Why On EARTH Would I Go Surfing During Cape Town's Chilly Months?

Why On EARTH Would I Go Surfing During Cape Town's Chilly Months?


Debunking The Assumption That Summer Is The Best Time For Surfing In Cape Town


As some of you may have heard about Riverlodge Backpackers' new special offer, the 2 Night Surf Getaway Special available until 15 June 2017, you may find yourself asking "why on earth would I want to go surfing in Cape Town during the chilly months?!"

I must admit that when I first got offered to try out the surfing experience for the special, I found myself asking the same question. Cape Town's chilly temperatures was not my only doubting factor but also my hesitance of surfing due to my fear of sharks, plus the fact that I've never surfed before.

However, if you ask Cape Town's surfers the same question, they will probably respond by telling you that surfing during Cape Town's chilly months is the BEST time to surf.

Let's take a look at why they'd say this.



First of all, you need to know that you'll be wearing a 4mm wetsuit during your surfing experience, which covers your entire body minus your hands and feet. For those of you who are not clued up, a wetsuit is an insulation suit for watersports which provides you with warmth and protection. It functions by trapping a thin layer of water between your skin and the suit, which warms up from your body's heat and prevents you from losing heat when you're in cold temperatures. The thicker the wetsuit, the warmer you will be. Also keep in mind that surfing is an active sport, therefore you will be generating a fair amount of body heat from all the paddling.

Why You Should Surf During Cape Town's Winter

Okay so we're off to a good start here but if your mind functions on skepticism, as mine does, you'll probably need more reasons than that.


Rain & wind conditions

So let's take a look at rainy conditions which can be frequent during Cape Town's chilly months. Generally speaking, when it rains, the wind blows from the north which results in offshore winds. If you're a newbie to surfing, you probably don't know what this means or how this north-blowing wind affects the surf. Don't worry, I only found out the meaning about a month ago.

To put it simply, offshore winds are ideal for surfing. If the wind is blowing onshore (from the ocean towards the land), the waves become mushy and difficult to surf. If the wind is blowing offshore (from the land towards the ocean), the wind helps the waves to delay in breaking and kind of 'holds up' the waves.

Surfing During Cape Town's Winter Surfing during Cape Town's chilly months

Onshore (left), offshore (right)


Ok great, so we now know that our wetsuits will insulate our bodies and the waves will be pretty good - but what about your exposed hands and feet that aren't covered by a wetsuit and might just fall off from frost bite (yes, this thought did actually cross my mind for a brief moment and yes, I can be a drama queen from time to time..)?


Ocean temperature

To answer that question, Cape Town doesn't actually get that cold. I'm just being a typical Capetonian who loves to complain about any temperature under 20°C. Additionally, you will find the ocean temperature to actually be warmer in cold weather compared to the ocean temperature in hot weather! Nature is awesome, eh? Except for sharks. And snakes. And spiders....



Luckily you won't find spiders or snakes living in the ocean but you may find the odd shark or two. Darnit. But wait! Here's another reason why surfing during Cape Town's chilly months is a bonus. Shark sightings are very rare. Most sightings are reported during the mid-summer months. Additionally, many of Cape Town's beaches have shark watchers and will sound a loud alarm if they see a shark approaching the coast. 

Surfing In Cape Town


After comforting myself with these facts, I feel that I am pretty keen to take up that offer of trying out a surfing experience for the 2 Night Surf Getaway Special. Perhaps I'll even write a blog about it.

The final thought to help me make that decision is that all of the surf coaches are trained in first aid and have years of experience in surfing Cape Town's oceans. I must say, my mind is at ease at the thought of surfing in Cape Town's chilly months.


If you decide to book our Surf Getaway Special, we'd love to hear about your experience in the comments below.


If you enjoyed this article and want to read more about the exciting things we get up to in Cape Town, follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page. If you'd love to have your own Cape Town experience, contact us at Riverlodge Backpackers to book your affordable accommodation (view our accommodation options).

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