurfers with boards, wetsuits and fins in tow.

The highest California surf was expected the next day, kicked up by the Southern Hemisphere storm. Six- to 8-foot waves were recorded at Santa Monica, with slightly higher surf in neighboring Venice.

The Behr family from Colorado brought their sons, 1-year-old Cole and 3-year-old Max, to the beach for what their father David Behr called a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

"We've been to Hawaii a few times and whenever you can catch some big waves, just watching it is incredible," he said, between snapping pictures and pointing out extra-big waves to his younger son.

Newport Beach saw 55,000 visitors over the weekend. Even so, more lifeguards were on duty Monday, May 4 than usual because of the high surf, said Newport Beach Chief Lifeguard Rob Williams.

The rough conditions extended north along the California coast to San Luis Obispo County. Avalon, Port San Luis, San Simeon and Cayucos could see currents capable of dislodging moored vessels and docks, forecasters said.

"Inexperienced swimmers should definitely stay out of the water," Seal Beach police Sgt. Ron LaVelle said.

Lifeguards pulled 17 people out of the water over the weekend off Newport Beach. It was the busiest weekend for lifeguards since March, when 134 people were rescued during a weekend of big waves and warm weather.

Critical thinking challenge: Why would conditions vary from city to city?

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COMMENTS (23)
  • yarelyo-Koc
    5/11/2015 - 12:26 a.m.

    That's so crazy ! I don't know how some people could be so excited to be on a wave that big . I would be so scared ! My biggest fear is to die drowning in water !

  • jennaw-Koc
    5/11/2015 - 12:33 a.m.

    Big surf has been pounding south-facing sections of the Southern California coast since May 3, keeping lifeguards busy and attracting daring surfers and bodysurfers with boards, wetsuits and fins in tow.
    The highest California surf was expected the next day, kicked up by the Southern Hemisphere storm. Six- to 8-foot waves were recorded at Santa Monica, with slightly higher surf in neighboring Venice.

  • shannons-Koc
    5/11/2015 - 02:01 a.m.

    In different cities aling the coast of California the weather varys. Some cities could experience warmer or even colder days than other towns. This is caused from how large California is for one. The coast streches from Oregon all the way down to Mexico. It is just like how other states experience different weather conditions based off the location you're in.

  • LTaylor-Cas
    5/11/2015 - 09:24 a.m.

    I really wish I could surf I think people who can surf are so talented. Maybe one day I'll learn how to if I go to Hawaii or California.

  • NashMcComsey-Ste
    5/11/2015 - 10:00 a.m.

    Surf's up? I love that movie! it is my second favorite animated movie about penguins, my favorite, of course, being Happy Feet., but Surf's Up is a close second.

  • albertog-Che
    5/11/2015 - 11:44 a.m.

    Surfing seems like a very fun and difficult activity. I would love to be able to do it, i think it would take a lot of balance and a lot of practicing to get any good at it. I imagine it would be a bit scare to ride a wave since they are so huge.

  • marlieholmes13
    5/11/2015 - 12:56 p.m.

    I thought it was cool how so many people came to surf the waves and to watch the waves being surfed. Newport Beach saw 55,000 visitors over the weekend so they really had to have a lot of lifeguards on duty. The lifeguards pulled 17 people out of the water that weekend; during the month of March, they pulled out 134 people. One of the surfers had a trickle of blood running down his forehead, where he had been smacked by a surfboard. In this article there was a man who had a one year old and a three year old he said he liked to photograph the waves and point out the extra big waves to his young sons. He called it "a once and a lifetime experience". It was reported that the waves were 12-15 feet tall.

  • caitlinv-Man
    5/11/2015 - 03:42 p.m.

    Surfing would be so fun and i would love to do it. It seems a little dangerous to compete surfing, but just playing around it would be so entertaining in the summer.

  • erikh-Goo
    5/12/2015 - 09:01 a.m.

    Conditions vary from city to city. The text states "Six- to 8-foot waves were recorded at Santa Monica, with slightly higher surf in neighboring Venice." The text also states "lifeguards pulled 17 people out of the water over the weekend off Newport Beach." The text clarify that the conditions vary from city to city.

  • 5JacobM
    5/12/2015 - 10:28 a.m.

    In California, surfers and visitors have been traveling to see the big waves or surf on them. The waves have been recorded 6-8 feet high. It is said to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. In Newport beach, the waves were as high as 15 feet. There were over 55,000 people in Newport beach alone. People have been going there since May 3rd.

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