Commentary: The Wedge shows its might, challenging all who dare ride

For generations, people have been coming from all over to The Wedge in Newport Beach to see the pure and natural power Mother Nature truly has to offer.

They battle the traffic on the freeways and city streets, circle for what seems to be hours in search of a parking space, sometimes on a hot day, and finally find one.

They go through all of this to get a look — perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity — at the unique and massive waves that pound the shore when the right swell direction, wind and tide factors all come together at The Wedge.

The visitors can feel the ocean spray on your face, taste the salty water on your lips and sense the ground shake when a good wave hits the shallow sand bottom.

I am lucky to have grown up in and around Newport Beach. I've spent more than 35 years in the area, going through school, starting my businesses, surfing, body surfing, skim boarding and living the beach life while have a great time at The Wedge.

But what we have been blessed with the past few days is nothing short of amazing.

This dance floor must be left to the pros, longtime Wedge Crew locals and big-wave junkies, not the first-timer who has never experienced the ocean.

These experienced riders come to show us mere mortals that these waves are seriously no joke. Some surf these huge waves, which can get 15- to 20-feet high, with no leashes. And their boards go flying through the air and get slammed onto the sand when they either pull out through the back and ditch the things or wipe out.

Some ride body boards or use hand guns (hand-fitted stabilizers) and some just free-ride, body surfing it with some really good fins. And the crowd roars and "ahs" when someone gets a good ride or the spin cycle.

Standing on the shoreline, the hundreds of tourists, photographers, industry folks and locals who worked their way down to The Wedge at the right time Friday evening when the incoming tide gave the swell a little extra push, were all treated to that amazing, jaw-dropping show of a lifetime, when a few brave souls risked their lives to ride one of the fastest and most incredible waves in the world.

You ask yourself who's having more fun, you or them?

You can check out The Wedge and more than 1,000 other waves around the world live at and see some great pictures and videos at

B. PATRICK is a Newport Beach surfer, body surfer and skim boarder.

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