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Wavescape - Surfing in South Africa

Tue, 26 September 2017

With surf trips, if you looked at the ratio of hassle hours versus surf seconds, you'd see it is skewed in favour of the former. Here's the Spikified advertorial. Hey, they're paying okay?


FEELING FLAT: You can't travel if the surf AND the beer is flat. Photo Toa Heftiba

Some waves last a mere six seconds. Barring longer rides at points such as Supertubes at JBay, just as you get into the glide, the ride is over. That's part of the reason why surfing is like a drug, and so addictive. These brief spurts of ecstacy are capped after long periods of mushrooming, I mean missioning. But with some digital digging, you can find the perfect marriage between epic surf spot, cheap accommodation and crowds (or lack thereof). Here are five reasons to go tripping:

1 Core theme
As a singular act, surfing takes you to out-of-the-way places, just as an obssesive compulsion to tickle Komodo dragons under the droopy neck skin might make you yearn to visit Indonesia. However, unlike surfing, Komodo destinations are limited. Only the islands of Komodo, Rinca, Flores, Gili Motang and Padar offer you the chance to lose an arm from gangrenous infection. With surfing, it’s no longer Hawaii and California that are home to active surf cultures. South Africa and Australia have surf cultures too, and have for quite some time. In fact, there are 103 member nations of the International Surfing Association. The mind boggles. There are tens of 1000s of kms of coast to explore. The aggregation of online booking services from airline booking to car rental make it even easier. One UK website airport-parking.org.uk allows you to book and secure a space at more than 200 airport car parks!

2 Leave your comfort zone
For the uninitiated, surf trips challenge you to move away from the warm fuzziness of home. Quite literally. You're leaving home ... on a surfing holiday. You’ll be surrounded by people who will gaily encourage you to go for it, and make you forget about your nerves when paddling out into the water or surfing a big wave for the first time but they might also laugh manically when you wipe out or get pile-driven into compacted sand or spew saltwater out of your nose during the final of the limbo dancing at your hotel later that night. There's a first time for everything.

3 Make new friends
Nothing is more fun than spending time in the water with your friends or newly made surf buddies, engaging in group hugs and coyly splashing each other in the hot tub, glistening with excited eyes. You’ll find that learn-to-surf holidays attract like-minded people. Perhaps you'll consider Benidorm as a destination. Like-minded people from the inner city seem to like it there. You can share your interest in surfing and rubbing each other down with coconut oil, or entering that limbo dance contest, or even a bit of nude mud wrestling. Start your experience with an open mind but be prepared (after popping four of the little pink pills) to let it all hang out, sparking hysterical laughter and maybe even a bit of love.

4 It’s fun
Surfing is terribly difficult. So it's probably best if you don't try to learn, especially if the only heavy lifting you've done is picking up a pint. If you do want to learn, it’s best to take If you do want to learn, it’s best to take lessons first, otherwise you will drownlessons first, otherwise you will drown. You will definitely kick the bucket if you go surfing for the first time while a. High on LSD. b. Inebriated to the point of catatonia or c. All of the above. If you get past the first few big wave poundings and aggressive locals who take a violent dislike to your accent, then move on to the basics and get to know how to look after yourself in the water. Even though surfers only ride waves for an average of six seconds, it’s a breathless experience, or will be if you don't come back up after a wipeout, though the best you might hope for is because you're trying to outrun a heavyset Latino local covered unnaturally in a thick bristly layer of body hair, and he's chasing you for reasons other than anger. Quite the opposite actually.

5 Fitness booster
Instead of lounging like a lizard on a tropical beach guzzling pina colados and picking out little umbrellas from your cocktail, you can have a nice holiday and stay fit. If you're still alive after #4 above, it's time to build up your six pack, ie, transitioning to bottles from the beer on tap. From paddling to standing up on the board, surfing provides your body with an entire workout, stretching many muscles, and sometimes even the one between your ears. Surfing isn’t just a fabulous way to spend time outdoors in the big blue beyond, and to relieve stress from stealing other people's money in your day job; it’s a great way to improve your cardiovascular fitness and shoulder, back, leg and core strength. If you think you’ve got what it takes to surf, then go for it!

Just don't come to South Africa. We're fully stocked with that personality type.

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