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Crowds swell with waves

January 06, 2012
  • A surfer banks off the foam as a set waves roll in behind him. Large swells rolled into Newport Beach on Friday.
A surfer banks off the foam as a set waves roll in behind… (DON LEACH, Daily…)

Huge swells off Newport Beach's west-facing shores brought tens of thousands to watch the waves and hundreds to surf them, authorities said Friday.

About 6- to 8-foot sets drew about 15,000 to Newport Beach's shoreline, and the parking lot was consistently full through Friday, said Newport Beach Fire Department spokeswoman Jennifer Schulz.

Between the 28th Street Jetty and the Newport Pier, several hundred surfers took to the waves, but lifeguards were kept on their toes with the increase in beachgoers — there were 250 prevented injuries and rescues and two medical aid incidents, Schulz said.

Lifeguards expect more large crowds this weekend, Schulz said.

With large waves come heavy currents and riptides, and lifeguards suggest those who think they may be caught in a riptide swim parallel to the beach before swimming in to shore.

 

— Lauren Williams

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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