A mammoth swell generated by an Antarctic storm will slam Southern California beginning Thursday and last through Labor Day weekend. This is great news for surfers but alarming for lifeguards who will have their hands full dealing with large holiday crowds.
Surfline forecasters are calling for waves in the five- to eight-foot range on Thursday afternoon, with the swell building into Saturday, featuring waves in excess of 10 feet on south-facing beaches and perhaps up to 20-plus feet at the famous Wedge in Newport Beach.
As with all large Southern Hemisphere swells, there will be long lulls between giant sets. Swimmers are cautioned that monstrous waves may seem to spring up suddenly, and because of this they're advised not to venture too far from shore.
This is the same swell that greeted ASP World Tour surfers in Tahiti during a contest that was won by Kelly Slater on Monday. Surfline is predicting this will be the largest wave event of the summer and may feature some beach erosion and coastal flooding.