. . . If Mr. Ott did indeed sail his small vessel too close to the west jetty at Newport Beach
, it would have been like flying a small airplane into a box canyon. Without enough sea room to approach the entrance between the east and west jetties, you're putting yourself in extreme jeopardy if you then have to try to work your way up and around the end of the jetty to enter Newport
The west jetty angles out beyond the surfline, and is the source of the notorious Wedge. As the swell reflects off of the west jetty, it combines with the swell that is going to make it to shore, thereby amplifying the resuling wave before it breaks. Supposedly by a factor of three, so a four-foot wave becomes a twelve-foot wave.
Bodysurfing the Wedge has been almost a rite of passage
in Orange County for a long time - it is not advised for the timid. Numerous people who should have known better have been condemned to wheel
chairs for the rest of their lives after getting planted head
first on the bottom at the Wedge.
If Mr. Ott was at the helm
when his boat went on the rocks there, he was in a desperate situation, to be sure. I imagine he probably was, but the speculation in the story that he may have already been separated from his boat it just as likely.
Below are some links to sites offering info on The Wedge:
Surfline | The Wedge Surf Camera, Surf Travel Info and PhotosBodysurfing at Newport Beach |
Outside OnlineThe Wedge Photo, The Wedge photos, Phillip Colla
Bodysurfing at Newport Beach | Outside Online