Crowds flock to Newport Beach to watch epic waves

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Big crowds have been gathering at the notorious Wedge in Newport Beach to get a glimpse of the giant swells from a hurricane hundreds of miles offshore.

Experienced surfers and body-boarders took on the epic waves as tall as 20 feet on Wednesday.

To beat the crowd, some people flocked to the beach before the sun came up on Thursday to set up their viewing spots for the third day of high surf.

Lifeguards are warning inexperienced surfers and swimmers to stay out of the water.

Los Angeles County lifeguards say there were 172 ocean rescues on Wednesday -- 57 in Malibu, 36 in Venice Beach, 30 in Santa Monica, five at Zuma Beach, and the remainder scattered throughout the county. There were 115 ocean rescues in the county on Tuesday.

PHOTOS: Surfers catch big waves at Southern California beaches

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