On Saturday, September 1st, Hawaiian pro surfer Jamie O'Brien made the trip from Oahu's North Shore to take part in "Red Bull Wedge Sessions", a unique surf session aimed to showcase the O'Brien's talents at one of the most legendary surf breaks in the U.S. Just days prior, the National Weather Service had issued a high surf advisory and coastal flood watch for Orange County beaches, so Jamie got the call and jumped on the next flight to the mainland. Formed by a South Pacific storm combined with energy from tropical storm Ileana off the Mexican coast, surf forecasters predicted 15-foot plus wave faces at Newport Beach’s infamous surf spot the “Wedge”. The forecasters premonitions didn't disappoint and O'Brien was able to catch multiple overhead sets. The “Wedge” is an abnormality of a wave that only takes shape a couple times a year. It’s an unpredictable and hard-breaking wave that forms in extremely shallow water, making it extremely treacherous for even the most highly skilled bodyboarders and surfers.
The Wedge is a famous surf spot where large surf breaks close to shore. Every summer, swells that begin life half a world away slam home in North America at the tip of this famous breakwater. As the waves approach shore, they bounce off the jetty's boulders and, in the final seconds before landfall, merge and morph into a backbreaking wave known as the Newport Wedge. Unlike Oahu's Banzai Pipeline, Northern California's Maverick's, or any other world-class big break, the Newport Wedge has the unusual distinction of being entirely man-made. Built in 1918 to protect the harbor, the jetty creates a wave effect unlike any other. Here's how it works: grinding alongside the boulders and headed for shore, each wave generates a reflected wave that bounces off the jetty and moves sideways behind the original. When that "side wave" hits the next incoming wave, the two combine to form a double-size mutant triangle. Precisely where the waves converge, the ocean floor rises abruptly. The big peak has no place to go but up.
Jamie O'Brien was born in Hawaii and currently lives in Haleiwa. His father was a life guard and credits both talking to the surfers on his dad’s beach and growing up near the famed Banzai Pipeline as the reasons he got interested in surfing. In 2008, O’Brien became the first surfer to win the Pipe Masters, Pipeline Pro and Backdoor Shootout in one year, including winning the Billabong Pro Tahiti with two 10-point rides. He’s also garnered the Breakthrough Performance Award and Performer of the Year Award at Surfer Magazine's Surfer Poll Awards.