22 August, 2010 22 August, 2010

Coffee Bay – Transkei Spot Check

Coffee Bay can still suprise you if the point is not working...

When I first came to Coffee Bay in 1988, it was summer and a nice East swell was running. Every day we would do a dawn patrol at the point, hot dogging down these lovely head high point break waves, with even a nice little barrel section thrown into the mix.

When the point cooks:

Thinking back, that was probably the best I ever had it. At the time I did not realize that Coffee Bay point works when No.1. sand has built up in the corner and 2. a medium east swell is running. Most subsequent winters we went there we did not get it on, as the big winter storms had washed away all the sand, and the predominant South Westerly swell was just washing past the top. So why mention the point at all? Because it does turn on, and if you are there when the sand has filled in it can be a lot of fun.

Where to look if the point is not working:

If you are in Coffee Bay and the point is shite, don’t despair! Climb onto the dune behind the main beach and all will be revealed: At low tide a rocky seabed will expose itself on the right side of the beach, just to the left of the mouth of the Nenge River. On a small to medium swell it is rare not to find a great little A-frame peak here, going left and right. When the swell fills in a bit this wave gets better until the peak shifts further out depending on the banks.

If you are there during winter, or after some big storms have washed all the sand out, you must cross over the Sugarloaf to Bomvu Bay, situated in front of Dave Malherbe’s Coffee Shack. This wave is total crap when Bomvu is full of sand. But when the sand is gone its another story. Its becomes a mini Vic Bay boulder bottom point.

About the area and vibe:

Coffee Bay is backpacker central, and there are plenty pozzis to stay, from camping to self catering. Go to Dave Malherbe’s Coffee Shack or Brian’s Sugarloaf Backpackers. Dave apparently can surf and he may even know a few other good spots in the area. Just buy him a few beers. Coffee Bay and the Transkei in general is a gentle place which moves at its own (slower) pace. Nobody hussles nobody mainly because you are just too stoked to have someone else to surf with. Plus it lessens the odds of getting chowed by one of three or four species of big shark which roam around the area. Seeing as we are on that topic, the Transkei is a great place to dive and fish, with Crayfish and a fish or two virtually guaranteed. Take your cabbie and go explore. Drive down dodgy looking gravel roads. Practice your Xhosa.


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