Since I'm a local I though I share a little bit about some of the top spots around the country. So what do we have to offer in South Africa? , Well, tons really, it depends on what you are looking for.
Is it big wave surfing you are after?, do you want to learn to surf or do you want to mess around with your favorite longboard? or do you want to play about in one of the most well known surf spots, J-Bay. There is really something for everyone. There are so many beaches around this beautiful place it's just insane.
Of course, coming from Cape Town, I'm definitely biased, but then again I always have had itchy feet and have never been to California or Hawaii, which is next on my list for sure. So if you are in for a trip to African and you decide to head South one thing you should not forget is your surfboard. Don't say I didn't warn you.
You really have to be careful when you write about the "top" anything because if you leave anything out that anyone thinks should definitely be included then you are not the most popular peson. So, guys, this is a pretty difficult task if you think about it. There are hundreds of beaches from regions all over the countries that are kind of unique in each way. Basically, this is my version and that's that!
Muizenberg, Cape Town
Come summer, you really can't move in this vibey part of town. You have to get past the skateboarders in order to get yourself across the street and onto the beach. It's perfect for longboarders and there are a couple of well-known surf schools lined up.
Generally, you have to wear a wetsuit all year around in Cape Town. You will soon find that out. However, Muizies, as it is known is one of the warmer beaches in Cape Town and in summer if you are out for short periods you could get away with something lighter. A mug of hot chocolate afterwards always does the trick. When the wind blows here, it howls, but you are normally better off with a north-westerly, during the winter when the swell is a tad better.
Head off to warm waters all year round, strip the wetsuit and find some waves that you can write home about. You will find surf right in front of your eyes at a popular beach like Durban North Beach where you can get some nice barrels, but if you want to escape the crowds there is lots more to choose from. On the South Coast you will be able to find waves reaching 5 feet with some nice and tubes and other beaches further up with reef breaks.
There is no beach here, there are no beginners here, there are no longboards here. This is fierce stuff. Dungeons, just off Hout Bay in Cape Town is for big wave riders. It's a right-hand break, which is extremely powerful. If you are up for a big wave then this is one for you. You get towed out, just like most other big waves. It's got different sections and each section is named. You will find the Red Bull Big Wave Africa contest here once a year.
Kommetjie, Cape Town
Staying in Cape Town again and bracing the cold, we land up at Long Beach, Kommetjie, which offers some descent surf most of the time. It has a nice shore break, both left and right and I would say it is pretty consistent as well.
It's a big stretch of coast so if you find that Long Beach gets over crowded on the weekend, just move on. If you are looking for something bigger in the area, head over to the Crayfish factory. A warning, though, no beginners here! You can find waves 4-6 ft, but you can also find waves which climb up to the 10ft range, which are pretty common so make sure you have your big gun with you.
If you have not heard about the Supertubes in J bay (Jeffreys Bay) in South Africa then you probably are not that much into scouting out World events and waves that can blow your mind away. I have been to this iconic place and have just stood there amazed. The waves just keep on coming, consistently.
You hardly have to check the surf report because there is hardly an occasion where you will have an off day. Besides that, if you compare J Bay with any small surfing village in California for example you will really struggle to find a spot in the line up. In saying that, it is becoming more and more popular and respect for the locals is a definite requirement.
Probably, the only down side is that you will have to invest in a wetsuit that is a couple of millimeters thicker than what you are used to, but for waves like these it's definitely worth it. So I was planning to head off to the Billabong Pro which kicks off in July every year. Usually this place is totally mellow and pretty much laid back, but once a year when this event comes to town the beach and the town is packed.
Not surprising, since it's Africa's largest. However, I was pretty bummed to hear earlier in the year that the event was downgraded. Once again this all comes down to costs. After all, you can't do much without money can you? It is a possibility for other brands to come out and sponsor the event after Billabong decided to reduce the number of events it was sponsoring.
On the flip side, it does give a lot more South African surfers as well as surfers from abroad who want to enter and drop by to show their skills. There is no reason why J Bay can't still produce a good vibe like it has in the past just because it is without a couple of pro surfers.
Surfing in Jeffreys Bay
So forget the J bay Pro! If you are a surfer then just get here! Why? Well that’s obvious! The surf is incredible – barrel after barrel, they just keep coming. It’s cheap to stay in one of the backpackers and you can even hire out boards and gear at one or two of the backpackers around there.
People are friendly so there’s not much more you could ask for. I’ll get your appetite started with some of the beaches:
To a lot of surfers J bay is known as the Supertubes. This is the wave that is talked about by all South Africans and if you are from South Africa you have to get here at least once. Here, it’ s about getting your timing perfected so it may take a wave or two to get used to it. Being over eager with this and you are going to have a rough time.
Have respect for the locals. Obviously, they see a lot of traffic coming in and out, but you really have to earn their respect. For the best result the wave is great between 4-8ft, with a SW wind. You get more cross-winds in the Summer months so obviously Winter is a good time.
This is a shorter wave, where you will see more of the senior folk of J Bay surfing. It is usually around 4-5ft. It doesn’t cater for a lot of surfers and you will find it best surfing with a SW wind.
This wave will give you breaks from the right and the left. A light NW is ideal for this wave. It also breaks in the shallow water, which is where the name comes from. Beware that surfers here have become a little possessive and some have moved from the crowded spots so you may be told to move.
This was first discovered by longboarders in the 60’s. It will give you some good swell, but it is not as protected as the other beaches. It’s a good place to get some good surf when there is no surf anywhere else that suits you. This is usually where groms start off. You’ll find it best in the region of 3-8ft over here.