Photos of The Wedge - Newport Beach Famous Body Surfing Beach


Photos of The Wedge at West Jetty View Park at Ocean Blvd. and Channel Road is known for its spectacular waves that break offshore.  While Rincon has its Pit Crew, the Newport Wedge has the Wedge Crew, elite riders of the wave who enter the water with nothing more than a wetsuit and fins.

 

It's hard to understand until you visit and see what the fuss is all about. Some days the waves are too blown out (see top and bottom-right photos.)  What is the Wedge video?

 

And who surfs the wedge?  Read about a wedge pioneers, Fred Simpson.

 

The best waves at this Newport Beach location are unique and don't happen that often, but when they do, you better know what to do or you may find yourself pounded into the sand.  In this incredible sport that pits man against nature, one mistake can paralyze you for life, and unfortunately, it happens routinely.  One wipe out trying to bodysurf the Newport Wedge can cause bruises and broken bones, but still, there's a hard core group of bodysurfers who face up to 10-foot high waves for the extreme thrill of a water-oriented sport that isn't part of most surfing competitions.

 

When it's summer in Newport Beach, that means your chances of catching a ride improve as currents from around the globe roll (as far away as New Zealand) powerfully build strength and culminate in the Wedge experience. So named for the waves that approach shore, then bounce off the jetty's boulders and form a perfect shape, the Newport Wedge is the top mainland spot for bodysurfing.

There's no pro circuit for body surfing. Pipeline Bodysurfing Classic, held each February on Oahu's North Shore, and the World Bodysurfing Championships, in Oceanside, California, are the primary competitions. Offering very little prize money and almost no sponsorship compared to most surfing events, body surfing is very special to this tiny little section of Newport Beach, and came about as a result of a jetty being built to create a harbor. The Army Corps of Engineers added 200,000 tons of rocks between 1934 and 1936, in an effort to extend the jetty's reach.

 

Built in 1918 to protect the entrance to Newport Harbor, Corona del Mar suffered the most from the construction as their great surfing waves were lost.  Surfers lost one of their great spots when the jetty was built. But body surfers discovered the that the jetty became a sort of wave machine, creating incredible waves through a process of incoming water bouncing off the jetty to create reflected waves that move sideways outward from the structure. When those reflected waves bump into the new set of incoming waves, the two combine to form a triangle shape. Precisely where the waves converge, the ocean floor rises abruptly, pushing the peaks upward.

In 1961 when former UCLA water-polo player Fred Simpson redesigned stronger fins, body surfers gained a new tool to allow them to surf the Newport Beach wedge with less likelihood of being injured. A club formed to create and foster a social environment for the small group of brave souls willing to risk life and limb.

 Cashbox Kennedy, Terry Wade and Kevin Thoman were the tight-knit group of Crew members who sprang into action when a new threat, boogie boards, began appearing on the scene. "Boogers" at The Wedge filled the shore with their boards, pushing out bodysurfers. The small club or crew formed the Wedge Preservation Society and petitioned the City of Newport Beach to keep The Wedge open only to body surfers. In the name of public safety, the bylaw prohibits all board surfing—including boogie boarding—at the jetty between 10a.m. and 5 p.m., from the start of May to the end of October.
 

 

 


 

 

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