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7 Awesome Surfing Spots in Cape Town

Here you can read about seven incredible surfing spots in Cape Town. We've asked local surfers to write about why this is their spot and what to look out for. Enjoy the read! 

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If you are new to these collaborative posts, here is what you need to know. We have reached out to the surfing community to contribute a paragraph or two about their favourite surf spots in Cape Town so you can learn a little more about these beaches and what to look for from the people who frequent them! 

You can check out our other community-sourced sport climbing article and our music festival article and learn from the community.

Before we get into this article, I’d like to thank everyone who has put in the time and effort into contributing a piece about their favourite surf spots in Cape Town! Huge shout out to Jonathan Looman, Matt Bromley, Grant Stringer, Kayleigh Wallace, Romy Isabel, and Sakhubuntu Sibanda for making this post come to life. You’ll find all their social links in the article so you can check out their latest waves!

Llandudno 

Experience level: Intermediate – Experienced

Location: Llandudno Beach

Best swell direction: South / South East

Best wind direction: North

— Photo by Jonathan Looman 

Llandudno is located North of Hout Bay, on the West of the Cape Peninsula. It’s a step up in terms of difficulty with a step take-off and powerful wave. This wave can become very crowded, especially on weekends.

Llandudno is renowned for its three prominent peaks, each offering a distinct surfing experience. Looking out to sea, the right-hand peak near the rocks is affectionately known as The Gat, or “The Hole.” When the stars align, or rather the swell direction and banks, The Gat turns into a surfer’s dream. The intense, wedging takeoff mutates into a thick, round barrel that promises a heart-pounding ride. Naturally, this is where the locals congregate when conditions are just right.

The central peak also has its days in the sun and can deliver impressive rides. It’s like the underappreciated middle child of the Llandudno surf family that still has plenty of thrills to offer.

Finally, there’s a left on the far side that occasionally graces surfers with its presence. It’s like the mysterious stranger at the party, giving relatively short but memorable rides. Some say it’s just a myth, but the adventurous who have experienced it know better.

— Jonathan Looman

Long Beach 

Experience level: Intermediate – experienced

Location: Long Beach

Best swell direction: South / South East

Best wind direction: North

— Photo by Jonathan Looman 

Long Beach is situated in Kommetjie on the cold Atlantic coast. It is a sheltered beach break offering left and right-breaking waves for intermediate to advanced surfers depending on the wave size. This also makes it ideal for both Goofy and Natural footed surfers.

The waves are at their best over the summer months when the SW winds are more prominent which will give you a light offshore breeze. The waves will be more consistent and line up better with a SW swell direction. 

The water temperature ranges between 16 degrees in the winter and 9 degrees in Summer.  

— Grant Stringer

Long Beach, situated in the coastal village of Kommetjie on the southwest corner of the Cape Town Peninsula, is renowned as one of the most consistent surfing spots in the region. Its reliability also makes it one of the most crowded locations.

This popular spot features three distinctive sections known as Crans, Pebbles, and Main Peak. Crans offers a short barreling wave, while Pebbles and Main Peak present challenging A-frame waves that attract surfers of various skill levels.

Now, the real challenge at Long Beach isn’t just the waves, it’s navigating the fiercely competitive surf scene, especially among the local youth. Imagine the Olympics but with a crowd of aspiring pro-surfers under the age of 15. These mini-champions, armed with surfboards make catching a wave a comedic dance of dodging, weaving, and a good deal of patience.

— Jonathan Looman 

Noordhoek Beach (Stables)

Experience level: Beginner, intermediate and experienced (swell and weather dependent)

Location: Noordhoek Long Beach Pavilion

Best swell direction: Southwest

Best wind direction: Southeast

— Photo by Sakhubuntu Sibanda

My favourite surfing spot in Cape Town is easily Stables (Noordhoek Beach). My surf journey, unlike most surfers in Cape Town, didn’t start in the playful long feathering lines of Muizenberg Beach. Mine began in the cold, often closing out, punchy waves of Stables.

The water is often crystal clear blue, like some tropical island but don’t be fooled,  it may probably be the coldest water you’ll ever be in. Honestly, between me and you, for most waves you’ll get at Stables you’ll need to race to get on the face and maybe get a turn or two if you’re lucky!

It was pure fate that I moved a stone’s throw away from Noordhoek Beach and “lucked” into an XXL wetsuit and 7’2 surfboard. After religiously getting smashed in the shore break I started progressing. I remember last summer (2022) my mate, Chim, and I scored Stables for a week straight in all her glorious ever-changing moods.

A typical day for me that summer was two solo sessions in the morning and early afternoon, falling into a deep sleep and getting woken up mid-snore by a frothing Chim after he got home from school and he would be like “Are we psyching or what?” to which I almost always replied with a laugh and “we’re out there”.

We’d surf for about an hour, head to the sauna and talk about life and stuff till sunset.

Stables have many moods… there are the small and fun days, the fun size and perfect days, the big and scary but fun days and the days that you just shouldn’t be out there – we were of course “out there”.

I wouldn’t recommend learning to surf at Stables, I’ve had a couple of close encounters but I like to think they’ve made me stronger and progress faster as a surfer. Hands down my favourite break, it’s where it all started for me.

 Sakhubuntu Sibanda, check out his YouTube channel and show some support! 

Sunset Reef

Experience level: Professionals and adrenaline junkies only

Location: Kommetjie

Best swell direction: South West / South

Best wind direction: South East

Sunset Reef which breaks 600m out to sea of Kommetjie is my favourite wave in South Africa. The finger of reef that stretched out into the deep shapes the wave into a perfect “A-frame” peak, offering barrels and incredible rides. It reaches 40 feet in the big storms and is one of the best waves in the world. I grew up in front of it and watched it since I was 12 years old. I finally surfed it at 15 and am on it every time it breaks!

Matt Bromley, professional surfer

These waves in particular are not for the faint of heart. They occur just off the coast of Kommetjie and it is necessary to take a boat out to reach them. The waves here are massive averaging 5 metres or more on an average day.

Big Bay

Experience level: Beginner, intermediate and experienced (swell and weather dependent)

Location: Big Bay Beach

Best swell direction: West

Best wind direction: South / South East

— Photo by Jonathan Looman 

Big Bay is located up the coast from Cape Town and can be easily found through Google. It is another beginner-friendly place which you can rent boards from although there are fewer board hire options and they are more expensive than Muizenberg probably due to the decreased competition.

— Jonathan Looman 

Derdesteen / Horse Trails

Experience Level: Intermediate

Location: Derdesteen

Best swell direction: West

Best wind direction: Light east

— Photo by Jonathan Looman 

After mastering the waves at Big Bay and Muizenberg, the adventurous surfer might find themselves drawn further north to a series of waves, tucked within the Blouberg Nature Reserve. These waves spanning several beaches usually promise a less crowded experience, save for the occasional busy summer Saturday morning, providing an optimal environment to refine your skills.

The success of a session at Derdesteen often comes down to the wind – the lighter, the better. This place offers generally A-frame beach breaks, accommodating surfers who prefer short boards and making it a bit easier to tackle. If you’re looking to graduate from the beginner spots and challenge yourself with something more, Horse Trails might just be the next destination on your surfing journey.

— Jonathan Looman 

Muizenberg (everybody’s favourite beginner beach)

Experience level: Beginner 

Location: Muizenberg Beach

Best swell direction: South / South East

Best wind direction: North

— Photo by Laurence Garrett

Situated on the False Bay coast of Cape Town Muizenberg finds the perfect balance of waves from beginner to intermediate surfers surrounded by Surf Shops, Surf Schools, and Restaurants. 

Muizenberg is the ideal place to learn to surf as it is a mellow sandy beach break.  You will find waves at Muizenberg throughout the year with more significant and more consistent swell over the winter months June through to October.  The best waves are when the swell pushes in a SE direction, with a NW wind. 

The water temperature ranges between 11 degrees in the winter and 19 degrees in Summer.  

—  Grant Stringer, Director at Reef South Africa

If you’re new to the sport and looking for a place to start, come to Muizenberg. It’s an ideal spot to learn because not only is its wave gentle and forgiving but so are the people, making the space welcoming to newbies. Surfers can get a bad rep for being unwelcoming in the water, but it’s actually all about surf etiquette (more on that in a bit!). Once you’re feeling confident in the white water, come join the backline! Surfers Corner is a beach break and a beautiful longboarding wave. On a good day, you’ll have long-running lines, and with lefts and rights alike, so you can have fun with your front or backhand.

To have the most fun, check the report for ideal conditions (for Surfers Corner it is an NW wind, with a southerly swell, and waves between 2-4 ft). I use Windguru and Windy, as I find them the most reliable and easy to use. Lifestyle Surf Shop puts daily surf reports on their Instagram. And if you’re wanting to join a community of gals that go out together, look up Backline Babes website to join the WhatsApp group (I am in St. Francis and found a fellow Backline Babe to surf the new breaks with me!). 

Back to etiquette: please ask someone about or look up surf etiquette! Not only out of respect for locals but also out of safety. Unlike most other sports there is an element of scarcity to surfing. Good waves are weather-dependent, and space is limited. The basics are: don’t drop in (observe the right of way), avoid paddling into the path of other surfers, and if you make a mistake just apologise 🙂

On the topic of limited space, the Berg can get pretty crowded. If you’re wanting a break from the party waves grab your board and drive up Baden Powell Drive for a few minutes until you see a break with a little parking spot – that’s cemeteries. A gorgeous spot to cruise on a log; albeit a little sharky. Witsands in Scarborough is, on the right day, another longboarding gem in Cape Town.

Kayleigh Wallace

My favourite surf spot in Cape Town is Muizenberg. Not only because these are the only waves I surfed in Cape Town but also because I started my surfing journey here. Little did I know, that I would become a total surf addict and share the stoke with my friends because that is what surfing in Muizenberg is to me. It’s all about having fun with the people in the water, cheering each other on and sharing lovely and, most of the time, kind waves.

After surfing other spots like Jeffrey’s Bay, Victoria Bay and Durban, Muizenberg always feels like coming home. The waves here are friendly compared to other spots but never underestimate the power of the ocean. Muizenberg can be tough on some days and the paddle out will be rough but then, maybe even mostly then, it is so rewarding to make it out and catch a beautiful wave.

Muizenberg is a great spot because it has a perfect mix of surf shops and restaurants. At the shops, you can rent or buy surf equipment. In summer it is the perfect beach to go for a surf and chill at the beach. My favourite coffee place is the little food truck on the circle, they also sell pancakes which are the perfect post-surf snack. When you cross the train track you will find York Road, a lovely lunch spot called Harvest is found here.

Muizenberg is magical with stunning waves. Especially when the sun sets behind the mountain and the sky turns pink. Surfing this time feels like an infinite love affair between the ocean, sky and mountains where the stoke is shared between surfers of all levels.

Romy Isabel

Muizenberg is a fun beach break located to the south of Cape Town. It’s a good spot for beginners and has plenty of board rental places to hire from, I would recommend Surf Emporium for its extensive range of boards on offer! 

The wave has many peaks so even when it’s crowded you can still get waves. The shape of the wave is often quite flat so it is great for longboarding and surfing a board with more volume like a mid-length or a fish on bigger days.

Jonathan Looman

Ready to surf! 

I hope by now you have enough information on these different surfing spots to make an educated decision on where you’d like to surf and what conditions to look out for! 

Community-Sourced

This article was put together with research by Justin Peach and the contributions of the Cape Town community, and forms part of the Local Knowledge Project.

Big thanks to everyone involved!

What is this project?

Community-sourced articles, guest posts by local experts, interviews & other accessible resources on Cape Town!

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