Lifeguards warn of dangerous rip currents at the Wedge, OC beaches

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Lifeguards on Friday were warning Southern California residents in Newport Beach about strong rip currents and potentially dangerous conditions.

Lifeguards on Friday were warning Southern California residents in Newport Beach about strong rip currents and potentially dangerous conditions.

Cellphone video posted to the ABC7 Facebook page captured just how strong the waves at the Wedge in Newport Beach can be.

Lifeguards said a whale between 20 and 25 feet washed up near the shore, still alive.

As people ran to help, another wave washed the whale right back into the water, where rescue boats never located it. That was just part of another day of big waves at the popular surf spot.

"The Wedge just draws everybody to this break because it's such an addicting wave, the adrenaline rush you get from dropping in when it's really big," said Sean Fitzpatrick of Huntington Beach.

Surfers said the tail-end of the swell was still producing 10 to 12-foot waves, which was attracting thrill seekers and spectators.

A group of 12-year-olds from Carlsbad wanted to start their summer vacation at the Wedge after hearing about its massive waves.

Officials said though it may be fun, the area was potentially dangerous, and with a hot weekend on the way, they expect the crowds to grow even larger.

Lifeguards said they were responding with summer's staffing levels.

"We're going to have our rescue boats, obviously, multiple lifeguard towers, and we'll have our extra staffing in accordingly," said Newport Beach Fire Department Lifeguard Battalion Chief Brent Jacobsen

Lifeguards warned people the wedge was an experts-only area, and for those who can tackle the waves, this was a good start to the season.

"Warmer water, good waves, and yeah, it's the start of summer," said Fitzpatrick. "You know, hopefully we'll see some more swell hitting the Wedge here in the next couple of months."
Related Topics:
weathersurfingwindbeacheswhaleNewport BeachOrange County
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