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Huge waves hit Southern California's south-facing beaches

May 19, 2011 |  1:51 pm

Surf

Surf was up at Newport Beach and other coastal areas Thursday with breakers at the famous Wedge rising 20 feet.

Photo gallery: South swell generates high surf at the Wedge

The sands of Newport Beach were not especially crowded with surfers because of cool water and air temperatures, although in the early afternoon the haze was burning off and water was warming as a result of the same southerly swell that was causing the high waves.

Overall, the surf in the area was rising about 6 to 8 feet and inconsistent, said Rob Williams, the lifeguard battalion chief for the Newport Beach Fire Department.

For safety reasons, he said it’s a good idea to surf with friends and within easy sight of a lifeguard.

The current conditions are expected to last through Friday morning.

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-- Howard Blume and Al Schaben

Photo: A surfer tries riding a wave at the Wedge in Newport Beach on Thursday. A high-surf advisory for south-facing beaches has been issued through Friday evening by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

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