People walk along Santa Monica Beach. (File photo)

High surf will pound much of the southern and central California coast all week and beachgoers are warned of dangerous waves and rip currents.

The National Weather Service says a strong southerly swell from Hurricane Sergio could bring waves topping 11 feet (3.4 meters) to some areas from San Diego to San Luis Obispo.

Swimmers and surfers are urged to stay near lifeguards and never turn their backs on the ocean.

Minor coastal flooding is possible during high tides. Some beach communities have built sand berms to protect neighborhoods from rising waters.

A beach hazards statement — which is just below a more serious high surf warning — will stand until Friday.

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