Los Angeles -- Yes, we do have our big wave spots here in Los Angeles County, but none that can produce the 100 foot wave that we saw Garrett McNamara catch off of Portugal earlier this week.
All waves, with the exception of tsunamis, are generated by wind. The stronger the wind and the longer it blows over a greater area of the ocean, the bigger the waves will be.
We have storms in the Pacific that can produce massive waves, but you need well exposed coastal locations to receive the large rideable surf. Maverick's up near Half Moon Bay and Cortez Bank off of San Diego are two such spots here on California.
Because Los Angeles beaches are situated in a bay (the Santa Monica Bay), we are somewhat sheltered from exceptionally large surf. The Channel Islands block swell energy from some spots and the underwater topography is also not favorable for Portugal-sized waves. However, there are a couple of locations that can pick up very large surf during the winter if the swell direction is just right. "Hammerland" off of El Segundo is one such spot.
Northwest winter swell energy is also picked up nicely by the Redondo Beach Breakwater at King Harbor. Because it extends out into the Santa Monica Bay a bit, the Palos Verdes Peninsula has a few big wave spots that pull in that swell energy.
There is a crew of big wave chargers who paddle into the large surf like Tyler Hatzikian and Angelo Luhrsen. Check out their photos courtesy of BrozaPhoto.com.
And when they are charging the pumping surf, you can always count on SkyFox showing it to you from above!
KTTV FOX 11 1999 S. Bundy Dr. Los Angeles CA 90025