Why? Long right points, big game.
What you need: To be a bit street-wise — it’s not Disneyland.
Boards: Your regulars, unless you’re surfing Dungeons. Boards are cheap over there.
Also: Animals, rugby, Aids.
Get there: Durban or Cape Town this summer for around €950 — although cheaper than that if booked further in advance — usually with one or two stops.
South Africa is undoubtedly one of the great surfing nations in the world, a vast country with plenty to offer in all departments of shred; culture, geography, wildlife, excitement and scariness. It’s kind of like a much cheaper, much more lawless version of Australia. Like Australia though, visiting South Africa will require many hours spent on the road, so good transportation is key. Unlike Oz, we strongly advise against sleeping in a van due to the crime rate. But don’t be scared off, if you’re sensible, you can surf great waves, have a wonderful time, and not get murdered.
The Cape/Garden Route to J-Bay:
Warm wetsuit territory, with heaps of uncrowded breaks, beautiful scenery and a European-ish feel to it. It’s also the big wave realm, with Dungeons and a couple of other scary lineups. Cold water and rough weather during the winter swell season is unlikely to top up your tan much, but will muscle up your manhood on the different pointbreaks and reefs. The jewel in the crown being of course J-Bay, well worth the trip on its own.
Locals of course rule the place, but you don’t need to takeoff at Boneyards to have a go at the long green walls.
Natal: Durban/South Coast:
The warmer part of the country also offers multiple choices, from the remote Transkei to the urban metropolis of Durban. Here you can trunk it most of the year and surf world class waves in the form of reefs, points and beachies. In Durban you can also party your pants off.
Surfboards & sharks. The answer is pretty straightforward for the boards: buy them there, they’re cheap and the shapers are good. Both a nice pintail for J-Bay and a classic high performance shortboard for Durban will cost the same as one board in Europe. Regarding the Men in Grey Suits… our advice is simple: ask the locals on the beach, not at the pub. As Cape Town big wave legend Pierre De Villiers said, “I don’t think about dying in a car crash every time I turn my car key to start the engine… same applies when I paddle out.” Hmmm.
Tickle your fancy? More South Africa travel info here.