Catching the waves has always been a long time California tradition and rite of passage. During a recent trip to Southern California, Jayne and I roamed the Balboa peninsula in Newport Beach and stopped to visit the surfing area known as “the Wedge ”. The weather was sunny and in the 80’s so we thought it would be fun to watch any surfers that might be enjoying the water. When we arrived, the father of one of the surfers told us that the waves that day were the highest so far this early season at 25 feet!
The Wedge takes its name from the wave conditions produced by slamming into the rock jetty protecting the narrow strait to the Newport Harbor entrance. Approaching waves reflect off the jetty and create additional waves that can often create sets of massive wave peaks. What also makes these peaks so attractive to surfers is the unpredictability of the wave patterns. The surfers need to be alert to the sudden peak formations.
For me, I was fascinated by the anger of the waves that can suddenly form. These seemed to me to be enormous. The skills of the surfers are clearly challenged. Mistakes are unforgiven by these huge waves that punish its victims for not respecting its energy. The combination of danger, along with the chance to get pitted (enclosed in the tube, barrel, or “pit” of a wave), draws many to test their skills.
Below are some photos that illustrate the above.
Here’s my favorite. The angry waves are trying hard to swallow another victim!
And of course, I will finish with a couple of serenity shots for those who have “cabin fever” due to this long, cruel Winter!