Surfing

Surfing, photo courtesy Steve Crane

Surfing the City
Cape Town and the surrounding coastline is home to some world-class surf spots. Not simply a place to learn the sport of surfing, Cape Town offers something in her surrounding waters for every level of surfer. 

Something for everyone
Gentle rolling breaks line up in the warmer waters on the False Bay side, with venues like Muizenberg and the Strand offering waves ideal for all skill levels - long boarders and short boarders alike.   The gentle shore breaks here encourage the novice to wet their feet and for those with more experience the deeper waters offer a longer, more technical ride.  Although there are waves to be had all year round, plan to visit between March and October for the best of the best.   Here the water temperatures average between 14°C and 17°C and you can easily get by without a wetsuit here.

Big waves and wetsuits
The Atlantic coast, on the other extreme, is home to some seriously huge reef breaks generating massive waves when the swell is big.  These giant waves peak in the winter months when huge swell drives towards the Cape coast.  Dungeons, a reef break off the coastline near Hout Bay, plays host to an annual international big wave event where many of the world’s big wave maestro’s flock to ride one of Africa’s biggest waves.  The water on this coast is rather chilly, averaging between 10°C and 14°C, and wetsuits are a must have item year round.

Good days blow with the wind
Prevailing winds play a critical role in determining the quality of the Cape’s surf.  Cape Town is such a popular destination for surf enthusiasts because the one of her two coastline’s “unwanted wind” is the other’s “wind of choice”.  As a general rule of thumb the Atlantic coast breaks work when the wind blows from the South East and subsequently makes this side a preferred year-round option to the False Bay coast which tends to fire when the wind blows from the North West, mostly in winter. With the opposing coastlines very close together, there is seldom a day without at least one option for a decent wave.  Add to that, spots that break all those rules and you have a seriously versatile surfing destination. It is worth mentioning that a dreaded Westerly wind renders all surf muck, and those are the days best spent exploring the rest Cape Town has to offer.

Ask those in the know
There are numerous well-known and easily accessible surf spots scattered about the peninsula and a few lesser-known secret spots (look north of Melkbos on the West Coast for empty line ups and consistent swell).  Get yourself to a reputable surf shop for the insider scoop for all your gear requirements.  If you are travelling from Europe or the USA - boards are comparatively great value here, so rather than lugging your baby all the way around the world, rather pick up a brand new one here for a steal.

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