A Gift From Aotearoa

Aotearoa or, ‘land of the long white cloud’  is the Maori name for New Zealand.  Springtime in the Northern Hemisphere is Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere and when the first, early-winter storms make landfall and pound NZ with Antarctic winds, snow, hail, and other extreme weather.  When the weather abates and these storms pass offshore, they move into a vast stretch of nasty ocean commonly referred to as the Roaring 40’s.  Here, en-route to the West Coast of South America, these storms intensify further and produce relentless southerly winds that push mass quantities of water (large ocean swells) across great stretches and focus large, deep-water swells towards any and all south facing beaches north of the equator. Early this morning, I packed Jaime and Alex in the car at 5:30am and we headed to a place I’ve never visited – but always wanted to – when one of these strong south swells hits.  The Wedge on the far eastern edge of Newport Beach’s Balboa Peninsula is a completely man-made phenomena that is a result of a large jetty that was built in the early 20th century to protect the harbor.  Long story short…through refraction and it’s perfect angle for accepting these swells, the jetty intensifies the swell waves into an intense peak that can sometimes be twice as big as any neighboring surf.  After traveling roughly 6,000 miles, the energy finally expends itself and the water recedes back into the Pacific, to begin the cycle all over again. Below are too many photos from this morning’s family outing. Yes, that’s a surfboard and yes…I did get a good soaking for my efforts.  

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