NEWPORT BEACH, California (AP) — Thundering surf spawned by a Pacific hurricane pounded the Southern California coast Wednesday, causing minor flooding in a low-lying beach town while drawing daredevil surfers and body-boarders into churning waves as crowds of spectators lined the shore.

Despite the danger, surfers, body-boarders and body-surfers flocked to favorite spots such as the notorious Wedge at Newport Beach, where the interaction of swells and a jetty produced huge waves, and cars were backed up for miles along the only road to the narrow peninsula.

Big crowds watched surfers in the morning, while bodysurfers took on the surf in the afternoon.

Among them was Joshua Magner, 35, who said being in the water in Wednesday's waves was life-altering.

"It's like being born," he said as he zipped his wetsuit. "You don't know what the outcome will be, but when you do make it through all that, pressure is alleviated, it's liberation, truly the feeling of liberation."

Lifeguards up and down the coast sought to keep anyone out of the water who did not have strong experience and were kept busy making rescues all day.

In Malibu, a surfer died a day earlier after being pulled from the water but it was not clear whether the death was related to the surf or a medical condition. There were 60 rescues Wednesday in the area.

Residents of about four blocks of homes along Seal Beach, south of Los Angeles, swept seawater from ground-floor rooms after flooding overnight, and bulldozers reinforced a sand berm hastily built to protect shoreline structures.

The berm — a measure normally not needed until winter storms — and the use of pumps prevented more water intrusion during the morning high tide, and another test was expected close to midnight.

The towering waves and rip currents were being produced by swells generated by Hurricane Marie in the Pacific Ocean about 800 miles (1,287 kilometers) west of the southern tip of Mexico's Baja California peninsula. While Hurricane-generated waves reached California's shores, the storm itself would remain far from the state.

Marie will likely weaken to tropical storm levels, but life-threatening water conditions were expected to continue through Thursday.

The powerful surge also tossed heavy rocks from a seawall onto a road, causing damage and closing the roadway.

On Santa Catalina Island south of Los Angeles, a heavy surge Tuesday night sent sand, water and heavy rocks into a boatyard, causing substantial damage and tossing some dry-docked boats off their stands, Avalon Harbor Master Brian Bray said.

Along the shoreline in Seal Beach, firefighters went door to door, dropping off more sandbags for residents and surveying damage after the initial surge late Tuesday that caused flooding in or around the first row of homes. About 100 residences were affected, Concialdi said.

"This is our worst summer storm, and I've been here 42 years," said resident Jerry Rootlieb, who was sweeping out his home.

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Associated Press writer Christopher Weber in Los Angeles contributed to this story.