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50-year-old Monte Kevin Valantin of Lawndale was killed Friday while body surfing the Wedge. The popular spot for body surfers and body boarders is known for steep, and dangerous waves that break away from a rock jetty. Hundreds of spectators were on the beach watching when lifeguards say a large set came in slamming Valantin into the rocks. There were reports of 20 foot waves at the wedge on Friday.
The physics of the Wedge have earned it an international cult following. Incoming waves carom off the rock jetty that protects Newport Harbor and slam into following swells. The result is giant tubes that thunder to shore at speeds reaching 30 mph.
The inexperienced get tossed around like rag dolls trapped in a commercial washing machine. Even experts who get sucked into the Wedge's steep break can be flung into the air or slammed into the shallow, sandy bottom.
(This is not a shot of Valantin, but I do have some shots on the 24th, even a few of a guy with gray hair.. Not sure if its him or not because I can't find a photo of him.)
P.S. You should see the sequence, I'll try to edit the slideshow soon!
On another note.... I shot here thursday, friday, & saturday, but after all three days in HEAVY traffic my Clutch Master Cylinder went out right as I found a parking spot on Saturday. Lucky me, all I had to to was parallel it, good thing my power steering was still working. My car was stuck down there till monday & I was without it till tuesday. Really not that bad, but it just shows me I wouldn't be able to live without a car.
I'll be leaving Aug 11th for Wisconsin, Minnesota, & maybe Tulsa to work the State Fairs & to shoot some new stuff. Mostly just hustlin' for a new camera!!