The Wedge Claims a Life

I was saddened to learn that the Wedge claimed a life today. Huge swells rolling in from the south made for a big day at the Wedge. Unfortunately, a bodysurfer was thrown onto the jetty, and after being rescued by lifeguards he died later at Hoag Hospital. My condolences go to his family and friends. Be careful out there guys.

The waves in these photos are dinky compared to what is rolling through today.

The Wedge in Newport Beach is one of the world’s most notorious and exciting bodysurfing spots. Locals in the 70’s and 80’s developed a reputation for getting barreled in the bruising, thick wave while risking being pile-driven onto the sand if they got sucked over. Growing up in Newport in the 60s and 70s, I remember many times sirens would sound down Newport Boulevard as an ambulance raced to the Wedge to attend to some poor soul who had gone over the falls trying to impress his buds or the (quite fine) local girls, crunching bones as he returned to the beach. The old-school still bodysurfs the Wedge by virtue of a local ordinance that forbids any boards in the water between 10am and 5pm. However, these days boards rule the Wedge, working the place with bodyboards and standup. The Wedge is best on a south swell. Incoming waves reflecting off the adjacent jetty combine with the next wave to form a doubled-up triangular mutant mountain wave that pitches over thick and fast in surprisingly shallow water. The result is a big, sucking, foam-filled donut. Don’t get caught inside during a closeout set.