When you think of Durban and their waves, you don’t generally think of Richards Bay and Alkantstrand. That’s just the way that the locals like it. Not many Durban surfers venture that far north, and the Richards Bay surfers very seldom head for the ridiculous crowds (in comparison) of the Durban town beaches. The people who score Alkantstrand, apart from the locals, are the reps and business people who travel up to Richards Bay for work, and spend a day and a night there. During the week there are still days when there is very few people out surfing, and sometimes you have to go and find a mate to surf with. Yes, unfortunately there are sharks up there, obviously, but there haven’t been too many scares. You just need to be aware and keep your eyes open.
The Alkantstrand wave is a barrelling wedge that allows for good tube rides and high performance ripping. Any wave that slingshots you into it with a little wedge wave is going to give you speed to burn, and this combined with a perfect bowl, means that surfers are busting big turns in the lineup, as well as getting shacked, whenever it is breaking. Warm water, a sand bottom and a fairly easy paddle out also ensure that wave counts are kept ticking over whenever you’re out there. On top of this, it is recognised as a super consistent wave, with at least 150 days a year of decent wave.
It likes a south-east swell, but quite often you can get good waves from a local swell, a wind swell or an easterly swell. It is offshore on a south westerly wind, but when it gets strong north-east you can still surf the inside. Finally, it isn’t very tide dependent, and you can get waves all day, depending on the sand bar. Once it gets bigger than about 6-foot then it becomes a bit of a mission to surf.
When the swell is up there are a bunch of other good waves within close distance, but we’re not going to tell you where. Two of them are ‘island’ waves and one is just like ‘pipeline’ but we can’t really give you any more clues than that otherwise we’d piss off the few locals that are in the area. Some of the other spots are gnarly for sharks though, be warned.
After surf perks:
Richards Bay is a pretty place and it is lush and green, but there is
not that much going on apart from the surfing. Take your wife or girlfriend with you when you go there, to keep you busy when the sun goes down.
There have been a few minor hassles with surfers and bodyboarders there before, but generally the locals are super mellow and friendly. I guess this is because they don’t have the usual tension that results from consistent crowds that exist in many other parts of the country. So you will get waves, you should get barrelled, and you won’t get punched. Pretty cool.
Meet the Author: Craig Jarvis
After traveling around the world for a decade, Jarvi sat in the Ed’s seat at Zigzag for close to 5 years, before deciding that life was better on the road. Or so he wished. He has now settled, is married with a young soon-to-be-surfer, and goes on the odd surf trip when he can. Instead of traveling the world, he helps his wife, Lorrin, and the rest of the All Aboard Surf Travel team in sending South African surfers on sick surf trips.