Surfers and spectators who frequent the Wedge are finding out that new restrictions have been put in place to keep people away from the famed surfing spot, at least during the majority of the daylight hours, for the foreseeable future.
The City of Newport Beach announced that surfing will be prohibited at the Wedge between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. beginning Friday, and the adjacent beach area will also be closed to discourage public gatherings.
The recommendation to close the popular spot at the east end of the Balboa Peninsula was made by the Newport Beach Fire Department, which oversees beach lifeguards, after they observed growing numbers of surfers and spectators at the Wedge during this week’s strong swell, a news release from the city stated.
“Beginning Friday, blackball flags will be flown in the Wedge area, which extends from the West Harbor Jetty to Lifeguard Tower P.,” the news release stated.
Temporary fencing is also being installed to prevent spectators from gathering “in violation of the governor’s ‘stay at home’ order,” the message from the city stated.
The Wedge is routinely closed to surfers from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. between May 1 and October 31 each year, according to the news release.
Implementing the closures on April 10 essentially moves the seasonal “blackball” order up by about three weeks.
Overall beach use in Newport Beach has been down by as much as 95% since the city closed beach parking lots, the news release stated.
“Most beach goers are practicing responsible social distancing,” the city’s message read.