Hundreds of beachgoers watched the finals of one of the surf world's biggest competitions in "Surf City" on Sunday as surfers welcomed big waves that were expected to continue into Monday.
Forecasters said up to 12-foot swells arrived on west-facing beaches Sunday, with some sets up to about 15 feet.
A high surf advisory was in effect through Monday. Some low-lying coastal areas, such as Seal Beach, could flood.
Sunday's high tides were forecast to crest about 5:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m., but the moon tides were moderate at about 4 feet.
Hundreds of people made their way to Huntington Beah as part of an annual pilgrimage to watch some of the world's best surfers rip up waves in Southern California's legendary pier beachbreak.
Lifeguards, meanwhile, urged surfers and swimmers to go into the ocean in view of lifeguards. Big surf digs divots in the beach floor, which causes undercurrents that can pull swimmers away from shore.
If caught in a "rip tide," lifeguards advise swimming parallel to shore until out of the current, then turning for the beach. Wave watchers should be wary of jetties and other promontories, because bigger-than-normal sets of waves can wash over previously dry areas without warning.
Sandbags have been made available for Seal Beach residents at the Seal Beach Lifeguard Headquarters, said Seal Beach police Sgt. Steve Bowles.
"It is unlikely that the intensity of the swell result in any significant damage, but there is reasonable chance that water may reach portions of the boardwalk during the strongest surf, which is projected Sunday during mid-morning hours,'' Bowles told City News Service.