Six people were stranded late Sunday near Smithcliffs Road in North Laguna after huge waves covered the beach where they had been walking, Laguna Beach Police Sgt. Jason Kravetz said.
The party started out in Crescent Bay and headed north. By the time they reached Emerald Bay, a gated community, the rising tide had made it impossible for them to turn back and retrace their steps, Kravetz said.
Police were called at 9:50 p.m. by residents on Smithcliffs Road who reported people yelling for help.
The fire department responded and cut a hole in a metal fence at the rear of one Smithcliffs home, and then used a ladder to bring the stranded beachgoers up to safety.
The high surf and high tide also swamped the parking lot at Aliso Beach that night, Kravetz said.
The high surf peaked around 3 a.m. Sunday.
On Monday, Main Beach was reconfigured with huge sand piles from waves that reached the boardwalk, covering staircases nearly to the top.
The National Weather Service issued a high surf advisory through Tuesday noon, warning coastal communities of possible rip currents, waves from 8-10 feet, and damage from strong surges.