A Drone’s Eye View of the Best Newport Beach Surf – Ever

by Chris Dixon

On “Big Wednesday,” August 27, Hurricane Marie’s category five-driven waves hit Newport Beach, California with the sort of force you’d expect from a massive wintertime Aleutian swell along Oahu’s North Shore. Why though, was Newport in particular, so damned big – resembling a mutant cross between the Banzai Pipeline and a perfect Indonesian pointbreak?

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The reason for these incredible waves – captured to stunning effect by Newport lensman Justin Watt and his pet drone –  lies in the the shorter-period, more ‘close together’ nature of the swells kicked out by Marie’s category five winds, the extreme southerly direction of the swell and a curious offshore feature known as the Newport Canyon. As Solspot meteorologist Adam Wright explains, the canyon’s effect is usually not even felt by deeper, ‘long period’ swells that normally roll across the canyon, but when a swell borne of a nearby hurricane is in the water, the canyon magnifies the swells like light through a magnifying glass, and magic happens.

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