Hurricane Marie Surf Slams Southern California Coast

Hurricane Marie has lived up to expectations, her powerful category 4 and 5 winds whipping up the Pacific Ocean off Baja, California, and sending monstrous swells crashing into the Southern California Coast.

Overnight Wednesday, the large surf combined with high tides to sweep into low-lying homes in Seal Beach, south of Los Angeles, and take out some pilings from beneath the historic Malibu Pier.

Then, as the sun came up over the Southern California coast, huge crowds flocked to the beach to witness Hurricane Marie in action and the largest south swell seen in decades.

Among the most popular places to experience Hurricane Marie’s powerful surf, while also witnessing those brave enough to attempt riding the enormous waves (and the nervous lifeguards), was the Wedge in Newport Beach, a legendary break made possible by a long jetty built out into the Pacific to protect boats entering and exiting Newport Harbor.

According to local Newport Beach lore, the large surf at the Wedge was responsible for John Wayne’s movie career; the Duke got his leg broken in large surf spawned by a hurricane similar to Hurricane Marie, putting an end to John Wayne’s football career at USC.

Below, surfers and bodyboarders take on the massive Hurricane Marie surf at the Wedge on August 27, 2014:

The man responsible for the creation of the Newport Harbor jetty was motivated by the grief of his son’s drowning in the mouth of Newport Harbor after the young man’s boat was capsized by a giant wave, one of many sad historical footnotes in the annals of large Southern California surf.

Below is another view of the Hurricane Marie generated-surf at the Wedge, looking across the now protected Newport Harbor, and featuring a hummingbird also enjoying the action:

The Associated Press reports extra lifeguards were on duty for Hurricane Marie, and despite the inherent dangers of the big surf, water-men and women up and down the coast were taking on the waves. Before the Hurricane Marie swell even peaked, a surfer died at Surfrider beach in Malibu Tuesday. However, it was unknown if the cause of the surfer’s death was a result of the large surf or some type of medical condition.

But guys like Scott Bosco, 26, were surfing the washing machine like conditions created by Hurricane Marie, Bosco in Seal Beach:

“It’s very hectic, stormy and dangerous, really,” said Bosco, who caught only two waves, while out for an hour, due to the relentless conditions. “You live for days like this. I’m definitely coming back later after school.”

In the Port of Long Beach, two cargo terminals had to be shut down late Tuesday because of the 10- to 15-foot-high waves Hurricane Marie sent breaking into the area, putting longshore workers in danger, according to a port statement.

Hurricane Marie was generating the epic surf from a spot out in the Pacific Ocean, approximately 800 miles west of the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. Surf is expected to remain high through Thursday, and possibly longer, despite Hurricane Marie’s mellowing to tropical storm status.

Image and Videos via YouTube and Southern California Weather Central