For those looking to try their hand at surfing – or for surfers without their own boards – the South Coast has several options for surf lessons and equipment rental.
A starting point is Margate, located close to a handful of beginner-friendly beaches. The reputable, longstanding Surf Action shop offers hourly, half-day and full-day board rentals, as well as safety-orientated lessons. Classes are available for one-on-one instruction, couples or groups of three to six people. All instructors are experienced and patient and, if you’re lucky, you might get a class with shop-owner Antoni “Ant” Brodowicz, the International Surfing Association’s 1978 World Champion. Brodowicz has long been a high-level surf coach, but still enjoys showing beginners the basics.
Mantis and Moon Backpackers Lodge
If you’re looking to immerse yourself in a classic “soul-surfer” environment, check out the Mantis and Moon Backpackers Lodge, a surf and yoga camp in Umzumbe, about a half-hour’s drive north of Margate. The lodge offers beginner- and intermediate-level surf instruction at nearby Umzumbe Beach, another Blue Flag-designated spot with year-round lifeguards. As part of its surf package, Mantis and Moon offers a trip to a nearby surfboard factory, where those hooked on the sport can order a custom-made board.
To eavesdrop on post-surf banter and soak up some authentic surf culture, drop into the lively C-Bali restaurant, right on the beachfront at St Mikes. The patio looks onto the main point, so you can watch the surf action over a coffee or cocktail. Locals like to congregate here after a surf to trade tales from the line-up.