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California High Surf Advisory: Despite Warnings, Surfers & Spectators Flock To Experience Epic Waves

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By Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- High surf will continue to pound California beaches into the Labor Day weekend and beachgoers are being urged to be cautious and watch out for dangerous rip currents.

The National Weather Service says 6- to 8-foot waves, with occasional 10-foot sets, could pound the coast through Sunday night.

Lifeguards say high waves on Thursday probably caused a marijuana smuggling boat to break up on a rocky beach northwest of Malibu. The heavy surf also gouges holes in the shore bottom, which can cause dangerous rip currents.

A body-boarder who went missing along a Southern California beach on Wednesday may have been caught in a rip.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

All photos by Associated Press. Story continues below.

Authorities are warning about dangerously high waves pounding the California coast that have left a swimmer missing and likely caused a marijuana smuggling boat to crash onto a beach.

Lifeguards conducted dozens of rescues, officials said. High surf also caused some damage to the Ocean Beach and San Clemente piers.

A high surf advisory was in effect until 5 p.m. Friday with waves of up to 10-feet high pounding beaches from San Luis Obispo to San Diego, the National Weather Service said.

The powerful surf probably forced a smuggling boat to crash on a Southern California beach where more than 500 pounds of marijuana washed ashore, authorities said Thursday.

California State Parks rangers found the abandoned boat split in half on rocks near Point Mugu northwest of Malibu, said Lindsey Templeton, a superintendent for the park system said.

Waves reaching 6 to 9 feet and "probably a lot of misjudgment by the cartel operating the boat" led to the crash, Templeton said.

"Obviously they didn't check the surf or they risked it anyway," he said.

Authorities warned swimmers and surfers to be careful because of high waves and strong rip currents that hit Central and Southern California through the day.

The Coast Guard suspended its search for a missing body-boarder after a fruitless overnight hunt that covered 78 square miles of ocean. Jowayne Binford, 24, of Long Beach, was with three friends when he disappeared Wednesday evening about 200 yards off the Surfside area of Huntington Beach, Coast Guard spokesman Trent Kelly said.

Rip currents are strong channels of water flowing out to sea that quickly exhaust swimmers who struggle against them. Authorities recommend that swimmers caught swim parallel to the shoreline until they are out of the current.

"We could tell yesterday the waves were getting a lot bigger and the current was getting strong. The yellow (warning) flags were waving," said Rhonda Selmanson, who has lived in a seaside home at Sunset Beach for three years.

To the delight of surfers, occasional 20-foot waves slammed into the Wedge, a popular body-surfing spot at Newport Beach in Orange County.