Surfing Blackball, Spectating Off-Limits at the Wedge

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File photo: Surfers at the Wedge

The City of Newport Beach has announced that it will prohibit surfing at the Wedge on Balboa Peninsula between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. beginning Friday, April 10, and close the adjacent beach area to discourage public gatherings at one of Newport Beach’s most popular surf spots.

The Newport Beach Fire Department, which oversees beach lifeguards, made the recommendation Thursday after observing higher numbers of surfers at the Wedge, and spectators gathering to watch them, during this week’s strong swell.

Beginning Friday, blackball flags will be flown in the Wedge area, which extends from the West Harbor Jetty to Lifeguard Tower P.

File Photo: A crowd gathers at the Wedge. in August of 2014. Photo by Larry Sherwin ©

City crews are installing temporary fencing from the West Harbor Jetty to M Street to discourage spectators from gathering in violation of the Governor’s “stay at home” order.

The Wedge is closed to all surfboards and flotation devices from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 1 through October 31 each year. The City’s directive advances the seasonal blackball order by about three weeks.

Overall beach use in Newport Beach is down significantly, by as much as 95 percent or more, since the Governor’s order was issued and the City closed beach parking lots.

Most beach goers are practicing responsible social distancing. City lifeguards, park patrol and police officers have been monitoring the beaches to encourage social distancing and look for problem areas where social distancing is not being practiced.

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