Surfing at Muizenberg Beach by

Surfing the Surf - a Lesson at Muizenberg Beach

Last Sunday African Budget Safaris sent me surfing with the Surf Emporium in Muizenberg and as far as things to do in Cape Town go, this experience came out tops! Here is how the surfing lesson went...

Hitting Muizenberg Beach as a Beginner Surfer

Arriving at Muizenberg for my Diva Surf Lesson on Sunday morning, sunblock applied and bikini on, I immediately understand why the place is called Surfers’ Corner. Muizenberg is said to be the birthplace of surfing in South Africa and it feels like planet surf. 

The sunny parking lot is packed with cars carrying surfboards, surfboards getting ready for the water, surfboards being put back into their body bags and surfers in all shapes, tones and sizes standing around chatting (about surfing I suspect). Muizenberg really does attract a mixed crowd, the place was buzzing with plenty of kids and families, as well as teenagers, middle-agers and some older beach goers.

Muizenberg Beach in Cape Town

Arriving at Surf Emporium - the Realm of Surfing

Making my way into the Surf Emporium I'm met by a busy team of tanned blondes assigning instructors and sheparding surfers into and out of the water. My one on one private surfing lesson isn't on the books, even though I booked weeks in advance and followed up with confirmation emails - not a great start to the adventure! I am however quickly slotted in, relatively smoothly, being paired with one surf instructor and then another.

The shop is crowded with surfboards, wet suites and two kinds of people - happy wet-cold people and dry, excited people. Once I've paid my R330 the team directs me to a ridiculously tiny change room, where the floor gets even wetter, to put on my damp wet suite.

Let the Lesson Begin - Surfing on the Sand

Firstly, Craig, my surf instructor, picks out a board for me. It's a giant of a plank that looks big enough to be a life raft. Then Craig issues me with a neon surf vest to make keeping an eye on me in the water easier. Thankfully he carries the 10 foot 2 monster surfboard down to the beach for me where the lesson begins.

To start off my lively instructor runs through some safety measures, including how to respond to the shark alarm! He is lively and knows what he's talking about, stopping to check that I am following his instructions regularly. The land part of the lesson then gets a little embarrassing as we pretend paddle and stand on the beached board. Luckily this is the place to learn how to surf in Cape Town, so I'm not the only one being shown the ropes on the sand.

Apparently I am a goofy foot, which means I lead with my right foot rather than the more common left footed stance, when I stand up.

Fun and Games - Into the Water with the Giant Surf Board

Thankfully Muizenberg is the top spot for surfing beginners in Cape Town and the sand surfing demo is over soon. Then the real fun begins as we head into the cool waves to join the other folks in wet suites.

The water here in False Bay isn't as cold as I expected, being used to the colder water of beaches on the Atlantic Seaboard side. Craig helps to attach the leash to my ankle and shows me how to get over the breakers and turn the mother ship around in the water - away from my body. Pretty soon I'm clambering onto the board and paddling hard towards the beach to catch the little waves back to the shallow water. Luckily, I'm a fast learner and it appears that I quickly grasp the art of wiping out without grace, generally clasping my head to prevent injuries.

Standing up in the water feels so foreign for a water baby used to frolicking in the waves and not on them. Suddenly I realise that all those surfers I grew up with at Nahoon in East London couldn't have been completely lazy, because surfing is hard work!

Surfing Lesson

My surfing instructor, Craig (far right with a big smile), and some students.

Best Part of Surfing Lesson One

My favourite part is the point when the wave starts taking you through the water faster and it's time to get up. You've paddled away, chin up, and it's time to make the move from horizontal to near vertical, standing legs wide, feet flat and arms raised up. Standing on the huge board and riding the little waves is such an amazing feeling, I could have done it all day if my lesson wasn't an hour long and my feet didn't go numb.

I managed to stand a number of times, but couldn't quite crack the art of maneuvering the board off its set course. Craig was there in the water the whole time, watching me, helping me catch waves and even cheering me on when I managed to get up before wiping out spectacularly. After every wave he gave me pointers and encouraged me, which was fabulous. 

Challenges of Surfing at Muizenberg

Dodging other surfers was probably my least favourite part of surfing at Muizenberg as there were plenty of people in the water. The waves were apparently not even that busy, but it felt a bit crowded to me with boogie boarders, sea kayakers and stand up paddle boarders thrown into the mix too.

I only swallowed lots of water once, and narrowly missed the fin of the board after one of my tumbles! Not bad for a first time!

The Verdict on my Beginners Surfing Lesson

Leaving the water with a little trophy bruise on the elbow and numb stubs instead of feet, I felt completely satisfied with my surfing lesson and decidedly interested in repeating this really fun experience again. 

Back on dry land, Craig followed up with questions about his performance as an instructor and checked that I enjoyed the surfing lesson with him. The nice hot shower was most welcome after my lesson, before heading to the coffee shop next door.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself and can highly recommend beginners surfing lessons at Surf Emporium in Muizenberg. This has got to be one of the most fun things to do in Cape Town!

Surfing really is like nothing else :)

Muizenberg in Cape Town

Visit the Surf Emporium online or read the Diva Life Blog for women.

Check out some photos I took of Muizenberg Beach on Flickr.


If you liked this post, these trips cover similar ground…


Leave a Comment or Ask a Question

comments powered by Disqus

Similar & Related Blog Posts

Below you’ll find further reading and articles related or similar to this post.

Big Five Safaris near Cape Town - Budget Travel Options

Garden Route Game ReserveIn this post we explore some of the more affordable and realistic options for budget African Safaris close to Cape Town.  Read on

Africa’s 10 Best Surf Spots - Morocco to South Africa

Surfing Morocco by Pitchou10 of Africa’s Best Surfing Spots, from Anchor Point in Morocco to Supertubes in South Africa, as well as some hidden gems. Read on

3 of Cape Town’s Best Walking Tours

Company Gardens of Cape TownWalking is often the best way to get a real feel for a place, its past and the local people. Some of the best walking tours in Cape Town, explore the city streets in the footsteps of the colonialists and slaves, as well as experiencing townships on foot and delving underground to walk in the tunnels. Read on

Sea Kayaking in Cape Town - Adventure Time!

A fresh and completely crowd-free outdoor adventure - kayaking along the incredibly beautiful coast of Cape Town with family-run Kaskazi.  Read on

Gravitate to the Gravity Adventure Fest in August!

Hottentots-Holland and Kogelberg Get on your adventure pants and head to this year's Gravity Adventure Festival in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve about an hour's drive from Cape Town. This family-friendly outdoor adventure event is a great way to get active, challenge yourself, and let your hair down and have some fun in nature.  Read on

Stunning Cape Point Cycling Tour with Daytrippers

Cycling Day Tour in Cape Point Here's a totally invigorating and breathtakingly beautiful one day cycling adventure with Daytrippers. Get inspired and energised as you explore Cape Town's scenic Cape Peninsula, walking and cycling in Cape Point Nature Reserve, as well as visiting Boulders Beach. Read on

Going Scuba Diving in Cape Town

Cape Town TourismI recently took the plunge in Simon's Town to find out what scuba diving is like in Cape Town. Explore the scuba highlights and diverse dive sites of Cape Town and find out more about diving along this beautiful coastline. Read on

Top 5 Things to Do at Victoria Falls - Ultimate Safari Activities

Steve Jurvetson Boredom is not one of the things you are likely to experience at Victoria Falls, where choosing from the plethora of activities can be tough. Out of the numerous unforgettable options, here are 5 of the best things to do at Vic Falls! Read on

An Outlandish African Experience - Maralal’s International Camel Derby

The real camel manReady to try something completely new? Yup, we're talking camel derby in the arid middle of nowhere. You know you want to go to Maralal in northern Kenya to race a single-humped dromedary camel and explore the remote north... Read on

Tippi Degre - African Wildlife Child

Tippi Degré - a real wild child who grew up with African wildlife and the Himba people of Namibia! At first glance these amazing photographs of this little girl and animals appear unbelievable and even wreckless, but the story of Tippi's childhood shows otherwise. Read on

Kenyan Maasai Cricket Warriors Pitch Up in Traditional Gear

Maasai Warriors in MombasaEver seen a Maasai Warrior playing cricket in his colourful traditional clothes complete with accessories? Well, here's a whole team of them, the Kenyan Maasai Cricket Warriors, in action! Read on
Show us some FB Love
Follow @RealAfroSafaris