AFRICA / SOUTH AFRICA / CAPE TOWN
CAPE TOWN SOUTH AFRICA
Home to the Red Bull King of the Air! All riding styles work and lots of people head here to learn, but essentially this place is most popular for boosting and wave riding in strong winds, while also enjoying one of the world’s most beautiful cities.
WHEN TO GO: Peak Season: November - March Air Temp: 25 – 30°C / 77 – 86°F Water Temp: 25 – 30°C / 77 – 86°F
CONDITIONS: WAVES – 4 FLAT WATER – 2 BEGINNER – 3 WARM WATER - 2 STRONG WIND – 5
Main image: North Team, Kite Beach Photo: Ydwer van der Heide
Aaron Hadlow at the King of the Air 2019. Look out for this year's event, pushed back to Nov / Dec '21 Photo: Tyrone Bradley / Red Bull Content Pool
ON THE WATER There is a reason that the Red Bull King of The Air is held here. The south-easterly Cape Doctor winds are consistent and often very, very powerful, which is also why all the Woo records are set here, too. The Cape Town / Cape Peninsula summer season runs from as early as October through until April with more than 30 kite spots serving up everything from flat water freestyle conditions to true ‘waves of consequence’. The majority of kiting takes place in Table View, a suburb to the north of the city, where the wind blows from the left with several spots lined up along one road. This is a popular location for kiting accommodation due to its proximity to the best riding and the KOTA event site. Rosie’s and Tabu House are both located here within a 7 iron’s distance from the water - just walk to the beach with your gear if you choose. Sunset Beach is the first spot you’ll reach if you’re heading north from Cape Town city. The south-easter wind comes in here sometimes an hour or more before it reaches the rest of the spots along Table View (also known as Blouberg) beachfront. You’ll find the KiteWorldWide House in Sunset Beach.
Oswald Smith, Kite Beach Photo: Kyle Cabano
Dolphin Beach is a five minute drive north of Sunset and is around 500 metres from the main spot, Kite Beach. Dolphin Beach is situated at a slight bend in the beach and so is the first of a series of spots where the wind blows more cross-shore than Sunset. Strong and steady, even though it’s only 500 metres or so before Kite Beach, the wind can be a few knots stronger here and is quickly becoming the unofficial training spot of choice for the King of the Air riders, so if you’re riding here remember to look upwind for incoming flying objects! Next comes the world famous Kite Beach which, for the last two years has been the event site for the Red Bull King of the Air. Opposite the main hub of Blouberg seafront’s cafes, restaurants and many kite shops, this has traditionally been the main kite spot in the area since the dawn of the sport. You’ll find Board and Kite Africa right opposite the spot here, next door to the most popular kite cafe in the area, Carlucci’s! Another key spot along this stretch is Doodles which is a popular ending to a downwinder from Sunset (a distance of around six kilometres).
Morning chill on the foil at Big Bay Photo: RRD
The stretch of beach from Dolphin Beach down to Doodles can get very busy, especially in January and into the King of the Air period in February, but as this entire beach is kiteable, you can move along it or venture further afield to find more space. You can continue your downwinder from Doodles, around the rocky headland to Big Bay (or drive over the hill and launch directly from Big Bay), which has a luxury accommodation and shopping development (Eden on the Bay) with a big grassy area out front as well as bars, restaurants and shops (including the Open Ocean store) making it an ideal spot where non-kiting partners and family can chill out. It’s also a popular spot with windsurfers and surfers and most kiters tend to ride slightly downwind, or to the right of the rocks at Kamers, which is a popular and often accessible wave spot. Downwind of there you’ll find a few lesser-populated but more testing wave spots, like Horsetrails and then Derdesteen, which can be really good before the wind gets strong. Beyond there is Haakgat, the most serious wave around the Table View / Blouberg area which gets big and breaks fast on a small beach. This spot isn’t for inexperienced riders. Melkbosstrand is the last beach on this stretch of coastline and it quite often works when all these other spots that we’ve just mentioned are getting blown out.
Lee 'Pasty' Harvey, Southern Cape Photo: Pasty Adventures
There are some serious waves elsewhere around the Cape, such as Scarborough, Misty Cliffs, Cape Point and Witsands. There’s also Muizenberg to the southeast of the city, which is a super-cool surf town where the Airush and ProLimit HQ’s are based. In the summer months the Cape Doctor south-easter is onshore, but slightly from the right, making it easy enough to get off the beach and enjoy the mushy, soft waves. Freestylers love the big flat sections between the waves. The wind generally isn’t as fierce as it is on the northern beaches, which will be more appealing to some. If you’re looking for proper big air sessions, don’t worry, you will score those here, too. The local crew is humble, mostly just frothed out on kiting and keen for a chat. If there aren’t any people in the water, it’s worth a second guess as to why. If it’s real flat water that you’re after, 90 minutes north is the ‘jewel of the west coast’, the flat water heaven: Langebaan. This huge, turquoise lagoon is set in the rugged terrain and dazzling natural beauty of the west coast with plenty of space, white-sand beaches and constant cross-shore winds during the season. This is one of South Africa’s top kite spots and it’s especially good for learning, twin-tipping and now foiling.
Main Beach, Langebaan Photo: RRD
The two main spots in Langebaan are Shark Bay (Kleine Oostewal) and Main Beach. (There is another spot downwind of Main Beach, but the wind is offshore and therefore for advanced kiters only.) Shark Bay is 300 metres south of Langebaan village and ideal for beginners with a huge expanse of shallow, warm water and predominantly cross-onshore winds. Don’t be alarmed by the name; the sharks there are far smaller than their deep sea cousins. In the prevailing south-easterly winds, look for an incoming tide here for the magic to begin. Main Beach is at the end of the village high street and suits intermediate and advanced riders with cross-shore winds from the left, bumpier conditions in the middle of the channel but lovely flat sections closer to shore and behind the island opposite. Both spots are tidal and low tide at Shark Bay exposes lots of beach, while high tide has the reverse effect, shortening the beach and giving less space for setting up. At the right time it’s an incredible spot to improve your tricks in warmer water than Cape Town and an incoming tide is ideal. Head a few hours east of Cape Town to another great flat water spot, the small coastal town of Witsands (not the wave spot previously mentioned), home to the mighty Breede River. The river mouth is massive and the sand spit makes an incredibly slick offshore spot on the inside, with small onshore waves on the outside. This is a spot for good intermediate twin-tippers and above (plus foilers) as the prevailing easterlies blow straight off the lagoon sandbar and the drop off is quite steep.
Carl Ferreira / Photo: Kyle Cabano
Muizenberg / Photo: Kiteworld
Glencairn / Photo: Kyle Cabano
WIND, WEATHER AND WATER The southeaster (known as the ‘Cape Doctor’ as it clears any pollution from the city) comes in cross- and cross-offshore from the left on the northern Blouberg beaches and is generally reliable and strong during the summer, from October to March (December and January being peak wind season). The Atlantic water is cold at most spots in and around Cape Town, averaging 14°C / 57°F, with most riders in 3/2, 4/3 or even 5/3 full suits. Head southeast of the city to the Indian Ocean side (Muizenberg) and it rises to 19°C / 66°F. You’ll still need a wetsuit for kiting in Muizenberg on all but the hottest days, but this is a really popular surfing spot for all levels and it’s not uncommon to see people surfing on summer mornings in just a shorty or even less. Langebaan’s Main Beach water temperature is around 17°C / 63°F in the summer, while Shark Bay can get up to 24°C / 75°F which is much warmer than elsewhere on this coast. You’ll usually need a wetsuit for Main Beach, although you can often kite in a shortie at Shark Bay or even just boardies / bikini. In the winter (and sometimes in summer) the opposite northwesterly winds come through, opening Blouberg / Table View’s spots up to wind from the right and they work well then for natural footers to ride the waves frontside.
Blouberg Bay, the stretch from Sunset Beach through to Doodles / Photo: KiteWorldWide
“From perfect little kickers to juicy monster waves, Cape Town offers some of the best kitesurfing downwinders in the world. You can’t go wrong between October and March.” JO WILSON / JO WILSON COACHING
Local rider Joshua Emanuel knows where to look for more high wind hucks and less crowds Photo: Kyle Cabano
Really wild show / Photo: Kyle Cabano
OTHER SPORTS & OFF THE WATER ACTIVITIES Cape Town is one of the world’s most vibrant cities. There’s so much to do that you could never hope to see it all in one trip, from the culture of the city to the rugged mountains and forests of the national parks. Then, of course, there’s all the famous wine lands which are as close as 30 minutes from town. Despite all the choice, it seems that every pro rider ends up doing the sunrise Lion’s Head hike - followed by an internet essential post: ‘bowl of fruit and cereal’. Each to their own. Cape Town is pretty much unbeatable for quality and value when it comes to eating out and drinking. The Kiteworld team get their annual sushi hit in Cape Town such is the great value compared to back home in Europe where it could break a week’s food budget in one restaurant sitting! Self-catering is the most common option here and there are plenty of shops and supermarkets wherever you stay.
In the city there are shopping centres, markets, incredible food, bars and nightclubs. You can also go on safari, drive up the Garden Route or stay around Cape Town with its world-class surf, cable parks and much more! Getting around is easy with a hire car (which are pretty cheap) and Uber is popular transport for nights out, too. Seeing the ‘Big Five’ is possible. Inverdoorn Game Reserve is well known worldwide for their cheetah rescue program and is only two hours drive out of Cape Town. The 10,000-hectare park boasts the big five and offers guided walks with giraffes. The reserves cater for day visitors and if you’d like to have a sleepover with the lions there’s the Ibiza Safari Lodge. There are lots more smaller parks closer to town too that smaller children will love, like Giraffe World (complete with crocs!) and Butterfly World, both of which are near the Stellenbosch wine lands. Handy for a combined day out!
KITEWORLDWIDE have a stylish ten bedroom mansion, just 100 metres from Sunset Beach with a huge living room, kitchen, braai and rooftop pool with views to the spot and Table Mountain. A designated kitesurfing guide also brings guests together to make the best out of your stay. Kitesurfing courses, guidance and pro-clinics, plus full service travel packages available. www.kiteworldwide.com email@example.com
TABU HOUSE offer self-catered studios and apartments, with the option to have a sea-view. There’s a pool and fast wifi for winding down after long days on the water. Amazing riding is only five minutes away, Tabu can store all your gear for a hassle-free stay and they also partner with a kite school. www.tabuhouse.co.za firstname.lastname@example.org
SHOPS & SCHOOLS
OPEN OCEAN are based in Bay Bay at the Eden on the Bay shopping centre on the beachfront. Lessons run all year for all abilities, from beginner level to high wind shredders. Importers of North, Cabrinha, RRD and JP SUP, they have a massive selection of new and demo / rental gear (and 2nd hand) in their entirely new store! www.openocean.africa email@example.com
BOARD AND KITE AFRICA are in prime position right opposite Kite Beach. Teaching all levels, they stock the latest Airush and Eleveight gear as well as a range of other brands, plus skateboards, clothing and more. Demos and second hand gear available. Super friendly, pop in and grab a copy of Kiteworld before getting lunch at Carlucci's next door! www.boardandkiteafrica.com firstname.lastname@example.org
HIGH FIVE operate with the Mystic Houses, teaching all levels and they also run frequent pro clinics with famous riders. Complete gear set-ups can be rented, as well as SUP, surf lessons / rentals and outdoor adventure tours. Instructor courses also available. www.high-five.co.za email@example.com
Cape Town international airport (CPT) is 40 minutes from Table View.
OTHER INFORMATION To enter South Africa you will need a negative Covid-19 test taken less than 72 hours from your time of departure. All travellers will be subjected to Covid-19 screening on arrival. Open the Covid protocol info box here.