If you’re as big of a skimboard fanatic as I am, you’ll know that the world still hasn’t latched on to this extremely fun, addictive and exhilarating sport. Did I mention that it’s also one of the top energy burning activities to do in the summer?!
Sure, there are international skim comps here and there but go to a surfshop in Barcelona, or Cape Town, or any other place, and you will most likely be directed to the kiddies pink and baby-blue boards. With an added ‘you seriously do this?’ face.
So allow me to save you some time when visiting the coast of South Africa..
(All links included at the bottom)
First thing: Where to find that beautiful board?
If you’re in Cape Town, there are a couple of options. You can get a designer/handmade board or have one custom made if you fancy collecting skimmer memoirs. You can order one online (seems to be the new norm). Or there is the second hand option, either from a second hand shop or check online. Most of the surfshops aren’t listed nor have websites, I suggest you walk the ever so popular Long Street and check in with the surf and sport shops.
In the South Cape to Garden Route area (Mossel bay, George, etc.) you can pick up a really good quality plywood board (local brand) at the Garden Route Mall surfshop. Convenient, easy to find and much cheaper than an epoxy board if you don’t need it.
Further up the East coast, in the surf capital of Jeffrey’s Bay (where the annual ASP surf comp will once again be hosted) there’s a new store located in the heart of this town. Small town but a big heart, you’ll love it, just like everyone else who never boarded their return flights =)
Durban is what’s considered the skimboard hotspot but I’v personally never been. The local large scale board manufacturer is located in Durban. They also make kite surfboards. If you somehow find yourself around there, I’m sure you wouldn’t need to look around too much.
Favourites summed up in a roadtrip order, starting in Cape Town.
While in The Mother City (Cape Town) you should try to visit as many of the beach spots. Why? Let’s face it, as a skimboarder, or anyone for that matter, who enjoys water sports, we know how a beach, slope, or wave can be affected by the weather, currents, etc.
1. Llandudno and Sandy Beach
Situated a little out of the city, between rocks and a nature reserve, lie 2 semi-private and exquisite beach coves. Llandudno also happens to be home to some insanely big waves! Ever heard of Dungeons? Right around the corner, or should I say mountain peninsula.
Sandy Beach was the only nudist beach I knew before coming to Europe.. It’s another 2 min drive past Llandudno beach (already in residential area). Once you’ve parked, pack your bags – you’re bushwhacking your way to the whitest sand and clearest blue water.
I should probably mention at this point, the Capetonian water is notoriously well-known for it’s piercing cold water. I could call it freezing but it’s more of a burning sensation.
These 2 beaches get a 10/10 because of the spectacular views and no overpopulation. The beaches are smooth, with no pebbles or shells. Llandudno beach changes rapidly, within an hour it can go from a steady or slow lope to a decent incline. Whereas Sandy has a little less incline, or none, and stays fairly relaxing.
You could check out Camps Bay and Glen Beach on your way back to the city but I doubt you’ll find parking, for your car or your towel.
2. Big Bay
Also a little out of the city centre but towards Blouberg this time. A long beach but stays flat most hours of the day in all areas. Great for practicing pop shuvits and inventing your own. Warning, could get quite windy. Now you’re wondering, how much more windy than Cape Town can one get? Don’t ask questions like that.
I always find shells and pebbles there. Not the end of the world but you don’t really want to damage your board either.
This is a really long beach, stretching over more than 20kms. But you don’t want, need or even should walk that far. Park at Main Beach and find your happy place for the day somewhere within 100m of your car. Spots vary from flat and slow, to incline, to sand valleys formed by the water’s motion.
The coffee shops and restaurants in and around ‘The Village’ are amazing and a must! Ask around or take a walk.
Leaving Cape Town…
4. Diaz Beach as well as Santos Bay
These 2 beaches in Mossel Bay were my firsts. Diaz is quite big, you can easily find a place that fits your preference, whether it be with or no incline.
Santos, on the other hand, is kind of small and flat most of the time. Perfect for beginners and practicing flatland skimming. I guess you could put up a few ramps and rails if the people don’t mind. Which nobody would anyway, everyone loves a skimboarder =)
5. Herolds Bay
Now, this is really a gem and you will most likely miss the exit off the N2 highway. But if you manage not to.. This Garden Route cove offers something similar to Llandudno.
Surrounded by cliffs and never disappointing sunsets, this beach could be the definition of perfection: a helpful drawback, spaced out waves, slight incline (depending on the tide and currents), hardly any pebbles and sometimes a few shells. But 3 metres in from the side and the waves could seem monstrous during high tide. Although the wave itself might only be between 1 to 2 metres, be careful of being caught off-guard.
Leaving the Garden Route…
6. Jeffreys’s Bay (JBay)
There are 3 places to check out: Dolphin Beach/Main Beach, Kabeljous and Aston Bay. Each of these beaches caters for a different style of skimming.
Dolphin Beach changes a lot and normally has lots of valleys. Could get crowdy during summer time.
Kabeljous is another long beach and you’re sure to find a spot that works for you. There’s also a river mouth nearby, if you like those sort of playful waves.
Aston Bay can be pretty wild at times but if you like the quick run n jumps (and possibly risk a wave smash) then this is your deal. Incline seemed a little steep for my taste but I’ve had some good runs there when all the elements allowed for it. Worth a peek, even if you just end up at one of the restaurants in the parking lot.
http://www.thecornersurfshop.com/home.php You can visit them in Muizenberg, the site’s not that informing but the address is there. They have skimboards.
http://www.skimza.com/exile-skimboards They don’t share shop info, you have to contact them, this is for new products, online buying. They also have specials and secondhand board from time to time.
http://www.gumtree.co.za/s-skimboard/v1q0p1 Gumtree.co.za for your local secondhand goods.