Muizenberg Sunrise Beach is becoming a magnet for kitesurfers the world over. The summer months bring a harmonious blend of great weather and strong southeasterly winds making this the ideal kitesurfing hotspot.
Muizenberg’s Sunrise Beach is a kite surfer’s paradise. The long, sandy beach with its combination of warm water, small waves and perfect wind conditions over the summer months makes it one of the top hotspots for beginners. Added to the appeal is the peace and tranquillity at Sunrise Beach compared to other locations which can get very crowded. Instructor Matthew Meyer says Muizenberg has always been known as a beginner spot with the majority of kite surfers who grew up in Cape Town learning here before heading off to bigger waves. “You can be the most experienced freestyle rider and still be able to catch a wave here while your 10 year old child can be kiting next to you. It’s the safest, warmest, shallowest, smallest wave spot on the Peninsula.”
Piers Stephenson, former editor of Kitesurf Magazine says that in the early day’s kitesurfing was not recommended in straight onshore conditions, which Muizenberg almost has. “The reason for this was that, like any sport that involves potential lift, you wanted to move away from any land as quickly as possible, for obvious reasons.” He says the old kites had very little wind range and therefore in a gust one could get ‘lofted’ and this posed a serious risk to one’s safety. “The modern kitesurfing kite has all but nullified that risk and, in fact, students now enjoy the safety aspect of knowing they are getting blown towards land and the perceived safety that it offers, as opposed to the deeper water, which many people are more afraid of. ”The huge distance between the learning area of the beach and the road coupled with soft sand and dunes with plants to snare a runaway kite all contribute to a favourable learning environment, Stephenson says.
Meyer adds that a big attraction for visitors is that Muizenberg, which lies between the ocean and the mountains, is one of the most iconic surfing towns in South Africa. “It has that villagey, old school surfer feeling - it’s a proper surfing community.” It also has a rich history and is full of character and there is plenty to do when the sun goes down. Meyer, who has been an instructor for the past five years, says it attracts anyone who wants to feel the sensation of standing on top of the water being pulled around by the wind and being free to go where you want. You don’t have to be super fit. He’s taught people in their late seventies and kids younger than 10. “It appeals to people who have watched their idols jump 30m in the sky and fly 50m across the ocean and got inspired. And also to families who want to do something together at the beach.” Meyer says kitesurfing is the ultimate water sport because it incorporates everything from surfing and wakeboarding, to skiing, sailing and flying a kite. Stephenson says the assumptions that it’s dangerous and requires strength are incorrect. “The kite is attached to a harness so the pull comes through the core of the body and the arms are used to pilot the kite. Yes there are dangers such as an unexpected line break or line getting wrapped around the bar, which is why we learn what to do if something does go wrong.”
Five years ago Meyer set up the Sunrise Kitesurf Community (SKC) and has now teamed up with The Muize Bed and Breakfast and Blade Kiteboarding putting packages together for people to come and stay for a week and learn to kitesurf, as well as tour around the Peninsula to different locations. For Meyer, kitesurfing has provided a space to just be and he wants to pass this on. “I’ve had many moments out kitesurfing where there has been no-one around me. It goes quiet when you are travelling at the same speed as the wind and you just hear the water lapping and you hear the noise of your board cutting through the water and you’re watching the sun go down and there is nothing else in sight except for the horizon and the sunset and it’s just so very peaceful. “It can be quite emotional sometimes just to be able to do it and be in that place and just be happy with it.”