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Fourth trip for me to Cape Town, South Africa, in search of wind and waves. The Western Cape always offers great emotions, and much more besides windsurfing.


Windsurfing, report: Cape Town, South Africa, 2-16 February 2024


Cape Point 3/2Witsand, Boulders Beach (4/2)Witsand (6/2)Platboom (7/2)Elands Bay (8/2)Sunset Beach and Yzerfontein (10/2)Cape Point (11/2)Delheim and Route 44Table Mountain (13/2)Elands Bay and Paternoster (14-15/2)


On this occasion, I didn't go alone. Several other friends who follow Waterwind have left with me, or arrived in Cape Town before me, or later.

This year the real Cape Doctor didn't blow so often, while we enjoyed good swell. It's typical of February. However, the opportunity was good to try Witsand and finally Platboom with NW, with very smooth waves (it was a dream come true for me), and to discover new spots, such as Elands Bay. And then, on the days with no wind, we didn't just sit and watch the sea, but we took the chance to visit the surroundings of Cape Town, which has much more to offer, no less exciting than the waves. The day we visited Delheim Winery in Stellenbosch, drove Route 44, and stopped at Betty's Bay was a memorable one. But let's try to proceed in order.









 Cape Point (3/2)


The first day of our holiday is characterized by a declining Cape Doctor, veered from ESE. Therefore, the only spots that can allow the session are those of the Cape of Good Hope Peninsula. The expected swell is still significant. Witsand and Scarborough, in the morning, are not yet hit by the wind. So, I'm trying my luck at Cape Point. Upon my arrival, late in the morning, Cape Point immediately shows challenging conditions. Big swell with some sets almost mast high, and some wind that has not yet entered over the spot well, especially near the rocky cliff on the shoreline. Strong current near the coast, as usual when there is a swell here, leading from the South East to the North West. Perfect ingredients to make going out a struggle.

We wait for the wind to come in better. But maybe we go wrong, because then the conditions will become even more challenging. The high tide will cause the height of the waves to rise to more than a mast, also causing those breakers to come closer to the shore; and the wind will reach such an intensity as to require 3.7 and 4.2 sails, at least on the wave lip. I think of going to Platboom, where, in the meantime, I see some windsurfers enjoying increasingly higher waves, dirtier and foamier, but perhaps less demanding. Friends hold me back.... After rigging the Guru 4.7, I unrig it, and rig the Gaastra Sails Manic 4.2.

I look at the sea and observe my friends who have entered the water in the meantime. Max can't even get past the breakers and is continually spat back onto the shore. Marco, always a tough guy, manages to get out to sea, and then shows up in the area where the waves become steep, and starts surfing them. It gets a memorable wipe out, when, immediately after a cut back, the wave suddenly becomes steep and vertical. The board nose sinks and the 4-5 meter wave breaks. He is eaten, only to reemerge seconds later, miraculously unscathed, and with no damage to his equipment. I will later find out from Alessio that he also suffered a sensational wipe out, in which he lost his equipment which ended up on the rocks, and he swam back. These scenes convince me that there is no sense in going out. It's the first day of my holiday and I would seriously risk ruining it right away.... I've already ridden Cape Point, but with a 4.2 wind and a 2 meter wave (without serious swell...). It is in these conditions that I can face it.

I move to Platboom. But now it's too late.,... and when I show up on the beach with the equipment ready to go out, a rainstorm arrives which turns the wind side-on and dampens it, making the exit problematic here too. An English boy also tells us that the wind, in these conditions, could drop completely at any moment. Amen.... I unrig and go to pick up Alessandro from the airport who arrives today. This day further confirms to me that it is good to listen to everyone, but then it is better to make mistakes with your own head....

Sunday 4 February, beautiful sunny morning spent jogging and a nice swim at Sunset Beach. Then, in the afternoon, the North West wind, which here is a bit like our sirocco in northern emisphere, and brings heat and humidity, gives us a vision of Haakgat immersed in a truly unusual thick fog.



 Witsand and Boulders Beach (5/2)


On Monday the 5th, we should theoretically still have a slight ESE. But at Witsand the wind will never come in decently. Filippo, Adriano's son, enjoys a nice wave surfing session. Then, when the sky becomes completely blue, in addition to enjoying the amazing view of this stretch of coast, we first go for an energizing swim on the beautiful Scarborough beach (warm air, beautiful fresh water), and then we go to visit Boulders Beach which is home to a colony of South African penguins. The day is still very pleasant: when you don't windsurf in this region, it's really a shame not to enjoy the beauty and nature of the places.





 Witsand (6/2)


On Tuesday 6 February, Witsand gives us a great session, easy, fun, and very educational (enjoy the whole slide gallery of the day). Wind from the North West (therefore, starboard tack), and modest swell which produces some nice smooth bars of 1 - 1.5 metres.

In the morning I go out with the Goya Banzai 5.3, first rigged with the high clew and then with the low one. Crowded spot, with the whole crew of Ben Proffitt and Colin Dixon present. Ben Proffitt, in the water, immediately shows his skill, with beautiful descents from the wave down the line, and nice aerials.

We go out in the morning with medium tide, and the most beautiful waves are those to the south of the spot, towards Misty Cliffs, in front of the area where the sandy beach is dotted with rocks. But with this tidal condition the waves break far from the rocks, without danger. I take a lot of them, and I really enjoy them. The Banzai pushes well, and the Tabou Da Curve 88 does the rest. The choice to bring a generous volume also this year proves successful in medium-light wind conditions. At lunchtime, I stop to go up to the car and eat something, and to pick up the Guru 4.7. The wind has strengthened a lot and the Banzai is no longer manageable. The tide in the afternoon is much higher, and the waves become steep and surfable closer to the reef area. We need to take some more risks. But the spot today is not dangerous. By mid-afternoon, we all find ourselves unrigging with smiling faces.






 Platboom (7/2)


On Wednesday 6 February, Platboom gives us perhaps the most beautiful session of the whole holiday (watch the video shot at Platboom). Finally, I realize a dream: to go out at Plataboom with a North West wind (starboard tack).

Upon our arrival in the morning, around 10.30, Platboom is a show: a turquoise pool crossed by beautiful 1-2 meter bars, with a growing wind. The tide is low. Alessio and Sammy are waiting to enter. I do not understand why. The conditions are already beautiful!

I rig the Goya Guru 4.7 which will be nice and full, and I have a fantastic hour session, catching lots of waves, especially in the southern part of the spot, which is very similar to Witsand, with the beach dotted with rocks, in the stretch that separates it from the near Cape Point spot. After an hour, unfortunately, fatigue takes over.... An hour of serious waveriding is worth 3 hours of freeriding.... I get out of the water to breath and rest a little, but I should stay in the water enjoying the conditions as much as possible.

I enjoy the show of Andrea Rosati, "Roman from Cape Town", who hooks and surfs really beautiful waves (click here for the beautiful slide gallery of the Platboom session). I return to the water after lunch, but the conditions have become more difficult. The wind dropped and the tide rose, and it became more difficult and risky to catch and surf the waves. I get out of the water.

We use the entrance ticket to the Table Mountain and Cape of Good Hope Park (400 rand each, per day, this year), to visit and take the usual photos at Cape Point, and then we walk up to the lighthouse, from where you have fantastic views of all the cliffs and crags below, and over the coast of False Bay. We return via the "Chapman's Drive" panoramic road to Hout Bay, and then we go to have dinner at Tiger's Milk in Camps Bay, a fixed stop on my holidays in Cape Town. Really beautiful and full day.





 Elands Bay (8/2)


Thursday 8 February also turns out to be a great day of windsurfing. To find some good wind, however, we have to drive and go far north, up to Elands Bay, a two-hour drive from Table View. To break up the journey, we stop at Langebaan, a freeride/freestyle spot, characterized by a beautiful and closed bay, which I already know, and which I show to Alessandro and Adriano and his sons, at their first experience in South Africa.

I've never been and ridden in Elands Bay. After several kilometers in a countryside that alternates cultivated fields with drier stretches with sparse shrubs, the road reaches a pass and descends into the green valley below, where the Verlorenvlei river meanders and flows into Elands sea, after having given rise to large blue ponds, where they live many waterfowl. Then, you enter the village, made up of a few houses, a legendary hotel and a few shops, and in the background, to the south, you have a reddish rocks cliff. A border place, like Paternoster....

When we arrive at Elands Bay, in the early afternoon, the wind is already very strong (and much stronger than predicted by ECMWF); the spot is crowded.

After some checks on the beach, I decide to rig the Ga Sails Manic 4.2, despite someone suggesting that I should rig bigger. Once again, I will have confirmation of my intuition, and of the fact that it is always better to make mistakes with your own head. In fact, the 4.2 will prove perfect. The Ga Sails Manic is a great sail to hold in your hands, and to surf with. The wind will increase during my session. I also set the Tabou Da Curve with K4 fins (and this choice too will prove to be a good one), to make the board softer under my feet, and to compensate for the slightly large volume for the conditions. The tide is high, there is a shorebreak of 1-1.5 metres, and a surfable beach break, which in the best sets even reaches two metres. I have a good hour of pure enjoyment, often riding along with my friend Alessio.

I catch some really nice waves, on which I also manage to do two bottom turns, and some nice jumps on the way out. We all have fun.

Another time, I come out of the water dead.... It's the third consecutive day of windsurfing, and I can feel the fatigue. I rest and take some photos. Click here for the exciting slide gallery of Elands Bay. Then, I find unexpected energy and return to the water for another very fun half hour.

We unrig, enjoying the grazing light of the late afternoon sun, which illuminates the beautiful houses facing the sea with a warm orange. We return home late, driving non-stop, under the sunset sky, which fades from the blue of the night to the orange of the last lights of the sun on the horizon.

The next day (Friday 9 February) will be a rest day, with an unsuccessful attempt at Paternoster, and a magnificent sunset walk at Yzerfontein, another place I love.






 Sunset Beach and Yzerfontein (10/2)


On Saturday 10 February, we finally have the opportunity to ride Sunset Beach, with the Cape Doctor, oriented, anomalously, from the SSE and not from the SE. It will be the only session in Sunest in two weeks of vacation; really something exceptional. In my previous holidays in Cape Town, I have always had the opportunity to go out here, or in Big Bay, which are very good spots to improve skills, as well as very comfortable, because they are close to Table View, where you make your home. Really a shame.

When we arrive at the spot, parking on Isabella Road, the waves, due to the big swell that reached Cape Town, are wonderful: tidy and well-spaced bars, around two metres. Click here for the slide gallery of the day at Sunset Beach.

I rig the Goya Guru 4.7 (with the Tabou Da Cruve with standard G10 fins), and wait for the wind to blow better over the spot.

In reality, in the morning the wind is a bit capricious. Probably, the slightly too southerly direction means that Table Mountain covers the spot a bit. I enter the water around 11.00, but I suffer a lot from the wind lulls, and I struggle to catch the waves. I should have rigged the 5.3, which I have never used here, given that the Cape Doctor, in Sunset, grows rapidly from 10.00 onwards, until it becomes unmanageable with a 3.7 around 13.00.

The wind improves around 1.30pm, and I return to the water just before 2.00pm, after having eaten something, with the same equipment as in the morning. I have a really good hour, finally managing to catch and surf some very nice waves (watch the video taken at Sunset). The wind, however, increases further, and at 3.00 pm, I would have to change sail. But in the meantime the water surface has become very choppy due to the strong wind. We decide to move to the spots further north. We pass by Big Bay, but the conditions are similar to Sunset. My friend Alessio goes out anyway and tries some jumps (click here for the photos). We go and see Haakgat, which also has a surface of water chopped by the now strong wind, but good sized waves, as usual for this spot. We could ride here. But I've been thinking all day long that probably the best spot today, for the quality of the swell waves, should be Yzerfontein, where I didn't go immediately because if Sunset is working, you try to avoid driving too far.

It is 5.20pm when we decide to go to Yzer, which we reach just before 6.00pm.

Upon our arrival, Yzerfontein shows some fantastic and very smooth waves, between 2 and 3 metres high, which around fifteen riders are enjoying. The wind here is light, and the windward promontory shields the bay a bit, and prevents the water level from being choppy. In Yzerfontein, there is a lot of current with swell, and getting out to sea will not be easy. I rig the Goya Banzai 5.3, and enter.

Simply put, I have a very nice hour. Huge waves arrive from offshore, which sometimes become steep and catchable already offshore, despite the light wind. I catch some nice waves and surf them. Then, unfortunately, the wind starts to drop. It's a shame we didn't come here earlier, and it's a shame we weren't warned about the conditions earlier by the some friends who arrived here on the spot. If we had been warned, we would have avoided wasting time in Big Bay and Haakgat. I get out of the water shortly after 7.00 pm. A little girl, playing on the beach with her mother, waves hello to me. Nice sensations.

I unrig enjoying a memorable sunset over Yzerfontein Bay. I love this spot.












 Cape Point, Witsand and Nordhoek beach (11/2)


On Sunday 11 February, the only chance for windsurfing requires going to the spots on the Cape Peninsula. Unfortunately, Witsand, Misty Cliffs and Scarborough are virtually non-working. In the morning Witsand and Misty at low tide present wonderful waves, pure smooth and orderly swell waves, with a generous period, but little wind. So we decide to go and see Cape Point. And we have confirmation that, with a significant swell, Cape Point is a truly challenging spot. With a swell of 2 meters and a 10 second period, Cape Point has waves of more than one mast, which sometimes break irregularly, and winds of around 25 knots, as usual irregular on the inside. Conditions suitable only for professional riders. The first to enter the water is Julian Salmonn, followed by Tomer Shamgar, and others. Click here for incredible photos from the Cape Point session. They too have to fight to overcome the huge breaking waves, and the strong current while floating to go offshore, and they have to manage significant wipe outs when surfing. Tomer also breaks the mast. Conditions for young riders who do waveriding for a living, not for us (enjoy the amazing video shot at Cape Point).

We go to enjoy the beauty of Witsand and my beloved Nordhoek beach.






 Delheim Wine farm, Betty's Bay and Route 44 (12/2)


Monday 12th, we leave aside the slight possibility of surfing at sunset in Sunset (and in fact it won't be windy). We go to visit the Delheim winery in Stellenbosch. The buildings and lush vegetation around the farm are fascinating, as is the countryside planted with vineyards, with the mountains in the background. It goes without saying that, this time too, the wine tasting experience is exceptional, for the quality of the wines tasted (Pinotage, Gewurtztraminer, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc), and for the kindness and professionalism of the staff who welcome and manages us. The food that accompanies the tasting is also excellent (vegetables, cold cuts, and cheeses, mostly). After an hour of relaxing to work off the drinks, we get back in the car to enjoy the views of Route 44, passing Betty's Bay and then returning to Cape Town. Despite some clouds that partially obscure the sunset, Route 44 does not disappoint this time too. In particular, it is beautiful to walk among the penguins of the Betty's Bay Reserve which also roam freely in the gardens of the houses in the village, and admire the jagged mountains of the coast, as well as seals and dolphins (or orcas?) in the sea of False Bay. Always a powerful experience.

Click here for photos of the day.







 Table Mountain (13/2)


On Tuesday 13th, the chances for windsurfing are few, and in fact they do not materialize. So, with Alessandro, we quickly implement a plan B. We head towards Table Moutain, and take the path to the Platteklip Gorge, which starts shortly after the lower station of the cable way. Here, I will not tell the details (I refer you to the specific article for this). In short, I can tell you that it was a great experience, technically and physically less demanding than what was described on the various websites that reports this excursion. The entrance into the gorge is exciting, with the sheer rock walls above our heads, and Cape Town behind us. And leaving the gorge, you arrive at the top of Table Mountain, with a view that ranges from the Cape of Good Hope, to Hout Bay and Chapman's peak, and obviously to the various neighborhoods of Cape Town (City Bowl, Waterfront, Camps Bay, etc.), up to the beaches on the coast to the north, Sunset Beach and Big Bay, where we enjoy our windsurfing sessions. Click here for photos of the Table Mountain trek.

After getting off Table Moutain, we visit City Bowl, the center of Cape Town, passing through the Company's Gardens, and we stop at Greenmarket Square, where we sit at the Mesopotamia Restaurant for a beer (a thirst-quenching Black Label for me), which then becomes a dinner based on Turkish dishes (Humus Kebab for me). After dinner, we would like to go for a walk, but Security stops us immediately and offers us a safe hop in their car to the place where we parked ours, because they tell us that the surroundings are dangerous..... Too bad, the atmosphere is pleasant, and it would be nice to be able to enjoy it a little longer. Cape Town is a beautiful city, but with several social problems, which we hope can be solved one day....





 Elands Bay (14/2) and Paternoster (15/2)


We spend the last days of the holiday at Elands Bay and Paternoster. South-West wind is expected, and, on the second day, also a significant swell (2 metres, and 10 seconds period). We organize to stay two consecutive days away from Cape Town, and we quickly book an apartment for one night in Paternoster, also to enjoy the magical atmospheres that this "border" place can offer. Click here for the Elands Bay and Paternoster slide gallery.

On Wednesday 14th, at Elands we get a blast of wind... well beyond the forecast, which gives gusts of no more than 30 kts. Instead, the wind will exceed 35 knots.

When we arrive, around 12.30, the wind is already good enough to go out with a 4.7. But the forecast gives an increase in wind intensity from 2.00 pm. Furthermore, when we arrive, there is little wave, in fact the sea is almost flat, and the tide is falling, with the peak of low one expected for 1.30pm; and this further dampens the height of the wave. We would at least like to benefit from some ramps to jump on and try some forwards. So, we go for a walk on the beach, which gives us some suggestive images, due to the dazzling light of the sand illuminated by the sun, the emerald green of the sea water, and the reddish rocks of the promontory that closes the bay to the south.

The first riders enter the water around 1.30-2.00 pm, with sails of around 4.7 metres, but they don't last long..... The wind increases visibly. When we enter the water, around 2.30pm, the wind is very strong. For the first time on this holiday, I take out the 3.7, and after a few rides I also go back to slim it down as much as possible. But there isn't much to do: the 3.7 is too big, and the water surface is too choppy. These are conditions that I hate and I don't enjoy them. After a few dozen minutes, I've had enough, and since the wind shows no sign of decreasing, I decide to go out. Perhaps the wind also entered in Paternoster, weaker. We unrig as quickly as possible to go to Paternoster.

In reality, when we arrive in the village, around 6.30pm, there is little wind (and then they will tell us that there wasn't much wind in the afternoon either), on the other hand we take possession of the small studio in Strandloper road, two steps from the sea, and we immediately enter the mood of the place. We enjoy the sunset, and the peace of the place.

The next day, around 10.00, we reach the beach of the spot, a few minutes from home. We are the first. Then, the whole tribe of windsurfers will arrive, and also the FPT circus, given that today the event of the world freestyle circuit is scheduled here, with our Jacopo Testa as the great favorite for the double elimination, after having already won the single elimination a few days ago in Retvlei near Cape Town. And Jacopo, in fact, will also win the double.

In the morning around 11.00 the wind starts to come in, but struggles to remain constant, also due to several showers south of Paternoster. The tide is falling and the swell hasn't really kicked in yet, although some good sets do come in every now and then.

In a few words, at 12.00, we make a first attempt. I enter with the Goya Guru Pro 4.7, and the wind soon drops... But to the south, a wider strip of clear weather can be seen arriving. And in fact, the wind, after another half hour, increases again even if it is not particularly strong. I decide to play hard and use the Goya Banzai 5.3 X Pro that I brought with me.

Once the sail is rigged, I return to the water. Meanwhile, the waves sets are always more beautiful with someone over 2 metres. But beyond the height, it is the quality of the Paternoster waves that is fantastic: long smooth bars enter the bay and proceed without interruption, from the cliff at the southern end, to the center of the bay. With the 5.3 I glide at times, but above all I can acquire that essential speed to catch the wave offshore, and then surf it when it becomes steep. Some waves become steep already far from the shore. I catch several in the center of the bay; I surf some well, others less well. On some, I can do more than one bottom turn.








Obviously, I also get some nice wipe-outs, an epic one included..... When it's time to cut back, I'm late, and the wave has now become steep, and is about to break. The bow sinks just after the cut back, and the wave, quite big, breaks over me. I lose the gear, and I do a somersault underwater. Better to have lost the gear to avoid hits against it. But Paternoster is a forgiving spot. The beach is all sand. I swim a few meters, retrieve it, and the game starts again.

I get out of the water around 5pm, a little later than scheduled. We have to go back to Cape Town, and pack the equipment again for the next day  flight. And there's load shedding.....

But at the end of the afternoon, in Paternoster, under a wonderfully blue sky, it feels too good. With friends we calmly unrig, chatting and commenting on the holiday that is now over.

The Cape Doctor made itself be desired, we had to chase the wind here and there, trying new spots. But, as usual, we also did much more, and came into contact with the people and territory of the Western Cape.

Coming to Cape Town just to windsurf means throwing away a great opportunity....

See you next time my lovely "mother city"!


Ciao. Fabio


P.s. Writing and editing this article took me a long time. If you have fully read it, I would be grateful if you would point it out by adding your comment below. It will help me understand if the game is worth the job....


Below, the video which shows the best of my 2024 trip to South Africa



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