Top 5 beaches to learn to surf in South Africa

Posted on August 28, 2013 by Bevan Langley

Surfing Learning to surf is about more than just catching waves; it’s about the entire experience. Bevan Langley, long-time surf coach and with surfing experience from around the country, gives us his recommendation on the top 5 beaches to learn to surf in South Africa.

1. Muizenberg, Cape Town

Muizenberg Surfing Photo

The calm, gentle waves of Muizenberg

Muizenberg is possibly the most popular surfing beach in South Africa. It is situated within a very convenient corner of False Bay where the shallow gradient of the beach causes the waves to roll in very slowly and gently making it an ideal spot for beginners. There are loads of surf shops, surf schools and board rental guys in the area, so finding equipment and someone to surf with is no problem at all, and what better way to warm up after a surf in the cold Cape waters than by wrapping your fingers around a hot cup of coffee from the local beach cafés?

Pros:
- Easy, gentle waves
- Lots of surf schools and equipment hire places
- Great beach vibe
- Shark spotters

Cons:
- Frigid Cape waters
- Crowded on the weekends (and most weekdays when there are waves)

2. uShaka Beach, Durban

uSkaka Surfing photo

uShaka beach, the softer side of surfing in Durban

The warm waters of the east coast make learning to surf an absolute pleasure. Not only can you surf for longer without the real need for a wetsuit, but you don’t have to thaw out for half an hour before you can move your fingers again! Most of the KwaZulu-Natal coastline is quite rocky, and beaches that are sandy tend to have very steep slopes with big, powerful shore-breaks. uShaka Beach, on the other hand, is tucked away in a protected corner of Durban Bay where it enjoys a great deal of shelter from the prevailing wind and swell conditions making it a perfect spot for those of you trying to find your feet.

Pros:
- Warm water
- Clean, consistent surf all year round
- Great surf schools and coaches in the area
- Shark nets

Cons:
- Tends to get crowded on weekends
- Some old construction site rubble from uShaka Marine World is still on the beach (watch your step)
- Not always the cleanest water after an onshore wind

3. Coffee Bay, Transkei

Coffee Bay Surfing Photo

Coffee Bay, the perfect backdrop for learning to surf

Coffee Bay has got to be one of the most scenic places to learn to surf! The hills and cliffs that flank the bay are simply breath-taking, and the beach itself is idyllic in every sense of the word. The waves break over a sandy bottom, however there are a few rocky patches to keep a look out for, although your surf coach should be able to steer you clear of these sections. The water is not as warm as the KZN coast, but it is by no means the cold waters of the Cape. Getting to and from the beach usually involves a bit of a walk, but the scenery more than makes up for that, besides, it’s cool to walk around with a surfboard.

Pros:
- Incredible setting
- Vast, remote beach
- Friendly local people

Cons:
- Coffee Bay is quite out of the way
- A few rocky patches along the shoreline to watch out for
- The currents can get quite strong in rough seas

4. Main Beach, Jeffrey’s Bay

JBay Surfing Photo

Find your feet in surfing’s Mecca – Jeffrey’s Bay

Jeffrey’s Bay is the Mecca of surfing in South Africa. The town has its foundations entrenched in surf culture so if you’re planning on visiting JBay, I’d highly recommend you add leaning to surf to your list of things to do. Main Beach is situated on the western side of town and is a long sandy stretch of coast with gentle rolling waves, perfect for beginners. When you’re not in the water, take a walk up to Supertubes and get inspired by some of the locals in action on this world famous right-hand point break.

Pros:
- Massive surf culture in the town
- Long, open sandy beach
- Just down the road from the famous Supertubes

Cons:
- JBay can get very windy!
- Cool water

5. Robberg Beach, Plettenberg Bay

Plettenberg Surfing Photo

Robberg Peninsula, nature’s breakwater.

The Robberg Peninsula acts as a large breakwater, protecting Plettenberg Bay from the prevailing wind and swell conditions. This makes the waves more beginner-friendly the closer to the peninsular you go. The beaches along this stretch are long and sandy so there is lots of space for you to find your own little peak if you want to be away from the crowds. The waves can get quite big and powerful in an east swell, but for the most part, this little stretch of the coast is a beginner’s dream.

Pros:
- Beautiful views of the Robberg Peninsular from the water
- Wide, open stretch of beach
- Lots of peaks to surf on your own

Cons:
- The waves can get quite powerful
- Cold water

Visit Kwenda Travel to find great surf schools, accommodation and restaurants in these areas.

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