Southern California is seeing its biggest waves in decades. The swell is due to Hurricane Marie off the coast of Baja. The waves are hitting 15 feet high along the coast from Ventura on down. At least one man has died surfing in Malibu. But the biggest waves are hitting The Wedge in Newport Beach, CA. Our resident surf bro Eric “Rusty” Ferentz” is on scene. “Old salties,” surf-slang for old surfers, “are saying these are the biggest since the ’70s!” Rusty said. Waves this big are called “pier scrapers” because they can actually uplift a pier.
Unruly, rapid 20-30-footers are slamming The Wedge, Rusty says, which is along a jetty at the tail end of Newport’s peninsula. The Wedge is a “shore break,” meaning the waves tend to break in little or no water right on the sand. It’s usually not even surf-able. The Wedge is the premium body surfing beach in the lower 48. Only Hawaii competes.
Wedge body surfers use one rigid fin, called a Viper, and wear speedos. The look is quite funny. “Yes, the speedo gang’s all here,” Rusty explained. About 10 years ago, body boarder losers invaded The Wedge, followed by even lamer skim boarders. The banana hammock and Viper brigade looks down on these people. As proud body surfers in our youth, Rusty and our friends would beat up or get beat up by these types. Locals only, bro.
But for the mega-swell, the waves are breaking far enough out that surfers are riding (or attempting to ride) the crystal azure barrels. “There’s too much traffic to even get down there by car,” Rusty says. For his part, Rusty caught five waves in 90 minutes including “two keepers.” While inside the waves’ barrels, I can assure you Rusty let out a loud “yyyyeeeeeeeerrrr” a.k.a the “Bro Call,” which is required verbage for all true Wedge dudes. (The Bro Call can also be used in the parking lot of Del Taco or at the mall when you see a fellow bro.)
Cali friends, I highly suggest you leave work and hit the beach right now.