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24 Fun Facts You Didn't Know About Wedge Mel Thoman of The Wedge Newport Beach

3 min read

24 Fun Facts You Didn't Know About Wedge Mel Thoman of The Wedge Newport Beach

Wedge Mel Thoman has been charging The Wedge Newport Beach since 1975. He's a wealth of knowledge and stoke.

  1. 1975 when he was 17 years old Wedge Mel was fully addicted to The Wedge and he had to be there. "The Wedge has an addicting quality, it's a place of intensity, even when it's small it's intense. It's all about that power and that rush.  Even if you constantly go there you're still always challenged."
  2. He commuted over 100 miles to The Wedge while going to college, working night crew, and being in a band with Terry Wade.
  3. Mel's apparel of choice is Viper tees & hats.
  4. He started bodysurfing at Toes, then El Porto, Manhattan Beach Pier, and eventually made his way to The Wedge. "I never saw bodysurfers hardly ever where I grew up, I get down there and I was like oh god, they're really into it, this is cool."
  5. Before jumping in he watched from the beach for over an hour & half to learn from the guys that knew what they were doing. After watching them "I thought I was really good, but I was no where near what I thought I was."
  6. The crew gelled when Wedge Mel brought he's dad's movie camera down, and started documenting and filming the action.  We'd set up screens at the end of the day and watch the films. Unless he was personally filming there wasn't much action captured.
  7. If you can be anything as a bodysurfer, a dolphin would be his choice because they rip.
  8. He's never been to close to drowning, but he's been scared enough that he thought he would. "It's always on small days that people get hurt really bad." 
  9. He learned fairly early on (Fred Simpson was kind of the pioneer on this) with the Wedge crew if it was hallow and they were in the tube they never pulled out, you use your speed to keep going until you're rolling around in foam. 
  10. In Aug 2011 he cracked his butt/tailbone at The Wedge.
  11. Malarky's Irish Pub in Newport Beach is the local hangout spot for the Wedge crew.
  12. Mel and The Wedge Crew test piloted Viper Fins in the early 80's.
  13. When he first got to Wedge, he had stiff blade Churchills, but all the guys there had black and blue Duckfeet, which was the fin of choice. Our feet would get so torn up we'd call them craters.
  14. The biggest swell he's ever witnessed at The Wedge were waves 40-50feet on the face. The biggest he's personally been out there is 35-40foot.
  15. If he's had some waves under his belt, and there's good wave shape he's still cool with dropping on 20-25 foot faces. "I'm smarter now, but believe if there's good shape the size doesn't matter, physically now he's not capable of being out there on massive days like the younger guys. It's their time, it's not mine"
  16. His best moment at the Wedge was sitting outside on his "Mel raft" and caught this massive tube that kept going and he went all the way down to Cylinders. 
  17. His daughter was in junior lifeguards, but he doesn't let her go out at The Wedge for safety reasons.
  18. He met his wife at The Wedge, when her brothers started riding there.
  19. His advice for anyone charging the Wedge for the 1st time, wear fins (you won't be let out without them) Watch and observe, and make sure you have a fair amount of ocean and wave knowledge before you tackle it. 
  20. Overall scope of the mutant wave "On big days you drown, on small days you get hurt."
  21. He believes bodysurfing is grown and is more organized, than ever been.  "Handplanes give you a real feeling and concept that it's all about planing with your hands on the surface of the wave."
  22. He take on contests "I'm not a contest guy. I just love the purity of it, and expression sessions."
  23. His take on the bodysurfing community, It's cool there's bodysurfers everywhere now, if you got the stoke mentally you'll be young forever. "As long as my mind can say go, I'll see what my body can hold up."
  24. His main life quote is "life's about living, loving, learning, and having fun."

    Catch Mel In action HERE

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