Resort Guide: Cape Town, South Africa, South Africa

Cape point

 

Platboom Bay

 

Platboom can be found on the Cape of Good Hope National Park. An idyllic break with white sand, aquamarine sea, surrounded by shrubland. Platboon picks up the swell first, and when flat everywhere else it will be working here.

 

Beach faces: SW
Best wind direction: SE or NW
Worst wind direction: Any other.
Tide: Best on the out and at low tide as the waves form better on the sand bar.
What’s on the bottom?: Sand.
Any hazards: Sharks, rocks, baboons. Do not get out of your car with a crisp packet in your hand, the baboons will have you! 
Other water users: none.
Suitability/levels: Expert. Even on a 'small' swell, its big. 
Wipeout factor: It’s a heavy wave, so you may have to swim a lot and there is a nasty rip.

 

Scarborough Bay

 

Just down the road from Whitsands, Scarborough is a small bay with good parking that gets over crowded very easily. An excellent starboard jumping and one hit wave riding in a NW. Get here early to make the most of it.

 

Beach faces: W/SW
Best wind direction: SE with a big swell, NW gives cross-on starboard.
Worst wind direction:
 All others.
Tide: Low tide is the best bet.
What’s on the bottom?: Sand
Any hazards: A big, rocky, kelp point on the left. There are also plenty of rocks on the right. It is quite a small bay, and gets overcrowded very easily.
Other water users: Mainly windsurfers.
Suitability/levels: Intermediate to expert. It's fairly friendly in a NW.
Wipeout factor: NW is no real problem, a huge swell with a SE if a different story!

 

Whitsand Bay

 

Park at the top of the cliff and walk down to rig up. It’s a sandy bay where the waves and the winds always look smaller than they actually are. A crayfish factory

lies to the right pumping out fishy stuff for the sharkies.

 

Beach faces: SW
Best wind direction: In a SE it is cross-onshore with really good jumping. Most sailors go here in a NW were it can be cross-offshore to very offshore. 
Worst wind direction: All others.
Tide: Low tide is best, high tide is too sheltered from the cliff and the waves get messy.
What’s on the bottom?: Sand.
Any hazards: Heavy shorebreak and very dumpy all the time. A few rocks down wind and one rock in the middle of the bay. If it blows a proper South Easter, it can be too windy to sail.
Other water users: Mainly windsurfers, surfers if the wind is light.
Suitability/levels:
 Advanced to expert.
Wipeout factor: Pretty high if you get caught in a dumping wave but you should make it back to a sandy beach unless you wipe out too far to the left. Then it's rock time!

table bay

 

The Lake

On the way to Table View, the Lake, otherwise known as Milnerton Sailing Club, is perfect for all levels and excellent for a pre sea sail. Membership for a month is about £22.

Best wind direction: SE. The lake is usually the first port of call, once it fills in properly here then the wind will be more constant on the sea.
Worst wind direction: All directions are sailable but it is the South Easter that brings the best wind.
What’s on the bottom?: Sand and weed.
Any hazards: None really.
Other water users: Dinghies and powerboats when the wind is light.
Suitability/levels: All levels, from beginner to freestyle or speed freaks. 
Wipeout factor: No sharks, no killer waves just plenty of wind.

 

Sunset Beach

The wind fills in on the sea first at Sunset Beach. There are are three parking areas to choose from. Sunset offers perfect down-the-line wave riding, as long as you get some swell, and there are several peaks along the beach. It is always lighter on the inside and nuking on the outside. South Easterlies are cross offshore. Get here early to avoid the crowds.

Beach faces: West
Best wind direction: SE and the occasional NW (which is cross-on). 
Worst wind direction: All others. 
Tide: It is best when the tide is fully out because the wind will be less gusty. There is a small but vicious shorebreak at high tide.
What’s on the bottom?: Sand.
Any hazards: Apart from various aquatic life from the top of the food chain and powerful waves when the swell is big, nothing else! 
Other water users: The odd kitesurfer and surfers.
Suitability/levels: When the swell is small Sunset is a good introduction to waves for the aspiring intermediate. Experts can take full advantage of the excellent down-the-line wave riding conditions.
Wipeout factor: High, if you do not hold onto your kit on a big day. You will be in for a fairly long swim in. On small days it is reasonably safe.

 

Big Bay (Bloubergstrand)

A big car park and grassy rigging area accesses one of the best jumping spots. There is also a café and changing facilities. The wave is more peaky to the right and cleaner but smaller to the left. The swell here is always a touch bigger than Sunset Beach. However it does gets frustratingly crowded.

Beach faces: W/SW
Best wind direction: SE is the best and is cross- shore.
Worst wind direction: All others.
Tide: It is not a very big bay (yes, an odd name), so low tide will not have so much room.
What’s on the bottom?: Sand.
Any hazards: The bay is small and gets extremely crowded with out of control windsurfers, surfers, body boarders and even the odd lost kitesurfer. These are the main hazards! There are also rocks that jut out to the right which are best avoided.
Other water users: Surfers, swimmers and body boarders.
Suitability/levels: Advanced intermediate to expert, but with the crowds Big Bay can be quite intimidating.
Wipeout factor:
 Quite high due to the many almost crashes and horrendous number of drop ins, from many that are unaware of wave sailing rights of way!

 

Melkbosstrand

 

The South Easter will reach here later in the day. Melkboss is a massive stretch of beach hosting several different peaks along its length, so don’t just get caught sailing in front of the car park when there are less crowded waves to be had downwind. The water is colder here, and there is a long walk to the sea. It is also more exposed to swell than Sunset Beach.

 

Beach faces: W/SW
Best wind direction: SE
Worst wind direction: Any others. 
Tide: Any state of tide is good, but there is a bigger tidal range than the other beaches described. If the tide is in – the walk is shorter!
What’s on the bottom?: Sand and the odd bit of kelp.
Any hazards: It always feels quite “sharky” at Melkboss. This is partly because the evening light gives the sea a ghostly appearance. There is also random bits of monster sized kelp floating at the back. The water is much colder at Melkboss, so you will prefer to have a long armed suit.
Other water users: Mainly windsurfers.
Suitability/levels: Advanced intermediate to expert, although getting out through the breakers and the crowd can take plenty of skill.
Wipeout factor: Quite high, the small waves double up and combine with a strong longshore drift to make sailing out tricky. If you do have to swim, you will tend to drift down the beach a long way before catching up to your kit with your little, tasty feet flapping away just beneath the surface.