Huge waves wow throngs in Southern California

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Southern California is seeing the kind of epic surf usually associated with Hawaii or Tahiti. Beaches are thronged with wave riders and crowds are coming to watch the action even as seaside communities try to stave off damage from the ocean onslaught.

A third day of waves spawned the far-off Hurricane Marie was expected Thursday before calmer waters return.

Spectators lined the shore of the Wedge in Newport Beach on Wednesday, where 20-foot waves were crashing and some of the world’s best surfers were riding.

“It’s as big as Southern California ever gets,” Peter Mel, a prominent big-wave surfer just back from an event in Tahiti, told the Orange County Register. “It’s perfect.”

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