NEWPORT BEACH — Lifelong surfer Billy Lewis stood on Balboa Pier watching the waves Thursday afternoon. Spots of water from the splashes shooting upward dotted his face, shirt and hat.
"I had to take a look at it. I'm a surfer," the Newport Beach resident said.
Hundreds joined Lewis on the pier because no one around there was up to experiencing Mother Nature first hand. Waves were up to 8 feet on average, with some peaking as high as 12, lifeguards said.
The sand around the pier was absent of any people braving the waves, and only a few tried dipping their feet in the shorebreak.
"A lot of people aren't from around here and haven't seen something like this," Lewis said. "It's like going to the mountains."
While the crowd watched walls of water slam onto the beach, city workers built their own mountains of sand to keep the slams at bay.