The Pacific Ocean was so named for its seemingly peaceful character, but unusually high waves pounded the California coastline Thursday.


The waves rose up to five and one half meters in some places, but most were in the two-meter range.  A strong storm in the North Pacific Ocean that started out in the Gulf of Alaska generated the waves.  These high waves happen occasionally on the California coast and usually don't harm coastline structures. 


Some beachside communities built sand berms to help protect their property. But for the many California surfboard riders it is an exciting opportunity that only happens a couple of times each year.  Coastline authorities and experienced surfers emphasize that only highly skilled surfers should enter the water in these extreme conditions. The large swells are expected to fade soon.