Surfing Cape Town's Muizenberg beach in winter

2014-08-11 10:14 - Matthew Karsten
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Matthew Karsten, the adventure traveller behind the awesome
Expert Vagabond blog shares some of his surfing road trip across South Africa.

What’s it like surfing Cape Town’s Muizenberg Beach in the winter? Not as cold as I thought it would be! 

After two weeks of intense surfing in Cape Town, I’m already seeing a huge improvement in my technique.

The surfing at Muizenberg has been a lot of fun, with plenty of waves for everyone to practice on. In fact they never seem to stop!

This is the reason why Muizenberg Beach is considered by many to be one of the best places in the world for learning how to surf.

Surfing At Muizenberg

Matthew Karsten, Expert Vagabond)

My surf adventure began in Cape Town, where I spent 12 days surfing on and off with instructors. We learned how to paddle into waves, proper positioning to catch them, how to pop up onto the board, correct stance, the basics of turning, and how to stay safe.

The abundant practice time really helped me improve. We’d usually have a lesson in the morning followed by free surfing in the afternoon almost every day.

The ocean was a chilly 17°c, so wetsuits are required. But surfing Cape Town in the winter is not as uncomfortable as I thought it would be.

A decent 4/3 wetsuit will keep you warm enough during a 2 hour session.

Great White Sharks

The water around Cape Town, specifically False Bay, is notorious for its abundance of Great White Sharks. However it’s important to note that just because they’re around doesn’t mean surfing in the ocean here is deadly.

Do attacks happen? Yes. But compared to the number of people in the water every year, shark attacks are an extremely rare occurrence. I wasn’t worried about them. The fact is, your bathtub is more likely to kill you.

Muizenberg beach has a shark warning system in place, with spotters located at high lookout points. If a shark is seen nearby, the water is cleared until it swims away from the area.

Cage diving with great whites is a very popular activity around Cape Town. Some friends went cage diving in False Bay while we were there.

I’ve been cage diving not far away with Marine Dynamics in Gansbaai (two-hours outside of Cape Town Central). It’s a spectacular experience. (Visit Expert Vagabond to read about it).

READ MORE: Who says you can't surf into your 70s?


SEE: Flying high: 5 Best kitesurfing spots in the Cape

Cape Town Surfing

Planning a surfing trip to Cape Town? The area has an abundance of accessible surf spots for surfers of all levels. Here are a few popular local breaks for beginner & intermediate surfers.


Muizenberg is one of the best breaks for beginner surfers in the world. It’s located on the Indian Ocean side of Cape Town, so the water is a bit warmer than other spots in the area. However it’s still cold. A 4/3 wetsuit is recommended. It often has long, gentle, and frequent waves. A beach break with a sandy bottom. This makes it an ideal place to learn the basics of surfing. Waves can break all over the place though, both left and right.

Long Beach

While we never made it over to Long Beach, it’s known to be a nice intermediate wave with slightly more power than those at Muizenberg. You can find it near Kommetjie, a suburb of Cape Town. The wave is a bit more sheltered, also with a sandy bottom, and very popular with surfers. It can break both right and left, more frequently left though. 

TRAVEL PLANNING: #ThePreferredLife: Stay in luxury while spying on surfers at Kommetjie in Cape Town

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