With its staggeringly beautiful coastline that’s known for its huge waves and variety of point, reef and beach breaks, Cape Town is a surfer’s paradise. Guests at The Twelve Apostles Hotel are ideally placed to make the most of the city’s beaches and also have plenty of opportunities to try their hand at water sports, including surfing. Here, Cape Town surfer and blogger, Nicole Eddy shares her secrets, from where to catch the best waves to the coolest beachside restaurants.
How did you get into surfing?
“My dad and brother have always been water babies, and so our weekends were often spent at the beach. I desperately wanted to be part of the action in the water, so I started playing around in the shallows with a body board. When I was a little older, I wanted to be a part of my Dad and brother’s surf crew, so after my dad had finished his surf sessions, he would spend time pushing me on his surfboard. From there, it just spiralled into a love affair with the sport and spending time in the ocean.”
Tell us about your first experience surfing in Cape Town?
“To be honest, I actually can’t remember my first wave. The first memories that I have of surfing are at my local beach, Big Bay in Blouberg. It was quite a big day, especially for a ten-year old, and the line-up was busy. I remember sulking on the beach because I couldn’t paddle to the back-line and my brother came in and told me that I’d never get any better if I didn’t surf bigger waves.
This obviously triggered self-competitive Nicole, and I proceeded to angrily paddle out. Then, what seemed like a huge wave started to roll in on the horizon. I remember blindly flinging my board out from under me in a complete panic and swimming down under the wave, only to come up and be shouted at by another surfer because my board had almost hit him in the face. Needless to say, I came onto the beach looking like a drowned rat and had never been more thankful for sand under my feet.”
What are your favourite local beaches?
“I live on the beginning of the West Coast, so I spend most of my time surfing out between Big Bay and Melkbos. My favourite local spots are Horse-Trails and Tubes at Melkbos.”
What are you top tips for beginners who’d like to try surfing whilst in Cape Town?
“I would definitely encourage beginners to find a surf school to help them get on their feet, quite literally. They are also really great at helping beginners to learn the basic but important skills of paddling, lying on your board correctly, reading a wave as well as ‘surf etiquette’. Muizenberg is without a doubt the best place to learn and there are tons of really great surf schools dotted along the beachfront, with my favourites being Surfshack and Roxy.”
Describe your ideal day in Cape Town?
“My ideal day in Cape Town would start with a morning surf at one of my favourite spots with a couple of my friends, followed by a delicious breakfast and a day spent driving around the picturesque coastline of Cape Town. I’d end the day by watching the sunset over the water.”
What essentials do you always pack for a day at the beach?
“Sunblock, towel, water and snacks, surf gear, a good book and other activities to keep me busy between surf sessions (I’m not much good at relaxing on the beach!)”
Where are your favourite local places to refuel and relax?
“My absolute favourite place to refuel is Jarryd’s CBD (their avo smash is out of this world), as well as Damhuis in Melkbos. Although it’s small, Melkbos is Cape Town’s best-kept secret when it comes to great restaurants on the beach.”
What other activities would you recommend visitors try in Cape Town?
“I’m a big fan of jumping into a car and exploring the city myself. From the West Coast to Cape Point to the beautiful stretch of Atlantic from Camps Bay to Noordhoek, we really have it all. However, if you are without transport, the Cape Town City Sightseeing buses are fun and stop off at all the great spots around the city. A natural wonder of the world, we’re lucky to have Table Mountain on our doorstep. Spending the day or a morning hiking along the endless trails is a must!”
Where do you take friends that are visiting from out of town?
“My favourite things to do with friends who are from out of town is to take them to a few of local landmarks like the Waterfront, Chapman’s Peak, Lions Head for sunrise as well as a day out in Kalk Bay exploring the quirky shops and the harbour. They’re all considered ‘hotspots’ for a reason!
I also love Hout Bay Market for some live music or the Oranjezicht market on a Saturday morning. Getting stuck into the more adventurous side of things is also fun, such as teaching them how to surf, a heli flip over Cape Town for some beautiful photo opportunities and going kayaking on the Atlantic for a chance to get up close and personal with dolphins.”
From surfing to ziplining, The Twelve Apostles Hotel offers guests the chance to try plenty of adventurous outdoor activities whilst in Cape Town.
Image Credits: All images courtesy of Nicole Eddy/Ben Brown.