Africa Surfing, Surf Trip Africa Images
In 1966 The Endless Summer gave the surfing world a face full of Africa’s southern hemisphere surf potential. Mike Hynson and Robert August traveled around the world looking for the perfect wave and found it at Cape Saint Francis, where powerful, long-lined open ocean swell from the Southern Ocean wrapped for hundreds of yards around a sand and rock point – perfected by offshore winds blowing off the winter-cooled desert and into the Indian Ocean.
The Endless Summer caused a sensation that sent a flood of surfers across the equator and down to that end of the earth, looking for their own Cape Saint Francis – a perfect wave they could ride for miles.
After 40 years, South Africa still has its secrets. With over 1700 miles of Indian and Atlantic Ocean coastline, South Africa's surf potential may never be fully tapped. From the tropical beach breaks and headland points of the Natal Coast in the north ,to the world-famous barrels of Jeffreys Bay and Cape St. Francis on the Eastern Cape to the lonely curls along the Garden Route to the south. African surfari offers a greater variety of waves than other entire continents.
The South African coastline is 1700+ miles of sub-tropical cliffs, coves, beaches, rivermouths and points with occasional pockets of civilization. The coast begins at 28° S on the border of Namibia on the west coast, goes down to 34° S at the wild and wicked Cape Agulhas and then up to 26° S at the Mozambique border on the east coast.
South Africa is surrounded on three sides by ocean. The west coast faces into the Atlantic Ocean, and is swept by the cold Agulhas Current which circulates up from the Antarctic. The East Coast of South Africa faces into the Indian Ocean and is kept warm and toasty by the Benguela current which runs down along the coast from 27° S to 40° S.
Two very different currents in two very different oceans creates many distinct coastal areas. Given prevailing surf and weather patters WaterWays focuses on the region from J-Bay on the Southeast tip up the East cost into Mozambique. The common thread running through this entire region is all of it is buffeted by swell from distant storms deep in the Southern Oceans.
The Eastern Cape is everything from Jeffrey’s Bay to East London. The world’s greatest right point is the featured attraction, but there is a beautiful variety of points, reefs and beachbreaks along this 150 miles of coast, which is all in the Indian Ocean as the South African coast begins to run to the northeast
The Durban South Coast is the area from Port Edward up to Durban. This is all in the KwaZulu/Natal province, a stretch of coast kind of like the north coast of New South Wales, lush and green and dotted with very small towns, which all have their surf scenes and their secret spots. Beautiful.
Durban is South Africa’s surf city, home to Cave Rock, Pottz, a lot of classic beachbreaks, Jordy Smith, Wave House South Africa and Shaun Tomson. Durban divides into two areas. The north is home to the Golden Mile beaches, including the Bay of Plenty, North Beach and New Pier. The south coast is home to Cave Rock, which Michael Tomson described as “a playground for masochists.” In general, Durban is a playground for everyone.
The Durban North Coast is everything from Durban to the border of Mozambique. This area gives “rhino chaser” a new meaning as some of Africa’s most famous game reserves are inland from the coast and visited on guided tours.
Mozambique was a Portuguese colony, so the flavor of life changes the instant you cross the border from the British/Dutch influenced South Africa. The farther north you go, the more tropical the coastline becomes, with parrots in the palm trees, white sandy beaches and small fishing villages. This is the paradise you have always dreamed about, but never dreamed you would find in Africa.