Carl's South African trip

I usually take time out for an SA trip in December because I’m very kindly allowed to take extended leave during the Xmas week, so this year I took the whole of December….very nice if you can get it! The plan was to fly out on my own and stay with friends in Big Bay and have a week sailing and then for Jane to join me the following week when we’d do some sightseeing along the Garden Route and Winelands before a few weeks surfing & windsurfing back in Cape Town and then heading home at New Year. As with all the best laid plans and especially those to do with windsurfing they don’t always turn out how you expect!

My first day, the kit & I arrived safely and I headed up to Piet & Ronnels where we had a lovely Braii, then it was off up to Haagkat for a couple of hours in the late afternoon for a fun wave session, it certainly woke me up after a sleepless night on the plane! Next day I was up early for a trip down to Cape Point. I was there for 0730, waited for an hour or so before having a short session in short period but sizeable waves with lots of water movement before the wind dropped. It was clear the weather was changing. The recent run of SE was about to drop out and so it did, but not before getting a  late afternoon/early evening session in at Sunset and one short morning session with up to mast high waves on a just enough wind for a  5.0m and pretty challenging getting through the shore break!

We took a 6 day trip along the Garden Route staying in Knysna & the Winelands. This included a visit to a lovely spot called Natures Valley where we, again, met up with our friends Piet & Ronnel and their family. It turns out I didn’t miss any sailing during that time and after the trip I had high hopes of getting some sailing in. It turned out we were in a slack spot for wind but the good news was a nice SW swell was in and it was pushing solid up to 3ft waves (6ft faces) into Long Beach every day. I don’t get out surfing nearly enough at home and it was great to get six days on the run of great surfing conditions.

After that there were a several later afternoon/early evening sessions at Sunset but these weren’t the best as they coincided with high tide. There was a really nice evening session at Haagkat the day before Xmas eve (sorry no pictures) with 4.5m and up to logo high waves. My RRD Hardcore Wave 76 just excels in these conditions; it just feels effortless and perfectly balanced. Then we had 5 or so days windy with small waves sailing between Melkbos & Sunset, with a memorable if short session on New Year’s Eve with up to logo high clean waves

A few people who would have come for two weeks in the middle of December may not have sailed at all. My advice to anyone coming to Cape Town for a windsurfing trip, is to come for 3 weeks at least, but also to bring or hire an alternative such as and SUP or a surf board as I definitely guarantee you’ll get plenty of waves in if there’s no wind. The standard of surfing and SUPing in SA is incredibly high. You’ll see groms doing air 360s and silver haired guys in their 70’s picking up and gliding their longboards perfectly along 4ft glassy faces.  There are rental places & surf lessons at Muizenberg, which is a great spot for learning as the waves are soft and easy; and also at Big Bay which is probably more convenient for those that don’t want to take the 1 hour drive down to “the berg”. Lifestyle surf shop and The Corner Surf Shop in Muizenberg both have a great range of boards and equipment to choose from.

So all up, didn’t get a lot of sailing in, had a couple of choice days, did loads of surfing, had a great break away from the UK, caught up with friends and spent some time visiting a beautiful country….….lest we forget the words of the legendary Mark Angulo from the excellent Windsurfing Movie 2…… “It’s just nice still to be able to windsurf”

Many thanks to Jane for the great photos.