"We haven't had surf like this since 1997," said L.A. County Lifeguard Captain Jeff Horn. "We're seeing 15-plus-foot faces out there and larger on some of the outer reefs.
San Pedro is normally a calm, break-less stretch of coastline according to Horn. But Wednesday there were 15-foot waves crashing.
Lifeguards had their eyes pressed to binoculars and glued to the water.
Spectators were ordered to stay back and away from the waterline.
"If you're not an expert surfer, just stay away from the water altogether. And we're telling people actually to even stay away from the water's edge, because we're getting large surge," said Horn.
PHOTOS: Surfers catch big waves at Southern California beaches