Surfers rejoice as weird weather brings humongous waves

first_imgMALIBU – When the sun rises at Topanga State Beach today, Darren Hao will be on the break for some of the best surf of the decade. “I’m crackin’ it, 5 a.m., 5:15,” said Hao, 37, of Malibu, waxing his board Tuesday as the sun prepared to drop over the horizon. “I’ll pile out when it’s dark to be the first on it. “There’ll be 20 guys in the water when the sun comes up – whatever. There’s gonna be waves.” Hot days. Humongous surf. And a huge incoming storm bearing snow for surrounding mountains. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREPettersson scores another winner, Canucks beat KingsThree weeks before Christmas, Southern California is undergoing a schizo weather week. It began with rain Friday, turning to hot Santa Anas on Sunday and near record heat Tuesday and is expected to chill a full 30 degrees when a cold Pacific storm rolls in late Thursday. And in the calm before the storm, surfers await some of the finest surf of the season – at heights of up to 15 feet. “Cowabunga, dude,” said Bill Patzert, an old-time surfer and climatologist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Ca ada Flintridge. “You need a monster storm for monster surf.” A red flag warning was posted throughout the region Monday as northeast winds made Lake Balboa choppy and drove the mercury up to 85 degrees in Chatsworth and Northridge. Humidity hovered at 10percent. Wind advisories were also issued for mountain areas, with high-surf and small-craft advisories offshore. But Angeles might be replacing sunblock with umbrellas soon as the frigid storm that hammered the Pacific Northwest stalks Southern California late Thursday. “It’s definitely weird weather,” said Stuart Seto, a weather specialist for the National Weather Service in Oxnard. “It’s a roller coaster, starting with offshore winds and then leading to wetter weather. “This might be one of the biggest storms for rainfall for the season.” While the NWS had not prepared a forecast, Patzert said the storm could drop between 2 inches and 5 inches of rain between Thursday and Sunday. Snow is expected as low as 5,500 feet. But while skiers might brace for powder, surfers across the region girded for some of the largest swells of the decade. Lifeguards prepared for some of the nastiest riptides in memory. “We’re fully staffed. We’ve got our personal watercraft ready to be deployed, sitting out on the berms. We’ve got all the Baywatches in operation,” said Los Angeles County fire Capt. Terry Harvey, who advised swimmers to check with lifeguards before wading into the water. The surf was forecast to peak this morning at between 7 and 10 feet at west-facing beaches such as Zuma, with breakers as high as 15 feet. Areas north of Point Conception could see breakers up to 28 feet. More important, the waves could be long and shallow – ideal for good surfing. Some say they haven’t seen such good surf since January 1998. “It’s an amazing swell,” said Nathan Cool, founder of, a surf-forecasting site based in Thousand Oaks. But at 15 feet, he said it may be “out of my comfort zone.” Not for surfers at Topanga. Like other hot surf spots, surfers knew of the rising swell expected to peak at between 1 and 3 a.m. today, then subside Thursday. By dawn, the towering waves could be lined wall to wall with surfers. “Everybody’s all excited about it,” said George Mays of West Hollywood, his board dripping as he walked from the surf. “The only thing that is damping my enthusiasm is the crowds. “(Instead of) an ordinary surf day (it) will turn into a logjam.” “I’ll be there at dawn,” added Buzz Alexander of Venice Beach, stepping into his Alfa Romero Spyder. “It’ll be scrumptious. “The conditions are beautiful. It’s clear and glassy. You couldn’t ask for more – it’s almost Christmas.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more