“Surfing is the most blissful experience you can have on this planet, a taste of heaven.” – John McCarthy (surfer, author, freediver, adventure guide, educator and subject of the beautiful documentary called Sea Change, from director Bruce Buttery.)
Have you ever sat on a beach and watched with awe as a surfer rides the barrel of a wave? They are often so in tune with the rhythm of the ocean, that they appear to become one with it. Many surfers will tell you that surfing is like therapy, that being one with the ocean and being fully present in the moment, is an antidote to the stresses of our frenetic, modern world. They describe it as a cleanse for mind, body, and soul. And once you’re hooked there is no going back.
The Garden Route is characterised by sweeping stretches of sand and surf (link to beaches article) and there are no shortages of waves to chase. Our local surfing community, all bound by their collective love of the ocean, is always on the hunt for a good swell.
Get your wave therapy
Surfing is an accessible to most, provided you are a good swimmer with reasonable fitness. Add to that a healthy respect for the ocean and a good dollop of courage – and you too can learn to master the waves.
Best way to start your surfing journey is with an experienced instructor. Surf schools will introduce you to the world of wave riding and build a solid foundation to this free-spirited sport by teaching beginners about ocean conditions and safety, surfing etiquette and surf techniques. There is a lot to learn and it can take years to master, and the popular beach of Buffalo Bay is a great place to start. There are several local surf schools; it is best to first engage one-on-one and get a sense of who makes you feel the most comfortable in the ocean as a beginner.
The ocean is always the boss
Even when you have years of experience under your belt, the ocean is always the boss, so one needs to respect its awesome power. Many places along our coastline are only suitable for experienced surfers, due to the prevalence of strong rip currents and gnarly waves. Always speak to an experienced local, or one of the surf schools above, before you catch that wave.