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Barely Normal: Bodysurfing with Great Whites in South Africa

2 min read

Bodysurf Shark South Africa

Ask anyone their greatest fear in the ocean and 9 times out of 10, you'll hear a shriek and the word SHARK

Now, imagine that there were actually dudes who actively sought out that exact experience, Bodysurfing with Sharks?  

I'd have to say that's Barely Normal...Let me introduce you to Luke,  Cape Town South African blogger & Bodysufer who thrives on extreme Man-Ventures.

Here's is story & He Lived to Tell about it...

There is a small town in Cape Town, called Fish Hoek. Most of the population is either over 65, or under 20, and a large proportion of the buildings are churches, schools, estate agents, and old age homes.

You get the idea- It’s a very picturesque village, with a mile long white sandy beach. The water is cold, but every morning you can see a dozen or so retirees go for their morning swim without wetsuits, so it’s not that cold.

The surf is also quite boring, with only a semi-consistent break at the far end of the beach, where the estuary flows out. In winter when the storms come the swell can jack up to a decent 4-6 foot, but often they just close out. Except by the river outlet. There the sand banks can create a near perfectly symmetrical wave that’s really close to the shore, and super fun to bodysurf.

There are only 2 small problems.

1.) Only a few kilometers away is a seal colony that provides sport/food for the 2nd largest breeding colony of Great Whites, in the world. It’s super famous as a place for capturing sharks launching out the water with helpless baby seals in their jaws.

2.) The river is filled with near pitch black silt, which turns most of the little bay a dark brown color. It’s so dark, that when you’re sitting on your surfboard, you can’t see your feet.

You have no idea how deep the water is, and you would have no idea if a 5.5m Great White Shark was underneath you.

When no fins have been spotted in a few days/hours, we’d dive into the shore break, and wait for the next set.

Everyone acts casual, but accidentally getting taken as a seal is on everyone’s mind. You can tell everyone is on high alert, when, from nowhere, an actual seal leaps out the water next to you, and you scream like a little girl. Every laughs, then go quiet.

At that point the question on everyone’s mind is “was the seal being playful, or was it trying to escaping something?”.

“I’m getting tired. Just going to chill on the beach for a bit.” Someone on my left says.

“Yeah, I need some water from the car, I’ll come out with you, bud.” Someone on my right replies.

At least twice it’s happened that when we were all walking back after our surf, someone would comment that they felt something rub against their leg in the water, but they didn’t want to alarm everyone else. Everyone goes quiet. 

Then almost at the same time two other people chime in: “Yeah, the exact thing happened to me to!”.

Shark Map Cape Town South Africa

Yikes! Needless to say the Slyde Summer Tour probably won't be making a stop in Fish Hoek South Africa this year.


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