26 April, 2010 26 April, 2010

Elands Bay – Western Cape spot check

It has often been referred to as a Supertubes in reverse, but nothing could be further from the truth. A roping Elands Bay wall with rider, slides down the point.

It has often been referred to as a Supertubes in reverse, but nothing could be further from the truth. The west coast is so dissimilar to the east coast that it would be a gross mistake to compare such waves. Each wave is wonderful in her own way, but they are very distant cousins if a relationship must be referred to.

Elands Bay sits up the West Coast is what has recently been revealed as a wave haven. There are so many waves in the vicinity for those in the know or for those who want to do some searching or 4×4 hunting, but as it is, E-Bay is a wonder of the West Coast.

A long, reeling kelpy pointbreak, E Bay is a perfect left that allows for high-performance surfing, speed runs, and lip turns, as well as the ideal canvas for old-school carving. It likes the normal south west swell, and also feels a swell out of the north, as does most of the west coast. It goes offshore on any wind that has south on it, and when that dreaded south west wind has turned on a cold front, the two spots that get offshore ruffles are actually Long Beach and Elands.


Pushing tide is great, with a day of morning spring lows and arvi spring highs the best. Having said that, on glassy sunny days sometimes the low tide can completely cook. It does have many variables and many moods and faces. On thing that can and does mess up an Elands day is too much swell. When this happens there are two things to remember – the longshore sweep is sometimes completely overpowering and you’ll be paddling non-stop just to stay in one positions, and there are some other spots that will be absolutely firing when E-Bay get too big.

E-Bay is often fairly warm as it usually goes good after a cold front has come through, and a cold front brings warmer water with it. When the first day of offshore comes along there is usually enough warm water around to make it decent for a day, but one day of howling offshore and you’re back to booties, hoodies and glovies.


The jump off at E-Bay can be tricky, particularly if you are barefoot and the water is cold. There are two or three popular spots, with the most popular being at the ‘hook’ in the reef, just inside from where the wave starts at the top. Time it right and you’re on the sweet spot after a few quick paddles. Time it wrong and you could be leopard-crawling across a shelf in front of a mate pulling into a barrel with your board dangling and bouncing over dry rock behind you.  The other popular spot is around the corner, but if you get caught here you could be doing duck-unders all the way across to the take-off spot, which isn’t serious but it could leave you with a seriously session-shortening ice-cream headache.


There are various places to stay in Elands, from nice units to rooms in the hotel to camping spots and rondavals. There is a small pub at the Hotel that is very interesting, and one or two small shops. Right now Elands bay is under threat from a development consortium that want to build on baboon Pointt.


One of the biggest dramas at E-Bay are the selfish, misguided, international windsurfers and kiteboarders. They love the wind that howls through in the afternoon, but have very little idea about safety and no clue as to a drop-in rule. It is surprising that there has been less violence and serious injuries as these guys are seriously dangerous. Watch your back. They come through the line-up at full speed and if you get mounted from behind by a miscreant kite-boarder you’re going to know all about it.

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