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Let’s go surfing!

August 26, 2011

Surfing is a very popular activity here.  Not quite my thing, but I know lots of people – mostly although not exclusively – from the younger generation, who get a great buzz from being out there on the waves.

Somerset West is only 10 minutes away from Strand Beach which is a popular spot all year round. The best waves can be found at the far end of the beach which locals refer to as “The Pipe”. Autumn and spring are good times of the year when solid ground swell pushes through regularly and days are often windless. Winter is usually consistent for good waves in the area and the predominant wind this time of year here is the North Westerly which is offshore.

About 20 minutes further along the coast is Kogel Bay or Cool Bay as most people call it. Kogel Bay must be one of the most scenic beaches in Africa. It is an excellent place for long walks and a favourite picnic spot with barbeque facilities available. To get there, take the coast road from Gordon’s Bay which winds its way around the mountains on route to a small coastal village called Rooi Els. The journey to this beach offers a wonderful view of the local mountain scenery and the ocean and is a popular place to watch the whales from during the South African whale season.

But be warned. If you want to surf at Kogel Bay you must be experienced as this stretch of beach has very strong currents that can easily land the in-experienced surfer in trouble. Many drownings have happened here over the years, mainly as a result of people taking no notice of the warning signs along the beach. It is dangerous here because the deep water suddenly becomes very shallow water: here the waves are powerful and you can be standing in waist deep water looking up at a 5-6 foot wave about to crash on your head.

It’s the powerful waves that make this stretch of beach a popular surfing spot for keen surfers from all over the Cape peninsula. The area picks up the most swell in the Cape and almost always has a rideable wave. The most popular area to surf is by the caves, which involves parking your car in the car park at the top and negotiating your way along the path through the bushes and down the cliff side. Also because this particular beach is protected from the Cape South Easterly wind it can get extremely crowded here during the summer season.

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