Surfing in the Garden Route
Writeup by local surfer, Callan Daniel.
Outer pool - ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- intermediate to advanced skill level.
The main wave at Mossel bay, aka "The outer" produces large, fast walls and works best on a clean south swell and a light westerly wind.
NOT recommended for beginners as it often entails a tough paddle against a rip that surges along the point. Can be a bit sharky.
Inner Pool - ⭐⭐⭐ - Novice to advanced skill level.
Inner Pool is a small inlet in the rocks to the right of the Outer Pool. The waves are slightly more mushy and slower than Outers, making it a better choice for surfers with less confidence looking for a decent, peeling point break. Often still works even when Outer Pool is flat.
Herolds Bay - ⭐⭐⭐
Herolds bay often has surfable waves when the sea is flat everywhere else. A classic shore break, but only surfable in a small 3 to 4 foot east to southeast swell. Needs light north/northwest bergwinds to produce the best conditions.
Vic Bay - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Intermediate to advanced skill level
A small bay probably about 200m wide. A classic setup on a small scale. The west side of the bay produces perfect point-break walls. You take off next to a rock which sticks out of the water. Best at 2 to 4 foot this spot can get out of control quickly in larger swell. One of the few spots that works on a northeast onshore wind. Can be tricky at low tide, with waves zipping along a volcanic rock shelf with interdispersed protruding rocks.
Buffalo Bay - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
All skill levels, GREAT FOR BEGINNERS
On the inside of Walker Point lies a series of overlapping reefs offering a consistent but generally slow-breaking right-hander that needs an easterly tinge to for the swell to run properly. Needs a west wind and 4 to 8 foot Southeast to east swell.
Murphys - ⭐⭐⭐⭐
A fun left and right peak can be found down the beach from the point at Buffalo Bay. A rip current tends to pull you towards the left, a churned up and reef-based sandbank. However, fun and hollow inside waves, as well as the occasional solid left on the outside, can make this spot worthwhile. Best in a low to pushing tide and light west winds.
The Knysna Heads - ⭐⭐
-Advanced skill level
There is actually a surf spot just inside the Knysna Heads. The locals ride it now and then. On a low tide when big swell runs outside the cliffs, the sandbars gladly accept fun and hollow three- to four-foot waves. The fun is tempered with the knowledge that you have to paddle across the channel to the other side, often when the tide is pushing through the heads. Incidentally, the Knysna Heads is one of only two places in the world that Lloyds shipping agents will not insure.
Plett and beyond:
Robberg - ⭐⭐
-All skill levels
The break along the northern shoreline of the Robberg headland faces into the calmer waters of Plettenberg Bay. Because the headland pushes into the sea in an easterly direction, its southern shores absorb the dominant southwest to south swell. It takes a huge southeast swell or medium to big east swell to inject some life into this spot. Inconsistent, but gets good occasionally.
The Wedge - ⭐⭐⭐
Intermediate to advanced skill level.
In sight of the Beacon Isle Hotel built on an outcrop of rocks in Plettenberg Bay, the Wedge breaks on sand off the next rocky outcrop north of the hotel. It gets insanely hollow and powerful for its size. Swells bounce off the rocks and head parallel to the beach where they merge with oncoming swells, creating the wedge. Not all the waves wedge up in this way. However, if they don't, it usually means a close-out because the wave breaks too close to shore. A short but zippy little barrel that provides lots of fun in the right conditions: low tide and a clean three- to four-foot swell.
Nature's Valley - ⭐⭐⭐
Intermediate to advanced skill level.
A small residential area in the Tsitsikamma National Coastal Park. Offers a classic sand-bottomed right and left peak sensitive to currents, wind and swell. Needs a smooth and well-spaced two- to five-foot southwest to south groundswell and no wind, or light northeast to northwest breezes. Gets super-hollow and crunchy. Dangerous undertows when the swell is big. Very sharky.
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