Balboa Beach - The Wedge

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Balboa, CA

Balboa Beach - The Wedge
Balboa, CA




Notes:
The Wedge is a world-famous surfing, bodyboarding and bodysurfing spot located at the extreme south end of the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, California. When supplied with a south swell of the proper size and direction, it can produce shore break waves as spectacular and intimidating as any in Hawaii, Tahiti, or Australia. Skimboarding is another water sports activity that takes place at the Wedge.

The waves are a by-product of improvements to the groin (rock jetty) on the north side of the Newport Harbor entrance undertaken during the 1930s. When conditions are just right and the waves approach the shore at the proper angle (south swells), an approaching wave will reflect off the groin creating a second wave. The reflected wave meets up with the following wave of the set and forms a peak. Because of this effect, waves at the wedge are often 3-5 feet larger than waves at other south facing beaches in Newport on any given day.

The Wedge only breaks big a few times a year, primarily during the summer months. It's unpredictable. ""Thus it remains a kind of unspoiled inner sanctum of wave riding at its purestand most challenging.""

Dangerous, cautious respect
Wave breaking at The WedgeBetween Balboa Pier and the Wedge waves are referred to as a ""shore break"". When the crest of the wave comes crashing down, regardless of its size, it lands in water no more than a foot or two deep, and it will sometimes land directly on to the sand. This condition causes uninformed and inexperienced swimmers to be at extreme risk of a spinal cord injury. If a person is to ""go over the falls,"" (fall with the water in the crest of the wave), they will commonly strike their head on the sand below the shallow water. Shore break waves are much thicker and stronger for their size than waves that break farther out. Their thickness increases the force in which they strike the ground. Lower Newport sees many spinal cord injury victims every summer which often end up as paraplegics.

These conditions at the Wedge are only for a swimmer in peak physical condition, with ample amounts of ocean experience and proper equipment. Swim fins are a must!


Click Here for the Heal the Bay Beach Report Card For this Beach

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