The world’s best surf trips through Southern Africa

Written by on 23rd April 2014
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Ticket to Ride offer the ultimate surfing adventures through South Africa, covering the entire coastline of one of the world’s most diverse countries, it truly is an amazing experience that just keeps changing week by week, a once in a lifetime experience!

Well who knows what you may or may not have heard about South Africa, you may even be South African! One things is for sure, South African’s are very patriotic and can’t stop talking about how amazing it is, so I guess that is a good start! And then there is the fact that over 2 million non-African tourists travel to South Africa every year. You may have heard of the crime, and the old apartheid days, and yes they are a reality which is exactly why we are here to help keep you safe and make sure you make the right choices. South Africa is rich in so many ways, and the one word that really sums it up best is diversity. From the plants to the animals, to the cultures, to the cities, the villages and of course the waves, there is never a dull moment in South Africa.

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Great waves are far from the only thing that South Africa has to offer, and in light of this Ticket to Ride make sure that you get to see the best of the best in every city that they go to and through. From the obvious ones like climbing Table Mountain and wine tasting, to getting involved in various community projects, their South African guides are with you every step of the way and making sure that you have the best time of your life.

The Coaching

They have a two-tiered approach to the surf coaching on their African trips. Firstly you have your main two surf coaches who are also your trip leaders for the entire trip. They have vast experience and are capable of helping your surfing excel regardless of your ability. Then they have the surf coaches who they use along the way, the best coach in that particular area.

Chris in Indo

Their goal as surf coaches is to give you the correct advise and tools in order to become the best surfer you can be. This means being a well-rounded surfer who is competent in all conditions and has great knowledge and fundamental skills in surfing. In order to do this they primarily use ISA Level 2 coaches (the highest level) and regular photo and video analysis with frequent structured sessions in order to ensure that you are making the most of the coaching. They never have more than five surfers per instructor during lessons, and do frequent one-on-one private surf sessions on land as well as in the water when necessary.

It all starts in Cape Town at the best wave in the world to learn your basics, Muizenberg. Regardless of your level the first few sessions will be spent there, either being taught the basics if you are a beginner, or dusting off the cobwebs and showing the coaches what you can do if you have surfed before. Cape Town has a vast array of surf spots on offer, and being a peninsula the wind and swell are always right somewhere, so they make use of this and make sure to choose the best spot on the day. You will also do a course on learning to read swell charts as well as a talk on surfboards, from the history of boards to understanding how they work today and most importantly how to choose which one to buy. They are based out of a great surf shop in Muizenberg which has the best choice of surfboards in the country! Did we mention South Africa is one of the cheapest places in the world to buy surfboards!?

stoked after their first lesson with john and donna

The next stop is Plett where the waves get a little more challenging and the focus moves more towards understanding how a lineup works with sandbanks, rips and currents, and how to surf steeper waves. For those that have surfed before you learn to use a rip to catch more waves and it is a great place to work on technique, style and turns as you will catch lots of waves and there is no one else in the water but your Ticket to Ride Group. As mentioned before they use a lot of photo and video analysis in Plett to help break down technique and ensure that you are maximising the potential of the wave for your ability. And its super cool to see yourself surfing of course!

At the world famous Jeffreys Bay they make yet another step up and you’re introduced to the first reef break. As scary as this may sound, it is the perfect introduction to surfing a reef with a great peeling left and right. Firstly you will be taught the theory of how a reef breaks and how best to surf one by none other than the South African team coach who is your instructor in Jeffreys Bay. Once again it is all about learning, and for those who were finding it challenging, it now becomes a lot easier to ride the green open face waves. This is generally the spot where the group will get some of their longest rides of the trip!

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After Jeffreys Bay the trip leaders take over as your main coaches, and each surfer is catered for individually as to your ability and requirements. You are shown various different types of surf spots, always chosen according to what will be best on the day. You will get help from different instructors including former world pro-am champ Dave Malherbe. Getting to surf with and often meet the cream of South Africa’s surfing talent is just a part of a day in the life with Ticket to Ride.

What level of Surfing do i need to be?

The guys at Ticket to Ride get all sorts of people on their trips of course, but one thing they have in common is a love for surfing. And lets be honest here, a lot of people who have never surfed still love the idea of surfing! They welcome and often get total beginners, some who have never surfed before. And then they get those who have done a few surf lessons here and there and know that they love it and this trip is their dream trip when they stumble upon it. And then they get the surfers whose main focus is to become a better surfer and take their skills to the next level, as well as surf all the amazing waves South Africa has on offer. Ticket to Ride can confidently say that they easily cater for all these needs by making sure that both the quality of the coaches they use and the number of coaches they use are more than adequate.

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Who are the Coaches?

On your trip you get both the trip leaders, and then the surf coaches who have been with Ticket to Ride from the beginning.

Chris Bond

Chris Kalk

Hailing from Cape Town they came across Chris when they were looking for trip leaders for the very first trip. Having done a season at the British Surfing Association in 2005 they knew he would fit right in to running high quality trips. Besides that he has been travelling the South African coast all his life either competing or on surf trips, and has since coached some of South Africa’s finest up and coming surfers. Chris now heads up the operations in South Africa for Ticket to Ride.

Etienne Venter

Etienne boasts one of the most complete coaching C.V’s of any surf coach worldwide and is lucky enough to play his trade on the legendary waves at Jeffrey’s Bay. He coached the South African Open team to victory at ISA world games 2013 and has coached the SA junior team on many occasions. It is fantastic that you get to train with one of the world’s best coaches at one of the world’s best waves.

John Henry

John is one of the most accomplished watermen they have come across and is definitely the kind of guys you want in the water with you if something went wrong. From being one of the pioneers of big wave surfing in South Africa, to competing locally and internationally, John is an amped surfer with loads of experience. Him and his wife Donna run the surf lessons in Plett with pride and they are some of the best surf lessons you will ever get.

Dave Malherbe

Dave is both one of the most experienced and competition savvy surfers and coaches in South Africa. He has a string of accolades personally, including world Pro-am champ, as well as great success coaching the South African national teams on multiple occasions. The first thing you will notice about Dave when you are at Coffee Bay is that he is always on the good waves, so follow him around and sit right next to him in the water!

Klee Strachan

Klee Superman

Klee is one of our trip leaders and grew up in the very place you start your trip, Muizenberg, before moving up to Durban as a teenager to follow his dream of becoming a pro surfer. He achieved that dream doing the WQS for several years before turning his attention to surf coaching. Being an ISA Level 2 coach, just like all the coaches before him on this list, he has coached provincially in South Africa working with many of their top junior surfers. Klee is a fitness beast who takes his job seriously, always pushing you in and out the water to help you reach your goals and dreams.

Nikita Robb

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Nikita grew up in East London, the land of uncrowded surf and surfing talent. For whatever reason, East London has produced many of South Africa’s best surfers and Nikita slots right in with that list. From beating the open ladies when she was just a teen, to taking out boys when there was no girls divisions, Nikita rose quickly to the top of South African surfing, and then to the top of World surfing when she reached her dream of qualifying for the WCT, top 16 surfers in the world. Unfortunately she missed her beloved South Africa a little too much and running surf trips here became the perfect match. Yes she still surfs and is the three times defending SA champion, but she also loves running the trips and will always be there to help you out on your trip.

Community Work

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The community work that Ticket to Ride do is central to the trips that we run and has been from the start. We appreciate everything South Africa has to offer and see and feel the need to give back and help some of the poorer communities. They got involved in and started projects in the townships 8 years ago now, and they have flourished. They take a responsible approach to the work we do and make sure that any project they’re are involved in is sustainable. Tim who was one of the first trip leaders on Ticket to Ride has gone on to dedicate himself to community work in Cape Town and we work hand in hand with him and his projects, as well as others up the coast. From helping kids in the water, painting a school, making a veggie patch to playing soccer on the beach, the experience and the big smiles will be one you won’t forget.

More than just Surfing

Wine Tasting

Yes, surfing is the main reason you will come on this trip, but Ticket to Ride offer much more than just the surfing! As we said, South Africa has a lot to offer, and they make it their responsibility that you see and experience the best that is there. This includes tasting some of South Africa’s finest wine at Klein Constantia, climbing Table Mountain, seeing the penguins, bungy jumping, playing with lion cubs, going on safari and making sure that they go to any good live events that are happening while you are here. Their trip leaders are dialled in to the local scene across South Africa and if there is something happening that is worth going to then they will know about it. Having said that, they are flexible to your needs and this is certainly not a school trip where they tell you what you can and can not do! They want you to make the most our of your trip and are there to make sure it is the best trip of your life.

Mozambique

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Mozambique is a 3-week extension to the 10-week South Africa course, and if previous trips are a precedent then choosing to go to Mozambique will be the best decision you ever make (after coming on the SA trip of course)! Everyone loves Mozambique, it is as simple as that, from the tropical water and great waves, to the fresh seafood and fruit, it really has that X factor. They head off on 4*4′s on this leg of the trip to a country very different to South Africa, it is more African and almost more of a surfing ‘holiday’ where you get to use the skills you learned in South Africa on perfect pointbreaks and beachbreaks with no one around all day long. It really is the icing on the cake of the South Africa trip.

What’s Included?

  • Airport transfers from one of our staff upon arrival in South Africa
  • Welcome pack (on 4 week Trips and above), including T-shirt, Hoodie, cap, wetsuit bag, stickers, board pens and other fun stuff.
  • All transport over the entire trip, we travel in suitable vehicles and all reasonable trips and lifts are covered
  • Your trip leaders are your everything; but mainly your tour guides, surf coaches, drivers and your friends. They will be with you every step of the way, sorting out the itinerary, and making sure that you are well looked after and having the time of your life.
  • Accommodation is included throughout the trip, you will be in a dorm room with your fellow trip members.
  • A welcome braai South African style as well as a big goodbye dinner at the end of the trip
  • Swell prediction course
  • Board talk as well as many other theory sessions along the trip
  • Daily surf coaching from South Africa’s top surf coaches
  • Surfboards and wetsuit rental until you buy your own in Cape Town
  • Video and photo analysis of your surfing
  • One-on-one analysis of strengths, weaknesses and goals done at 4 points in the trip
  • Weekly photo and video blogs to show your friends and family what you are up to
  • All training and swim session in the pools (For ISA Riders)
  • Table mountain
  • Wine tasting
  • Penguins at Boulders beach
  • Community work, Ticket to Ride covers all the expenses
  • World’s Highest Bungy jump
  • Playing with lion cubs
  • Day safari
  • Riding the flow rider

FAQ’s

Do I need to have surfed before to come on this trip?

No, the way the trip is structured means you will be taught your basics in the easy waves of Muizenberg in Cape Town. As surfing is an individual sport you will be coached according to your level.

How bad is the crime in South Africa?

There is crime in South Africa, much like anywhere else in the world. The majority of the crime is opportunistic crime, and we make sure that you don’t leave yourselves exposed to it as far as possible. We have never had crime problems other than petty theft on a Ticket to Ride trip.

Are there sharks in South Africa?

Yes, there are sharks in the oceans around South Africa, much like every other ocean in the world. Fortunately we have lots of seals and fish as well which are there staple diet. To give some perspective, yearly there are, on average, twice as many attacks in Australia as South Africa and ten times as many in North America (USA and Hawaii). Shark attacks on surfers are very rare, but we do still take precautions on the trips.

Am I too good a surfer for this trip?

In all honesty here, the level of surf coaching on this trip would be high enough for an up-and-coming junior pro. All the coaches have vast experience up to competitive level, and that combined with video analysis ensures that we really can coach any level of surfer using modern techniques.

What should I bring?

You will be happy to know that once you have signed on you will get a list of recommended items to bring with you on the trip as well as other tips and information.

Would I need to carry cash?

South Africa has many cities which would make you feel like you were in any other first world country in the world. There are ATM’s and banks on almost every street corner, and most places accept card if you prefer to do things that way.

What will I do with my valuables?

At every backpackers we stay at there is a safe at the front desk where you can leave things like your passport and phones or laptops if you so please.

Do I need to bring surf equipment?

The surf shops in Cape Town are very well stocked and you would be able to get anything that you need. Wetsuits are similarly priced to other parts of the world, but surfboards are far cheaper. So if you think you are going to be needing a new board then just get it once you are here!

Check out all of the up and coming African Surf Trips Here

If you could Surf any spot in Southern Africa where would it be? First 5 comments will get a Ticket to Ride Goody bag in the post including a copy of Wavelength Magazine, Wax, Free Surf Lesson and other bits and bobs!

 

 

 

 

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