Another day of large swells and very strong rip currents were expected to hit Southern California beaches on Thursday as a high surf advisory remained in effect, according to the National Weather Service.
Large crowds gathered at the Wedge in Newport Beach during the morning to watch experiences surfers and body-boarders take on the large waves.
Amid the conditions, nearly 175 swimmers had to be rescued in Los Angeles County on Wednesday — which was considered the peak of a four-day high surf advisory for Southern California beaches — lifeguards said.
Among the more dramatic rescues was a body-surfer who became distressed while trying to navigate waves of up to 25 feet near the Wedge. The conditions were so tough that the four lifeguards and the body-surfer were rescued by a boat after several minutes when they appeared to be unable to reach the shore.
More than two dozen people were rescued from the Wedge within a two-and-a-half hour period, officials said.
The waves, which were the largest to hit the area in the past decade, also caused flooding that was blamed for damaging several homes in the Seal Beach area after water broke through defense barriers late Tuesday night.
A berm was built on Wednesday to prevent more flooding in the area.
“It ended up being worse than the forecast” Capt. Steve Concialdi, of the Orange County Fire Authority, said Wednesday. “The waves [Tuesday] night, per the lifeguards, were 12 to 14 feet. They were coming at such a quick pace, with such energy and force that there was nothing that was going to stop them.”
A structure on a Malibu beach also partially collapsed, aerial video showed.
Although the surf has already peaked, breakers of 10 to 15 feet were expected across southern facing beaches in L.A. and Ventura counties through Friday, according to the weather service.
Swimmers and inexperienced surfers were urged to stay out of the water while the advisory was in effect.
The large swell was generated over the past few days by a weakening Tropical Storm Marie, the weather service reported.
The high surf advisory was scheduled to expire at 6 p.m. Friday.