the Wedge - Monster wave

The Wedge produces another monster wave Photo: Flickr

I take Newport Beach for granted. I shouldn’t, but I do. I live here.  People come from the world over to visit and vacation in my southern California beach city, but I do miss not being in Cozumel. Don’t we all get a bit this way from time to time, failing to appreciate what’s right in front of us?

Newport Beach is not Los Angeles

Newport Beach is roughly 35 miles south, south-east of LA, nestled along the beaches in Orange County. You might think it’s a 1000 miles away from Los Angeles. On any given day Newport has cleaner air, is ten degrees cooler, sports a more laid-back lifestyle than west LA, and has a lot less traffic than LA. Years ago I lived in west LA; now I rarely go back, and then usually kicking and screaming.

Surf City, Huntington Beach, is the next city north of Newport. Laguna Beach is seven miles south of Newport, with Dana Point ten minutes south of Laguna if you’re cruising down Pacific Coast Highway. Newport Beach is a great place to live or visit and there’s just a ton of fun and relaxing things to do…. and a few exciting things, too.

The Wedge

Try surfing or body surfing the Wedge when big swells come out of the southwest. Definitely not for the faint-hearted or out of shape. It’s called The Wedge because it’s located where the sandy beach and Newport Harbor’s stone jetty meet at a 90 degree angle. When swells come in from the southwest aiming for the corner where the stone jetty and beach meet, large waves hit the beach and jetty at the same time and bounce off, then meet when the two waves get “wedged” together and combine in middle, creating spectacular waves.

Video: SeabearVideo

That’s when you want to come down to the end of the Balboa Peninsula to watch the fun and daring with the rest of the locals.

You better know what you’re doing on days like this because waves have a tendency to curl and drop you from great heights into two feet of water. Occasionally, it can be fatal, so be careful.

Most days, though, the body surfing is easier on the south side of the jetty at Corona Del Mar beach. You’ll get tumbled and your rough edges sand-papered off, and that’s always fun and good for your humility. Watch the lifeguard tower warning flags because you can get sucked out to sea in a rip tide occasionally, but most of the time it just plain fun.

BTW, if you do get taken out by a riptide, mellow out and never try to swim straight back in against the current – that’s a no-no and dangerous. You’ll just tire and keep being taken out till the riptide kicks you loose. So, just go with the flow and swim parallel to the beach. You’ll swim out of the riptide sooner than later, then you can take your time swimming back in.

That’s it for now, catch you later.

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