Since I’ve been alive, Hurricane Marie stands as one of the better runs of swell that I’ve seen in California. As for Newport Point in particular, I honestly didn’t even know where it was. I had to call my friend and ask, “Hey, where is Newport Point?” It’s pretty funny. That was the first time I surfed there, so I had no idea what to expect.
You think it’s going to be a point break, right? I had no idea these stacking, A-framing, top-to-bottom, spitting waves would be coming through. I don’t know how big people were calling it, but it was comparable to a solid day at Pipe.
That session was probably the one that stood out most. It was the peak of the swell. All of the elements aligned with the direction. At that time I think it was 170, and it was focusing on Newport Point. Some of the waves that were coming in were crazy.
It was crowded for sure. No doubt about it. But it was heavy, too. There was a lot of water moving. There were gnarly rip currents sucking you out to sea. It wasn’t easy to surf by any means. You could spend an hour no problem and not catch a wave. So that definitely weeded out a lot of guys. You just kept paddling. You’d paddle and paddle and try to stay in the spot, and you’d find waves.
As far as rescues and whatnot, the lifeguards were on high alert for sure. I was in Newport on Tuesday evening when the swell started hitting, and there were lifeguard trucks going up and down the beach, sirens going, telling people to get out of the water because the swell was filling in.
Literally every set was getting bigger, one foot bigger, two feet bigger, three feet bigger. By dark it was already like 8 – 10 feet. It went from three feet in the morning to ten feet in the evening. You don’t see that happen in California often.
Some guys were talking about the ‘90s as the last time it was this good. Maybe during Guillermo. I heard guys saying this is the best it’s ever been. It was proper. It was legit. And I think what was cool about it is there was all the hype, and we saw the hurricane, people making calls, but it exceeded all of the expectations. You know? If everyone was saying it was going to be ten feet, it was all that and more. Usually it’s the opposite. Usually people are saying, “Awww it’s gonna be six foot,” and you show up and it’s four feet. And man. This one it was just like, “Oh my gosh. This is really happening. It’s no joke.”
When something exceeds your expectations, it just makes it that much better. It heightens the experience to a different level. That whole day, too, there were light winds. There were waves breaking that never, ever, ever break. Doheny looked ridiculous. It was like a right point out in the middle of the ocean.
It’ll be good to lay low and just chill over the weekend. It’s rare to say, but I’ve been surfing way too much. It feels good to be burnt out. It was weird. I was surfing last night, and we were laughing because it felt like we had been on a surf trip for the last five days. You’re waking up at four in the morning every day and surfing ’til dark and you’re going home and see your wife for ten minutes, and you’re back up at four the next morning. This was definitely a swell to remember.