Surfers enjoy great morning off Newport Beach, January 6, 2023

You’d almost think it was the height of summer given the crowd in the water near the Newport Beach Pier on Friday – except this winter water was numbingly cold.

Zipped up tight in their wetsuits, more than a hundred surfers bobbed in the water lining up to ride wave after wave. A winter westerly swell rolled in Thursday, but conditions were mucked up by a rain storm. Friday’s morning high tide combined with the swell under clear skies to make a great morning of surfing along that stretch of beach.

Further north, near the Huntington Beach Pier, not so much.

Nathan Barrett of Long Beach raises his surfboard as he gets hit by a large shorebreak wave at the Huntington Beach Pier on Friday morning, January 6, 2023 in Huntington Beach. Photo by Mark Rightmire

As the lone surfer on the beach, Nathan Barrett of Long Beach stood beneath the pier just after sunrise on Friday morning looking out at the large crashing waves as he held his surfboard under his arm waiting for the right moment to jump into the churning water that was crashing up and hitting the bottom of the pier.

Once in, he tried to paddle out to ride the waves, but within a few minutes was washed down the beach several hundred yards, unable to get past the shore break. The current was too much for him.

At one point, the waves breaking on shore were so big they washed over Barrett, carrying the water nearly a hundred yards up onto the beach.

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