Yes there are a lot of places you can surf in the world but there sure is something exotic about being able to do it in South Africa and in the Atlantic Ocean where there are known to be sharks. Alright, a close encounter with sharks isn't exactly what you want to be doing (there's cage diving for that) but in our honeymoon plans, we wanted to make sure we got a little exercise in the form of surfing.
When it comes to beginner surfing, the best place to surf is no doubt Muizenberg. This is a hip and fun town filled with dudes and dudettes that's practically fully dedicated to the art of riding waves. Blessed with white soft sand and beach that stretches for as far as the eye can see, there's no better way to get away from the city, bum on the beach, and get your surf on. Here's a look at our experience with Stoked School of Surf in Muizenberg
Stoked School of Surf and Muizenberg
Being a surf town, there are quite a number of surf schools to choose from but I was specifically looking for one that had a reputation for providing great lessons, top notch gear, excellent service, and ultimately a fun time. That's how I discovered Stoked School of Surf and oh boy am I glad we picked them because we got more than just fun…we got STOKED!
These guys don't have a storefront on the main parking lot of Muizenberg but they drive in their van with their boards and gear right before the lesson. In chatting with the team, I soon learned that they've been running their school since 2009 based out of Camps Bay. They're considered a boutique mobile surf school and camp operator. What sets them apart is their focus on safety and quality instructors.
What makes Muizenberg so friendly for beginners is the fact that the waves come in, in nice neat lines, the water is quite shallow even as you go away from shore, and there aren't any big rocks or coral to deal with. There's really no way to get hurt out there which meant one less thing to think about out there.
Getting set up with Stoked was super easy as well. I reached out to them via e-mail and was able to have things booked right away. A week prior, I received an email confirming our lesson and the same thing a day prior with details about where to meet and the exact timing. Off to a good start!
Just like riding a bicycle
We're not exactly beginners when it comes to surfing. We've done lessons in the past (including this rad experience we had in the Dominican), but the problem has always been that we never do it frequently enough for it to stick. As a result, we're always learning from scratch. The hope was that this was going to be the last lesson we'd take and that we'd be able to go out on our own next time around.
When we arrived in Muizenberg, it was pretty easy to spot the Stoked team in bright yellow. From the back of their white van, we got introduced to our dedicated instructor, Kwezi, and the other instructors for another group of students, Alexi, and Henry. These guys had carried a ton of energy and it was infectious as I found myself anxiously wanting to hit the water.
We quickly put on our wetsuit and were on the beach in no time. As a large group, Kwezi got us started with a little bit of jogging on the beach to help us get warmed up. Decked out in our tight wetsuits and yellow rash guards, we must've looked pretty hilarious because we did a set of stretches from top to bottom.
With our surfboards on the sand, our group split up with Kwezi taking the two of us and Alexi and Henry taking the rest. This is when muscle memory started coming in as we went through a sequence of movements that involved body position on the board, paddling, and how to pop up on the board.
Before we knew it, we were in the water and that's when the real fun started. With Kwezi being our training wheels, we started off pretty easy. He would help us get deeper into the water, tell us when to get on our boards, give us a nice hard push, and yell at us to “get up!!” when it was the right time. Having been away from it so long, we really appreciated the level of attention he was giving us and instilling the confidence we needed.
In fact, Kwezi stressed that his main job was really to ensure our safety and fun. Chantelle and I noticed that he was constantly checking in with us whether we were doing ok and was merciless in his moral support despite our surfing fails. If you're feeling tired, all you have to do is tell them. Chantelle was feeling a bit tired after our first few sets and so she got a chance to rest on the beach while I continued onwards. From a teaching perspective, he was also extremely patient and helpful in correcting bad mechanics so it felt that every time I got better and better.
It could be my bad memory but after our third of fourth try, we were starting to pick things up. Now we weren't quite at the pro surfing champ level but I was shakaa-ing and fistpumping every time I was able to stand on my board for more than 2 seconds and every time Chantelle was rocking it. It was all about celebrating the simple wins!
As time went on, Kwezi was more and more hands off, giving me a chance to paddle on my own and develop a better feel for timing. Kwezi's goal of having our confidence boosted and being able to simply surf a board next time without a lesson was certainly achieved.
Kwezi was also our photographer for the trip, snapping away with his GoPro throughout and suggesting all sorts of whacky poses. Photographing the experience was certainly the last thing I had on my mind so I'm thankful to have our best moments captured by Stoked School of Surf. The best part about it all is that it was included with the price of the lesson.
The 2 hours went by and I couldn't believe we were done by the time we were told to get back on the beach. We made our way back to the van and the only thing left to do was to change and dry up. We said our goodbyes to the Stoked gang and grabbed lunch at the nearby Hang Ten Cafe.
I'd recommend Stoked School of Surf to anyone thinking about doing surfing in Muizenberg for all the reasons I write about in our experience with them. I can't speak for the other schools there but for someone that has done it, I can vouch for them as a company that's great to work with, reliable, organized, extremely skilled, full service, and guaranteed fun.
What you need to know before you go
- Towels – Make sure you bring your own towels to Muizenberg as they're not included.
- Swimsuit – No explanation required here I hope!
- Sunscreen – It's probably a good idea to put on a bit of sunscreen before you go because you'll be pretty exposed out there since you'll only have the cover of a short wetsuit.
- Timing – Show up early if you can because parking does fill up pretty quickly in Muizenberg and you'll also want to set some time aside for gearing up.
- Storing your stuff – If you drove, you can either leave your stuff inside your car (I'd recommend the trunk) or you can also leave your stuff (car keys and towels) in the Stoked van so no worries there.
- Changing afterwards – There isn't exactly a proper changing room to use at the beach (close by) which surprised us a bit so we ended up using the bathrooms which weren't the cleanest. Otherwise, be prepared to change in the car.
- Website: https://www.stokedsurfschool.com/
- Price: R450 for a 2 hour group lesson (other packages available on the website)
- What's included: Instructor, surfboard, and wetsuit
- Meeting point: Central shower area located directly opposite the shark spotters headquarters
- Transfers from Cape Town: If you're based in the city or don't have a car, Stoked also offers transfers for an extra R200 per person