Los Angeles Times

High waves lure surfers, but there’s danger lurking

Swells as big as 12 feet hit beaches up and down the coast

- By Grace Toohey

Some of the highest waves of the summer were drawing surfers to Southern California beaches this week, with swells reaching as high as 12 feet in some places.

The National Weather Service issued a high surf advisory for beaches from San Diego to Ventura counties through Thursday morning, especially for south- and southwest-facing shorelines. Forecaster­s warned of high waves and dangerous rip tides.

San Diego and Orange County beaches were expected to see the highest swells — from 4 to 8 feet — while Los Angeles and Ventura County beaches were likely to get 4to 7-foot waves, the weather service predicted.

“It’s the highest we’ve seen this summer,” said meteorolog­ist Samantha Connolly with the weather service’s San Diego office, which also covers Orange County.

Waves in Huntington Beach towered at 9 feet Monday, Connolly said, and remained in the 7- to 8-foot range Tuesday. The swells are expected through Thursday.

“This was from a storm in the South Pacific, bringing that higher swell up to Southern California,” Connolly said. “It’s the same swell that’s been affecting Hawaii. It’s just a little less strong here.”

The aftermath of Hurricane Darby brought intense swells to Hawaii earlier this week, with massive waves crashing onto homes and resorts, news reports showed.

Surfers in Southern California flocked to the beaches for the high waves, especially Newport Beach’s Wedge, known for its intense swells. Videos from the popular surfing site showed many trying to ride the huge waves, which reached as high as 12 feet Tuesday, according to lifeguards.

By Wednesday morning, Newport Beach Lifeguard Battalion Chief Adam Yacenda said, the surf had calmed slightly with waves hovering around 5 feet. But he said another swell is coming, and it too will bring monster waves into Thursday.

Weather service officials warned that inexperien­ced swimmers should stay out of the ocean and recommende­d that beachgoers swim near lifeguards. The high surf advisory is expected to expire at 11 a.m. Thursday.

Yacenda said it’s important to pay attention to the water.

“Talk to a lifeguard about the safest place to enter the water,” he said. “It’s still hazardous conditions on our southern-facing beaches in Newport.”

 ?? Luis Sinco Los Angeles Times ?? A BODY SURFER at Newport Beach’s Wedge rides a wave on Wednesday. High surf caused by a storm in the South Pacific will continue along the Southern California coast through at least Thursday.
Luis Sinco Los Angeles Times A BODY SURFER at Newport Beach’s Wedge rides a wave on Wednesday. High surf caused by a storm in the South Pacific will continue along the Southern California coast through at least Thursday.

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