The Wedge (surfing)

Last updated

The Wedge
Wedge, The.jpg
The surf at "The Wedge".
Details
Location Newport Beach, California
Coordinates 33°35′33″N117°52′56″W / 33.59250°N 117.88222°W / 33.59250; -117.88222 Coordinates: 33°35′33″N117°52′56″W / 33.59250°N 117.88222°W / 33.59250; -117.88222

The Wedge is a spot located at the extreme southeast end of the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, California known for its large waves that makes it a popular spot for surfing and bodysurfing. The Wedge is located at the intersection of the beach and the man-made jetty that forms the breakwater on the western side of Newport harbor entrance. When a south or south/southwest swell is running in the right size and direction, the Wedge can produce waves up to 30 feet (9.1 m) high.

Contents

The waves

Crowds gather to watch giant waves at the Wedge, Newport Beach Crowds gather to watch giant waves at the Wedge Newport Beach.jpg
Crowds gather to watch giant waves at the Wedge, Newport Beach

The waves are a by-product of alterations to the rock jetty on the west side of the Newport Harbor entrance undertaken during the 1930s. [1] When conditions are right, and a wave approaches the shore at the proper angle (most generally a south swell), an approaching wave will reflect off the jetty creating a second wave. The reflected wave meets up with the following wave of the set and forms a peak, and this pattern can repeat for several following waves as well. If the reflected and incoming waves align the resulting wave is bigger than either alone due to constructive interference. This occurs very rapidly and forms waves in a very unpredictable and "unstable" pattern, so that no two waves are alike and the exact breaking point is difficult to predict even for an experienced surfer.

Although this condition primarily occurs with large, south swells, it can also occur, with considerably lesser frequency, during "normal" conditions.[ citation needed ] During a south or south/southwest swell of the right size and aligned in the swell window, the Wedge can produce huge waves up to 30 feet (9.1 m) high.[ citation needed ]

In addition, the beach at the Wedge is very steeply shaped sand, resulting in what is known as shore break and a very strong backwash which often drags people back into the surf. The backwash itself frequently creates another, outgoing wave, which can hit an incoming wave or surfer with enormous force.[ citation needed ] With the combined effect of the unpredictability of where the incoming waves will break, and the strength of the backwash, the resulting wave action can be highly unpredictable and therefore both exciting as well as very dangerous. The combination of danger, along with the chance to get pitted (enclosed in the tube, barrel, or "pit" of a wave), draws many to surf the Wedge.[ citation needed ]

The Wedge breaks largest when intense Southern Hemisphere storms or large tropical cyclones send their long period energy from the south-southwest direction, primarily during the summer and fall months. [2]

History

The Wedge (background) The Wedge Newport beach CA Aug 27 2014 tube photo D Ramey Logan.jpg
The Wedge (background)

The formation of the surfing spot known as the Wedge was a by-product of alterations to the Newport Harbor, which were completed and re-dedicated on May 23, 1936. Before those renovations and extensions of the West Jetty wall, the Newport Harbor was the premier surfing spot on the entire west coast of North America. [3] However, while the Newport Harbor was popular with surfers, it was also at that time a tragic place to be for boaters and swimmers alike, especially during big swells. [4]

In 1926, George Rogers Jr., a 15-year-old with polio, drowned in the Newport Harbor as his boat capsized amidst the heavy waves. As a result of polio, George Rogers Jr. was reliant on leg braces, and due to the weight of his heavy iron leg braces, his body sank to the bottom of the harbor and was never found. To prevent such a tragedy from happening again to boaters or swimmers, the boy's father, George Rogers Sr., a successful southern California road builder, was motivated to sell his business and focus his remaining years of life on seeking local and federal funding to alter the Newport Harbor. From 1926 to 1936 George Rogers Sr. campaigned to raise funds. Despite the scarcity of money during the Depression, Rogers Sr., helped raise approximately $2 million in federal aid and local bond funds. [5]

A month following the re-dedication of the improved Newport Harbor entrance, George Rogers Sr. had a heart attack while on his boat as he entered the harbor entrance. [4] He died at approximately the same location his son died, ten years earlier. In 2014 the documentary, The Wedge: Dynasty, Tragedy, Legacy, aired on PBS SoCaL, recounting these events. [3]

In the early to mid-1950s The Wedge was known locally as "102 Beach," where teens held frequent evening beach parties at which Brew 102, a popular (and inexpensive) Southern California beer from the Maier Brewing Co. was liberally consumed.[ citation needed ] The Wedge makes an appearance in Bruce Brown's The Endless Summer . [6] Balboa is mentioned in the opening song to seminal 1963 surfing movie "Beach Party".

Legendary surf music guitarist Dick Dale memorialized the Wedge in an eponymous song on the 1963 album, Checkered Flag. Pop punk band All Time Low also mentions the Wedge in their song "Let It Roll" from their 2007 album, "So Wrong, It's Right".

John Wayne attended USC in the 1920s, where he played on the Trojans football team. "While still playing football, Wayne went to the Wedge for a bodysurfing session and wound up — as so many others do — getting injured at the famously fast and heavy spot. Because he could no longer play football, he lost his athletic scholarship. And without funds, he had to drop out of USC. After leaving school, Wayne went to work at the studios, beginning with a summer gig in a prop department." [7]

Further reading

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Surfing</span> Sport of riding waves

Surfing is a surface water sport in which an individual, a surfer, uses a board to ride on the forward section, or face, of a moving wave of water, which usually carries the surfer towards the shore. Waves suitable for surfing are primarily found on ocean shores, but can also be found in standing waves in the open ocean, in lakes, in rivers in the form of a tidal bore, or in wave pools.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Newport Beach, California</span> City in Orange County, California

Newport Beach is a coastal city in South Orange County, California. Newport Beach is known for swimming and sandy beaches. Newport Harbor once supported maritime industries however today, it is used mostly for recreation. Balboa Island draws visitors with a waterfront path and easy access from the ferry to the shops and restaurants.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rip current</span> Water current moving away from shore

A rip current, often simply called a rip, is a specific kind of water current that can occur near beaches with breaking waves. A rip is a strong, localized, and narrow current of water which moves directly away from the shore, cutting through the lines of breaking waves like a river running out to sea. The current in a rip is strongest and fastest next to the surface of the water.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bodysurfing</span>

Bodysurfing is the art and sport of riding a wave without the assistance of any buoyant device such as a surfboard or bodyboard. Bodysurfers often equip themselves with a pair of swimfins that aid propulsion and help the bodysurfer catch, ride and kick out of waves. Some bodysurfers also use a wooden or foam handplane, which helps to get one's chest out of the water to reduce drag.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Banzai Pipeline</span>

The Banzai Pipeline, or simply Pipeline or Pipe, is a surf reef break located in Hawaii, off Ehukai Beach Park in Pupukea on O'ahu's North Shore. A reef break is an area in the ocean where waves start to break once they reach the shallows of a reef. Pipeline is known for huge waves that break in shallow water just above a sharp and cavernous reef, forming large, hollow, thick curls of water that surfers can tube ride. There are three reefs at Pipeline in progressively deeper water farther out to sea that activate according to the increasing size of approaching ocean swells.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Huntington State Beach</span> Protected beach in Southern California

Huntington State Beach is a protected beach in Southern California, located in the City of Huntington Beach in Orange County. It extends 2 miles (3.2 km) from Newport Beach north to Beach Boulevard, where the Huntington City Beach begins. The 121-acre (49 ha) park was established in 1942.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Corona del Mar State Beach</span> Protected area

Corona del Mar State Beach is a protected beach in the state park system of California, United States. It is located in Corona del Mar, Newport Beach, and operated by the city of Newport Beach. The 30-acre (12 ha) park was established in 1947.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Surf culture</span> Culture associated with the sport surfing

Surf culture includes the people, language, fashion, and lifestyle surrounding the sport of surfing. The history of surfing began with the ancient Polynesians. That initial culture directly influenced modern surfing, which began to flourish and evolve in the early 20th century, with its popularity peaking during the 1950s and 1960s. It has affected music, fashion, literature, film, art, and youth jargon in popular culture. The number of surfers throughout the world continues to increase as the culture spreads.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Malibu Lagoon State Beach</span> Surfing beach in Malibu, California

Malibu Lagoon State Beach in Malibu, California, United States, is also known as Surfrider Beach. It was dedicated as the first World Surfing Reserve on October 9, 2010. The 110-acre (45 ha) site was established as a California state park in 1951. It lies within the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

G-Land, also known as Plengkung Beach, is an internationally renowned surf break situated on the Grajagan Bay, Banyuwangi, Alas Purwo National Park, East Java, Indonesia about half a day by road from the popular tourist destinations of Bali. G-Land is most commonly reached via boat charter from Bali.

Surf forecasting is the process of using offshore swell data to predict onshore wave conditions. It is used by millions of people across the world, including professionals who put their forecasts online, meteorologists who work for news crews, and surfers all over the world. It is impossible to make an exact prediction of the surf, but by knowing a few factors a good prediction can be made. One needs to have an understanding of how waves are formed, a basic knowledge of bathymetry, and information about the surf spot being forecasted to accurately forecast the surf.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Silver Strand Beach</span>

Silver Strand Beach is an unincorporated beach neighborhood in Ventura County, California, United States. Lying between the mouth of Channel Islands Harbor on the north and the ocean entrance to the Port of Hueneme on the south, the eastern side of the beach community lies along the boundary of the Naval Construction Battalion Center Port Hueneme. The harbors and the Naval base almost completely surround Silver Strand, keeping the area relatively separate from the city of Oxnard and making it accessible by only one main road, Victoria Avenue.

Playa Negra is a beach in the Guanacaste Province of Costa Rica. It is south of the town of Tamarindo. Los Pargos, meaning "the snapper", is the name of the town closest to Playa Negra. It is south of Avellanas and north of Junquillal. It is accessed from Santa Cruz through 27 de Abril and then Paraiso.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Swami's</span>

Swami's is an area in San Diego County that contains Swami's Beach and other local attractions. The beach, also known as "Swami’s Reef'" and "Swamis", is an internationally known surfing spot, a point break located in Encinitas, San Diego County, California. Swami's was named after Swami Paramahansa Yogananda, because the grounds and hermitage of the Self-Realization Fellowship ashram, built in 1937, overlook this reef point. The name "Swami's" is also given to the sand beach that extends south from the point to the next beach access point, which is next to the San Elijo State Beach camping area; this more southerly surf spot often goes by the name "Pipes".

Terry Wade is an American bodysurfer.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Surf break</span> Permanent obstruction on the seabed which causes waves to break

A surf break is a permanent obstruction such as a coral reef, rock, shoal, or headland that causes a wave to break, forming a barreling wave or other wave that can be surfed, before it eventually collapses. The topography of the seabed determines the shape of the wave and type of break. Since shoals can change size and location, affecting the break, it takes commitment and skill to find good breaks. Some surf breaks are quite dangerous, since the surfer can collide with a reef or rocks below the water.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Glossary of surfing</span> Vocabulary used to describe various aspects of the sport of surfing

This glossary of surfing includes some of the extensive vocabulary used to describe various aspects of the sport of surfing as described in literature on the subject. In some cases terms have spread to a wider cultural use. These terms were originally coined by people who were directly involved in the sport of surfing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Surfline</span>

Surfline is a company and website based in Huntington Beach, California that specializes in surf forecasting and surf reports, live webcasting, photography, videography, as well as editorial coverage of the sport of surfing. Surfline.com is now ranked 1,180 in the US and 5,784 in the world in terms of popularity compared to other websites and is now the largest provider of streaming HD coastal cams. Since 2003 it has taken on buoyweather.com and fishtrack.com (2012), on average the family of websites receives 175,000 visitors per day. The site includes streaming video, surf reports and forecasts. Surfline.com offers streaming cameras at 150 surf breaks, and is one of the larger surf cam websites. Surfline currently has approximately 50 employees.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Surfing in Ecuador</span>

Ecuador has many beaches for surfing: the coast of Ecuador is 2,237 km long. Surfable waves are available in Ecuador year-round, and surfers enjoy the mild year-round weather, especially in the northern region where the weather conditions attract many surfers from all over the world. Within this part of South America, Ecuador's neighbors Chile and Peru also offer great surfing. Many surfers in Ecuador use a protective wetsuit. Surf tourism is very important to the local economy, and the beaches offer significant enjoyment because of top quality waves combined with affordable prices for lodging and food compared to other surf destinations. There's also a national marine reserve off the coast, which has a gigantic whale population.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sidi Kaouki</span> Rural commune and town in Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz, Morocco

Sidi Kaouki is a small town located 25 km south of Essaouira. It is a rural commune in Essaouira Province of the Marrakech-Tensift-Al Haouz region of Morocco. At the time of the 2004 census, the commune had a total population of 4335 people living in 902 households.

References

  1. Duane, Daniel. "The Lip Comes Down". Outside magazine . Archived from the original on September 19, 2010.
  2. Weikel, Dan (September 30, 2002). "Time Is Wiping Out Wedge Surf Purists". Los Angeles Times .
  3. 1 2 Simon, Richard (May 20, 2014). "Local Focus: Newport's Famous "Wedge" Subject of PBS Documentary". Newport Beach Independent.
  4. 1 2 Connelly, Laylan (May 19, 2014). "Film on PBS explores how Newport's Wedge surf break came to be". Orange County Register.
  5. Miller, Michael (May 20, 2014). "Man with links to Wedge tragedies pays tribute". Daily Pilot.
  6. Howard, Jake. "The Wedge Just Roared, It Must Be Summer In California". World Surf League.
  7. "How the Wedge surf spot turned John Wayne into an actor". San Luis Obispo Tribune. Archived from the original on May 5, 2017.