Witnesses up on the bluffs in San Clemente noticed a boat racing toward shore around noon on Monday.
Tyler Rooke captured the entire incident on his cell phone camera.
The video shows people jumping out and running onto the beach after the boat made a hard landing. There were seven or eight people aboard, authorities said.
"All the sudden, we see a boat coming close to shore and it just so happened there was a set of waves coming through too," Rooke recalled.
"We thought he was riding it and then he all the sudden just beached the boat and then waves just started annihilating the boat," he said. "Bodies were just running out left and right."
One of the men was injured and was unable to leave. A woman who at first ran from the boat returned and stood by the injured man.
Lifeguards first arrived, followed by Orange County sheriff's deputies, who began chasing the men who were running away.
Most of the men are believed to have been caught by officers. It's still unclear exactly how many people were caught.
The injured man was taken to a hospital, possibly with a broken leg. The woman was arrested.
Federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security told Rooke that narcotics were also found around the boat, but they didn't say what kind of drugs.
The incident is an example of an increasing trend of illegal immigrants coming to California by sea rather than across the land border.
Federal immigration agents say arrested along the California coastline are on pace to break records.
In the last year, U.S. Immigration agents picked up more than 550 people in connection with 150 smuggling incidents along the coastline, from San Diego to San Luis Obispo.