Art of Bodysurfing Alive and Well in Newport Beach

The Wedge - body surfer
With the lifeguard tower boarded up, the sand mostly empty and the waves fizzling into foam, another bodysurfing season at the Wedge has drawn to a close. The daredevils who brave the wild waves at the legendary Newport Beach break are shelving their fins until next spring.

The die-hards -- guys whose concussions, fractured vertebrae and broken bones are testament to their devotion to the Wedge -- have mellowed with age. The waves -- which ricochet off the rocky jetty at the tip of Balboa Peninsula, smashing together in white-frosted peaks that can tower 20 feet -- have not. The Wedge chews up novices, flinging them onto the hard berm of sand or sucking them back into the churning surf.
The bodysurfing fraternity that held tanning tournaments and packed party houses during the Wedge's rowdy 1980s heyday has morphed into middle-aged dads. Fights used to break out among dudes angling for waves. Now, mentoring is more likely as newcomers learn to navigate that wall of water from the old hands who still can't get enough.
Read the rest of the story here.
--Susannah Rosenblatt

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