NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. — For those looking for an adrenaline rush, the Wedge in Newport Beach is the place to get a fix. But it’s no beginner’s spot. Even experienced bodyboarders who have taken to the waves for years know it’s a place to exercise caution. Spectrum News visited the Wedge to see, firsthand, what the name is all about. 

“At the peak, the wave is going to double up. So it’s going to be twice the size it would have been, had it not bounced off the rocks,” said Selina Thompson, a competitive bodyboarder who has been bodyboarding at the Wedge — her favorite spot — for almost 20 years.

The Wedge is a result of a jetty built in 1916 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers to protect Newport Harbor from storms and improve safety at its entrance. Bodysurfers named the spot the Hook in 1936 when the 1000 foot jetty was extended to 1900 feet — but in the 60s it received the nomer that’s stuck to this day.

Thompson said the name comes from the shape of the wave created by the water bouncing off the jetty. It creates perfect conditions for a south swell with offshore winds, she said, but can still be intimidating to experienced bodyboarders like herself.

“You have to know what you’re doing because it can be a little dangerous,” she said. “It’s very shallow and can be dangerous.”

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Watch the Spectrum News 1 special “Swell Beaches” at 9 p.m. on July 6 and 7 to find out what makes Southern California’s coast so special.