Fifteen foot waves pound the Wedge in Newport Beach

Thousands of people packed Southern California beaches on Labor Day.

Many came to the Wedge in Newport Beach to watch swimmers catch 15 foot waves. Lifeguards estimated they would be saving nearly 250 people in Newport Beach on Monday alone.

"The likelihood of something bad happening today is high," said Lifeguard Battalion Chief Brent Jacobsen.

A swell from a storm near New Zealand hit Southern California shores Saturday.

The waves have been strong enough to knock people standing on the sand, says Jacobsen.

Rip currents have been powerful too.

"You can't even give up for a second or you'll sink," said swimmer Mel Thoman.

Just last Thursday, a man in his 20's swimming with his friends in Venice Beach died after getting caught in a rip current.

Lifeguards are now doing everything they can to make sure that doesn't happen again.

They closed off Sacred Cove in Palos Verdes, although people still risked it and went down to that area Monday

Lifeguards say it will still be another two days until beaches throughout the region will be generally safe again.

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