A Wedge Weekend

posted by / News, Photos / September 4, 2012

Labor Day weekend saw a solid Southern Hemi swell march straight towards Newport Beach’s famed big wave: the Wedge. In our tight-lipped office we heard rumors of Red Bull takeovers and Surfline live streams. Of Bruce Irons, Nathan Fletcher and Jamie O’Brien putting on a show for the Internet world to gasp over. But in the end there was no live stream and no Bruce and Nathan. There was, however, Jamie O’Brien and a band of thrill specialists. O’Brien later said, “It’s an amazing wave, I was blown away. That rebound off the jetty’s hard to read and you’re constantly trying to find the right place to take off, but that’s what’s so great about it. It makes you work for it.” The Pipe Master’s got a point.

Inside Newport Harbor. Just don't think about paddling out, it's illegal. Photo: Jimmicane/ Red Bull Content Pool

Inside Newport Harbor. Just don't think about paddling out, it's illegal. Photo: Jimmicane/ Red Bull Content Pool

Jamie O'Brien and caddy make their way past Balboa's beach rentals. Photo: Jimmicane/ Red Bull Content Pool

Jamie O'Brien and caddy make their way past Balboa's beach rentals. Photo: Jimmicane/ Red Bull Content Pool

Jamie O'Brien dialing in his equipment. Photo: Taras

Jamie O'Brien dialing in his equipment. Photo: Taras

Jamie O'Brien. Photo: Jimmicane/ Red Bull Content Pool

Jamie O'Brien. Photo: Jimmicane/ Red Bull Content Pool

Jamie O'Brien. Photo: Jimmicane/ Red Bull Content Pool

Jamie O'Brien. Photo: Jimmicane/ Red Bull Content Pool

"I got a few bombs, but I also took a few beatings," said Jamie O'Brien of his Wedge session. Photo: Jimmicane/ Red Bull Content Pool

"I got a few bombs, but I also took a few beatings," said Jamie O'Brien of his Wedge session. Photo: Jimmicane/ Red Bull Content Pool

Tyler Gunter, all of 12 years old. Photo: Taras

Tyler Gunter, all of 12 years old. Photo: Taras

Jamie O'Brien. Photo: Taras

Jamie O'Brien. Photo: Taras

Jamie O'Brien. Photo: Taras

Jamie O'Brien. Photo: Taras

A common sight at the Wedge. Photo: Taras

A common sight at the Wedge. Photo: Taras

Spectators in all their different colors. Photo: Taras

Spectators in all their different colors. Photo: Taras

That man is flying, if only for a brief moment. Photo: Taras

That man is flying, if only for a brief moment. Photo: Taras

Bobby Okvist. Photo: Taras

Bobby Okvist. Photo: Taras

Bill Bryan. Photo: Taras

Bill Bryan. Photo: Taras

Bill Bryan. Photo: Taras

Bill Bryan. Photo: Taras

Sunday, before the blackball. Photo: Taras

Sunday, before the blackball. Photo: Taras

Photo: Taras

Photo: Taras

Photo: Taras

Photo: Taras

Photo: Taras

Photo: Taras

Photo: Taras

Photo: Taras

Photo: Taras

Photo: Taras

The Wedge. Photo: Taras

The Wedge. Photo: Taras

Life savers. Photo: Taras

Life savers. Photo: Taras

Posted. Photo: Taras

Posted. Photo: Taras

Looking the other way. Photo: Corey Wilson

Looking the other way. Photo: Corey Wilson

Bobby Okvist on a bomb. Photo: Corey Wilson

Bobby Okvist on a bomb. Photo: Corey Wilson

Photo: Corey Wilson

Photo: Corey Wilson

Cylinders. Photo: Corey Wilson

Cylinders. Photo: Corey Wilson

Photo: Corey Wilson

Photo: Corey Wilson

Photo: Corey Wilson

Photo: Corey Wilson


 

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  • bufu

    That wave is such a gimmick.

  • Sliding Sense

    Wedge is a bodysurfing wave, so how about showing some people bodysurfing.

  • the dot dot com

    i think its one of the most exciting waves to watch in surfing. it may be a gimmick to actually surf it… but the audiences prove my point.

  • rick

    The Wedge. It’s a 50 meter close out. What more need be said?

  • yep

    Wedge is not a close out.

  • Paul Litchfielder

    I’m not sure why bufu thinks the wave is a gimmick? I’ve been there and it’s for real. But I don’t know why the Wedge gets so much attention from surfers? It’s more or less a shore break, with short and steep rides, and as Sliding Sense says,is best suited for body surfers. So board surfers stand back and let the body surfers have a piece!

  • Board Trailer

    The Wedge is not a gimmick. It is a phenom. It is also a beautiful stage for spectators to watch surfers, body surfers and spongers ply their trade.
    The Wedge can punish and it can bring bliss to those who know. Like hitting that perfect golf shot when your not a good golfer to begin with.
    To those who think its a close out – good, stay away.

  • darryl stillman

    try body surfing charlie young@ 15 ft face with only 2 locals out! back in da day!

  • jd jonston

    i’ll take Ricon or if you can deal with the crowds then Trestles. Mavericks is awesome, only thing is you gotta be part PENGUIN to deal with the water tempt.

  • BoardRecycler.com

    Well done with the pics.

  • ann

    thankd this

  • Randy

    Wedge is for Real Body Surfers, Spoon Rider’s, and Body Boarding, only. Some standup is cool to see if they can make the drop. Get a copy of THUMP and see.!!!

  • Tommyboy

    The phrase “Gimmick Wave,” in surf lingo (vs. its reference as used in popular culture) is jargon or a term of art. It does not mean the wave is stupid or lacking in merit, and no one who loves the wave should take offense by the use of the term. It refers to a wave that functions best under a tight set of circumstances or is otherwise suited to one particular purpose. The Wedge is, by definition, a gimmick wave, first and foremost because of the unique set of circumstances that allows it to form (best) in southy swells and because of both ocean floor topography (rising fast) with the extended jetty that focuses and rebounds energy back into the peak. It is also a gimmick wave, as everyone else here notes, because of its particular suitability to those watermen (like body / boogie boarders) who can better handle a steep drop and a quickly closing exit door.

  • perma-stoke

    Heaviest shorebreak in continental U.S. On big days, I have felt the ground shake before I could actually see the wave that caused it as I walked towards the shore. To call it a gimmick is one way to describe it, I would call it a cool accident by the Army Corps of Engineers and a great place to learn about constructive interference in wave dynamics. More people would probably try surfing the wedge if surfboards weren’t so expensive. The wave is really good at breaking boards.