far," he said. "It's kind of scary, I guess, for people that are
homeowners right on the boardwalk."
City workers knew the big surf was coming, but when combined with
an extra high tide, the effect was greater, said city equipment
operator Jim Eifler.
"What we're doing now is I'm building berms because it's supposed
to be higher tide tonight and bigger surf," he said, adding that
water levels were expected to be high through Sunday.
Besides the berms, workers were making ditches along the shoreline
to channel the water away from beachfront homes.
It's not unusual for the city to put sand berms around the Balboa
Pier and parking lot, but Eifler was building them all the way up to
Island Avenue, where a long pool of water remained on the beach from
In his 16 years of working for the city, Eifler said, he's only
once seen the water get as high as it did Thursday, and building the
berms so far west is a first for him.
By midday on Friday, the spray from the crashing surf was visible
from the boardwalk, but the high water didn't faze Fran Barrett, who
lives on Oceanfront across from the pier parking lot.
She pointed out the salt residue left by water that flooded part
of the parking lot Thursday night. Eifler said the city had put up a
sandbag barrier, but someone had moved some of the bags and water ran
all the way into Balboa Boulevard.
Barrett said she liked hearing the waves, and she wasn't concerned
about the minor flooding.
"It's just expected when it's high tide," she said.
Despite the hype, some surfers were disappointed with the waves.
It might have been better on directly south-facing beaches, but it
was too windy near 34th Street, said Mark Delcrognale, who came from
North Tustin to surf Friday morning.
"Blown out, red tide, water's cold," was his summary of the
Kevan Kraushaar was equally unimpressed, and he hadn't even been
in the water yet. He and three friends drove all over Orange County
looking for good surfing, and they finally stopped, somewhat
grudgingly, in Newport.
"It's just not as good as we hoped," he said.
But the waves by the Balboa Pier were bigger and more daunting, at
least to Scott McManus, who was visiting from Las Vegas with some
friends. He said he planned to go sailing that day, but he didn't
intend to swim.
"We won't be going into that right there, for fear of not coming
back out in one piece," he said.
* ALICIA ROBINSON covers government and politics. She may be
reached at (714) 966-4626 or by e-mail at