Surfing legend Laird Hamilton rescues surfer in Malibu

MALIBU, Calif. (KABC) -- Surfing legend Laird Hamilton came to the rescue of a distressed surfer in Malibu Wednesday morning.

The surfer had to be rescued after losing his board in the strong waves around 8:30 a.m. According to witnesses, he started waving for help just south of the pier. Two men, including Hamilton, came to the rescue.

"He got swept, just got swept down towards the rocks, and then another surfer ran out. Laird grabbed his fins, swam out to him and brought him back in," said witness Bo Bridges.

Los Angeles County lifeguards sent out a Jet Ski, but by that time the group was already safe.

"Oh, he was happy, he was thankful," said Hamilton. "His eyes were big and he was appreciative that he was back on the land."

Despite warnings about the dangers of high surf, daredevil surfers and body-boarders flocked to Southern California beaches to catch big waves spawned by Hurricane Marie, which is passing hundreds of miles offshore.

"I think most of the people out there have been surfing for a long time, so you kind of work up to something like this," said witness Chris Terins.

"Today was like a little slice of heaven," said Calabasas resident Jackson Patrick. "I try to go and surf all the best waves everywhere, and this was the best I've ever had."

Watch a live stream of the waves in Laguna Beach

"This is definitely the best real estate in Malibu right now, because we are seeing the best waves in, god, 30 years plus," said surfer Carlos Delolmo.

Lifeguards rescued at least 65 people by Wednesday afternoon.

A homeless woman trying to create a shelter underneath the Nobu Malibu restaurant started screaming when high tide came in. County rescue crews responded and saved her.

The Malibu Pier was closed to the public after pylons supporting it were damaged by incoming waves on Tuesday. While most surfers say they feel safe, others are concerned that the pier won't hold up.

"I'm actually worried we might lose the pier today. If you look towards the end of the pier, there's pieces just dangling off the pier," said Delolmo.

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