Scant kilometres from PE and nestled in the province of the Eastern Cape, J-Bay is the small seaside town that has captured every surfer’s heart. The image’s, first brought back, from 1966’s “The Endless Summer” and countless films since have whispered hope and magic into the hearts and minds of even the most novice board-riders.
The rolling swell, being conceived in the deep of the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans, travels thousands of kilometres before they bend around the entrance to the bay at Cape St Francis. When, finally visible to the human eye, standing atop the wooden walkway & facing the ocean, with the North-Westerly wind blowing steadily against your back you bear witness to one of the most magnificent right-hand point break waves that this world has to offer. Welcome to Supertubes, J-Bay …
This guide to Surfing in Jeffreys Bay is for those not quite ready to take on the perfect walls of water that rip like lighting over razor-sharp rocks of Supertubes; it’s for the surfers who, in my mind, are still having the most fun – the beginners. So, sorted by skill level – here is a guide to surfing in J-Bay.
- Main Beach (Dolphin Beach): This is where many people have tried their hand at learning surfing – this is by far the safest beach and has soft sand beneath you at all times. Unfortunately this beach has terrible waves to learn on as most of them dump (break quickly) on you without much lead in time and time to ride the foam after.
- Moving along from Main Beach you may be tempted to try “Kitchen Windows” a spot just right of Main Beach where you can paddle out a little further to a spot that has a small reef break – be careful of the reef, but this is generally safe. I would take my twelve-year-old sister out here.
- “Beach Break” – just opposite the Checkers Shopping Centre, while some would argue, correctly so, that it can get hairy at times I believe this is your next progression – lots of white sand to land on and more often than not, gentle waves. Watch out for the fisherman however!
- Kabeljous Beach is pretty far out and on the other end of town but its safe and easy for the beginners. Take a friend along.
- Albatross – usually un-crowded and situated on Kabeljous Beach. I wouldn’t describe it as tame but it needs a combination of conditions to really work.
- If you are comfortable with these then the next step is Point. This is a reef break with fairly gently breaking waves that are incredible to ride. It’s one of my favourite breaks in J-Bay is just down the line from Supertubes separated only by…
- Tubes this reef break is between the Point and Supertubes, named after its consistent ability to throw the lip over and create excellent but short – tubes, a hollow in-between the face and lip of the wave that surfers love being in. It’s extremely close to sharp reef and dangerous so best not try this if you’re a beginner.
- “Magnatubes” – one of the heavier waves in Jbay and has a tendency to become very big and in turn, dangerous. Best left to experienced surfers.
- “Boneyards” – Not much else needs to be mentioned. Great wave, which breaks left and right above Supertubes, but in shallow water. One of the few waves along this stunning coastline that breaks to the left.
- Finally, Supertubes. No more hostile than any of prior three in terms of pure natural danger, this wave, ironically because of its beauty, has attracted a strong sense of localism – local surfers here have been rumoured to take the mistakes of junior surfers here quite seriously and you could land up in hot water of you get in their way, so be-careful if you find yourself unable to resist the waves seemingly endless ride.
Enjoy your adventure and remember that the best time to visit Jeffrey’s Bay, for surfing, is in the South African winter during the months of April until October.