Every summer, south swells march down the Newport Harbor jetty in Southern California and the dirty old Wedge roars to life. There aren't a lot of surfers who will take on the mutant wave, but the local crew that braves the drop is dedicated and out of their mind. Tyler Gunter, 14, is the youngster in the group, but might charge harder than anyone.
Dropping into the Wedge might be the easiest part of the ride. But after that, as Bobby Okvist can attest, one never knows what's going to happen.
Murphy Bartling caught a wave and it was "this" big.
Note the rebound wave pushing up the beach. That's what helps give the Wedge its distinct shape. Locals, like Stephan Figueiredo, know that if you can time it just right, you're in for the ride of your life.
You have to think the board got off easy. Who knows what its owner's body is going through under there.
Airdropping into the maelstrom, Gunter makes it look easy. Only a foot of water between him and the hard packed sand? No problem.
The big swell hit over the long Fourth of July holiday weekend. Who needs fireworks when you have the Wedge?
Nathan Fletcher lives about 45 minutes south of Newport, but he's happy to brave traffic on the 405 to catch a few. Things don't always go as planned, but he doesn't seem to mind that either.
With paddle in hand at the microphone stand, the people on the beach must be saying, "Yo, what you thinkin', man?" Beastie Boys reference aside, yes, Daniel Hughes SUP-ed himself into that wave.
Good Board Down
Every battle has its casualties, but it's always better when the damage is limited to foam and fiberglass.
Don't be fooled, it's not nearly as perfect as it looks.
Orange County, California
Before it was paved over, Orange County used to be home to acres and acres of orange orchards. The fruit may be gone, but as the sun dips behind the palms, the orange remains.