For some, surfing is just a fun water sport to take part in now and again, for others, it’s a lifestyle. It’s more than simply getting in the water and riding the first wave. It’s like therapy. With surfing, you can take your time clearing your mind and body of any and all negative energy and simply enjoy life in the moment. Simply letting go while calmly sitting on the azure waters of the Mother City is a feeling only a surfer knows.

We decided to have a chat with our surf instructors at Stoked on why they choose to surf, how they started, and what their favourite surfing spots are in Cape Town and other parts of Africa.


Stoked Surf Guide & Instructor: Michelle

How Long Have You Been Surfing?

18 years

What’s Your Favourite Spot?

I love surfing various spots along the West Coast for two reasons  there are plenty of lefts (and I am a goofy-footer) and the quiet, sparsity of the coastline is food for the soul.

Where do You Think New Surfers Could Have the Most Fun?

Muizies (nickname locals love to use for Muizenberg) is always a great way to start surfing. The water is often a few degrees ‘warmer’ than the Atlantic, the waves are generally gentle and the ocean bottom is sandy. 

However, Big Bay can also offer really fun learning conditions — one just needs to be sure not to venture there when the swell is too big, as it can then be a bit of a rough ride for beginners. 

The key to improving one’s surfing is to not get ‘stuck’ surfing easy waves and to progress out of your comfort zone to other more challenging spots (with guidance from a more skilled friend or coach of course) as your surfing improves.

Where Did You First Surf?

I first stood up on a wave in Muizenberg on my friend’s Dad’s home-made board from the ’60s wearing a wetsuit from a similar era. Needless to say, that first wave changed my life forever… I soon quit my job to work and travel around the globe surfing amazing places.

What’s Your Favourite Off-the-Beaten-Track Wave to Surf and Why? 

A wave on the South Coast of KZN. The spot needs a few factors to be in sync to produce incredible, rippable waves from the right phase of the moon, perfect amount of sand, a very specific swell direction and swell height and light offshore winds. I have been lucky enough to score it for two years in a row. And look forward to getting back up there again soon.


Stoked Surf Guide: David 

How Long Have You Been Surfing?

40 years

What’s Your Favourite Spot?

The reefs around Kommetjie because of the varied and exciting waves they offer. 

Where do You Think New Surfers Could Have the Most Fun?

An uncrowded beach that suits their surfing level which would provide the best chance for maximum waves and stoke.

Where Did You First Surf?

My earliest memories of standing up on a board were ‘skurfing’ behind my Dad’s boat on the Keurboomsriver in Plettenberg Bay over December holidays at the age of 6 years old. Since then, it’s been 40 years of many waves across West and East Coasts of South Africa.

What’s Your Favourite Off-the-Beaten-Track Wave to Surf and Why? 

Not telling… but somewhere where I would only take one or two surfing buddies to enjoy the incredible waves and the solitude.


Stoked Surf Instructor: Jack

How Long Have You Been Surfing?

40 years

What’s Your Favourite Spot?

The reefs around Kommetjie because of the varied and exciting waves they offer. 

Where do You Think New Surfers Could Have the Most Fun?

An uncrowded beach that suits their surfing level which would provide the best chance for maximum waves and stoke.

Where Did You First Surf?

My earliest memories of standing up on a board were ‘skurfing’ behind my Dad’s boat on the Keurboomsriver in Plettenberg Bay over December holidays at the age of 6 years old. Since then, it’s been 40 years of many waves across West and East Coasts of South Africa.

What’s Your Favourite Off-the-Beaten-Track Wave to Surf and Why? 

Not telling… but somewhere where I would only take one or two surfing buddies to enjoy the incredible waves and the solitude.


Stoked Surf Instructor: Jack

How Long Have You Been Surfing?

I started surfing when I started my last year of primary school. That was in 2013 so around 7 years ago. But I do surf almost every day so that’s why it feels like I’ve been surfing my entire life! 

What’s Your Favourite Spot?

My favourite spot is DEFINITELY Supertubes in Jeffreys Bay. The wave is so perfect and so fast that the thrill is amazing. 

Where do You Think New Surfers Could Have the Most Fun?

I think Muizenberg is the perfect wave for beginners because you can get a long ride and the wave is very easy to surf. Everyone loves Muizenberg no matter their surf level. 

Where Did You First Surf?

My first experience surfing was at Muizenberg. I had an 8ft minimal and I could catch any foamy I wanted and could ride the wave because of how stable the minimal was. 

What’s Your Favourite Off-the-Beaten-Track Wave to Surf and Why? 

Last year I had the opportunity to venture down the south coast of KZN. The waves down there are insane and there are so few people in the area. Also, another bonus is how warm the water is compared to Cape Town. I am really excited to go back there and try some other waves in the area. 


Stoked Surf Instructor: Henri

How Long Have You Been Surfing?

I’ve been surfing regularly for approximately five years now.

What’s Your Favourite Spot?

Tofinho Beach in Mozambique.

Where do You Think New Surfers Could Have the Most Fun?

Any beach that is easy and spacious, as long as they abide by the surf “law” they’ll have fun.

Muizenberg is a good spot!

Where Did You First Surf?

At my grandparents’ beach house when I was about 10 years old in Kleinmond.

What’s Your Favourite Off-the-Beaten-Track Wave to Surf and Why? 

It’s a town in Mozambique I stayed in for about two years called Tofo and they have a couple of good spots there. 

It has everything from absolute beginner to advanced and even pro. It’s tropical water, so nice and clear and warm! The locals there are super welcoming and it’s just an absolute sick spot to surf.


Stoked Surf Instructor: Gabe

How Long Have You Been Surfing?

10 years

What’s Your Favourite Spot?

There’s a slab out on the east coast with two-barrel sections and plenty of space to do turns. Graveyards need a spring high and can work on almost any size. Definitely my best wave yet.

Where do You Think New Surfers Could Have the Most Fun?

Muizenberg, Cape Town is an amazing mellow wave where beginners have plenty of time to stand and still get space to ride. There are a couple of others but nothing else quite compares.

Where Did You First Surf?

My first surf was at Robberg Beach, Plettenberg Bay. My mate’s dad had a board at the beach and asked if I wanted to give it a go.

What’s Your Favourite Off-the-Beaten-Track Wave to Surf and Why? 

My favourite waves must be on the Wild Coast, super isolated with only a couple of cows and crayfish to keep us company. It’s all about the mission getting there, through rough roads and rural villages early on a cold morning, to jumping into warm Indian Ocean water infested with sea life everything from sea turtles to whales. 

Watching endless lines run empty for hundreds of meters down toward the beach and getting to experience this with only a few best mates. It’s gotta be my favourite way to surf!


Stoked Surf Instructor: Tam

How Long Have You Been Surfing?

+-10 years

What’s Your Favourite Spot?

Muizenberg  I think it’s misrepresented as a crowded beginner spot among the surf community when really it’s the best longboard wave in CPT.

Where do You Think New Surfers Could Have the Most Fun?

Muizenberg  even a bad day is a good day!

Where Did You First Surf?

Big Bay  surf movies got me itching to become a surfer, so I bought a board, took it out by myself, watched an instructor give a lesson and tried to copy that  the waves were ankle-high and I surfed on my knees but that was enough for the surf bug to bite!

What’s Your Favourite Off-the-Beaten-Track Wave to Surf and Why? 

I mostly surf popular spots but for the sake of answering the question I’ll mention I once surfed Small Bay  this is surprising as it never gets waves except for one rare day that a friend and I were lucky enough to come across a small rolling wave at sunset.


Seems like our instructors fell in love with local waters and have been riding waves almost their whole life. Now it’s your turn.

If you’d like to experience surfing waves at local beaches like Muizenburg or Big Bay feel free to book your next surfing lesson with Stoked School of Surf. We offer both private and group lessons, your preference. Get in touch with our Stoked surf team and book your spot to start learning how to surf on beautiful Cape Town waves.



Offering a fun experience in a safe environment has always been our priority at Stoked School of Surf. During this time of COVID-19, we have introduced additional health and safety operational procedures to ensure the safety of our staff and clients at all times. We have spent time consulting business owners from surf school operations around the globe in countries where surf schools are currently open for business again after their respective lockdowns, and along with their guidance formulated our own set of protocols suited to our business. When beaches are open and we are legally allowed to operate again, we will be following these protocols below along with the updated government guidelines for leisure activities (these are updated regularly):

1. Screening prior to attendance:

Contactless temperature readings will be taking place at the beach. No one with a temperature of higher than 37.5 deg Celcius will be permitted to take part.

Clients (and staff) will be requested stay home if they have a fever or flu-like symptoms. See our T’s and C’s should this be the case.

2. Online Indemnity:

Indemnity forms to be completed online prior to the lesson. 

3. Contactless Payment Methods:

All payment to be done upfront online via our website, payment gateway (PayGate) or via EFT. Cash payments are NOT encouraged.

4. Contact Tracing:

All records of customer/staff interactions will be kept to enable accurate contact tracing if required.

5. Check in, personal hygiene and PPE:

Participants are encouraged to arrive at check-in already wearing their swimwear to avoid the use of public communal change rooms. Upon meeting your coach at check-in, participants will have their temperature checked and be requested to sanitize their hands with the sanitizer provided. Face masks to be worn upon check-in and during gear allocation. If participants are not in possession of a facemask, they can be purchased from us at the beach for R60 each. On busy days, we will ensure a staggered check-in process to ensure minimal interaction between different groups of participants. Participants are to bring their own towels, sunscreen and waterbottles. Sharing of such personal items is discouraged. Participants and staff are discouraged to not emit any nasal and respiratory secretions on land or in the water where possible.

6. Gear allocation:

Gear will be packed out and arranged per participant according to the sizing given to us upon booking. The gear participants are allocated at the start, remains their gear for the entirety of the surf/SUP experience. Gear may not be shared/swopped with other participants. Rashvests WILL NOT be used at this time, since these need to be fitted over the face. Only surf school wetsuits that zip up from the back will be allowed to be used.

7. Social distancing:

We encourage participants to book private lessons for family/friends from the same household. We will ensure social distancing is maintained throughout the lesson between participants and staff. Group sizes will be kept to a maximum of 5 participants per coach. Fortunately, surfing and SUPing by nature, is a sport where social distancing needs to be followed to ensure safety in the water. During our land session, your coach will advise on seating/standing arrangements to ensure the spatial regulations are met. These distancing guidelines will also be adhered to in the water.

8. Post- surf socialising:

Whilst under normal circumstances, hanging out after a surf/SUP session is very much a part of the Stoked School of Surf experience, we will unfortunately not encourage this during this time. Once gear is returned, clients will be greeted and staff will leave the beach asap for Head Quarters. 

9. Gear return after the session:

Upon completion of the surf/SUP experience, clients will be required to return their used gear directly to the allocated gearboxes themselves i.e. staff may not handle used wetsuits at the beach.

10. Cleaning/Disinfecting:

All equipment is thoroughly cleaned/disinfected after each use to remove any possible harmful germs before and after each use/hire. Staff will use PPE during this process to avoid any possible direct contact with used gear. Wetsuits will be hung up in the sunshine to dry when possible.

The ocean and it’s negative ions, sunshine and salt is SO GOOD for you. Please join us for a healthy dose of Vitamin D and Vitamin Sea and enjoy one of our Locals Lockdown Deals as a couple, family or group of friends when regulations allow us to operate again. 



If you are looking to keep yourself busy after you enjoyed your stoked surfing lessons, Blouberg is truly the place to explore, filled with exciting and exhilarating activities. 

Whether you’re a tourist or a local from Cape Town and want to continue having fun in the magnificent Mother City, then make your way to Blouberg and enjoy the amazing views and activities that await you.


Get to Know Blouberg a Bit

Did you know that Robben Island is situated approximately 7 km off the coastline from Bloubergstrand? This famous location is where South Africa’s first black president, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, was imprisoned for 27 years fighting for freedom for his fellow South- Africans. The island is also known as one of the most popular tourist attractions in South Africa and is one of South Africa’s National Heritage Sites.  

That’s not all, Blouberg is well-known for its restaurants and fun activities that are perfect for the whole family to enjoy. Take part in activities like kite surfing, Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUP), and Paramotoring for those explorers that like to have fun in the water. 

For the more relaxed and romantic type, Blouberg serves the most beautiful sunsets and scenery for beach-walks with your partner. There are unending ocean views to gaze over and reminisce with your loved ones or you can watch the waves break into the rocks, whilst enjoying FrozenYO from the Famous Yoghurt Truck on the Blouberg Shoreline. 

Blouberg also brings shopping convenience to your doorstep with places like Eden On the Bay Mall, the shopping centre that seems to have it all. Here you can find 14 different boutiques, health and beauty places, restaurants and café, picnic spots, and coffee shops. The mall is also pet-friendly so you may bring your furry friends along for a day out and about.  

Let’s have a look at the surrounding places in and around Blouberg that can keep your wild and adventurous spirit happy.


Places to Visit in Blouberg

Blouberg is as magical as its surroundings, located on the shores of Table View, this picture-perfect landmark is surrounded by the most popular suburbs in Cape Town. 

Here is a break-down of the nearby places and what you can do in and around the area. 


Ons Huisie

One of Cape Town’s top-rated restaurants, Ons Huisie (Our Small Home) is a popular eatery located in Bloubergstrand and offers an ocean view while having breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

Ons Huisie is also an internationally recognised heritage site. The restaurant is pet friendly, provides traditional West Coast cuisine, and provides an amazing view of Robben Island and the Atlantic Ocean.

Blue Peter

The Lighthouse restaurant (more commonly known as Blue Peter), the restaurant/hotel is a must-visit for something to eat and drink in Blouberg. 

On the lower deck, the establishment has a pub-style, relaxed atmosphere, whereas the top has a more classic atmosphere to really wine and dine.


Shopping & Other Entertainment

Bayside Mall

If you’re a bit tired of being out and about in the sun, Bayside Mall is a great option to visit. Located in the heart of Blouberg, the  Bayside Mall offers a variety of services and entertainment including clothing stores, restaurants, cafés, eight cinemas, and a food court.

You’ll also be able to stock up on healthy requirements at specialised shops or spoil yourself (or a loved one) at the mall’s jewellery stores.

Killarney Motor Racing Complex

If you want more of an adrenaline rush after you have finished your stoked surfing lesson, then Killarney Motor Racing Complex must be included on your to-do list. 

Grab a few friends and race around on Killarney’s race track in a Formula One car. If that is not enough, you get training experience to upskill yourself and have a head-to-head race with your personalised number plate against others. 

Here you can watch races including stock cars, drag racing, karting, super motards, and motocross.

Studio 46

More of the artsy type? Then you’ll love Studio 46. Here you can expect to find an exhibition of work done by local artists including painters, crafters, sculptures, photographers, and jewellery designers. 


Beach Side

Dolphin Beach

Located in Table View, Blouberg, Dolphin Beach is about 20 minutes away from the city centre. The beach is a popular hangout because of its wind conditions that are perfect for watersports like kite surfing.

Dolphin beach also offers a breathtaking view of Table Mountain, so remember to have your camera on hand when exploring the area.

Big Bay & Little Bay

Big Bay Beach is divided into two beaches, Big Bay and Little Bay, by a rocky point. The beach is mostly known for its awesome watersports fun including surfing, wind-surfing, and kite surfing, attracting hundreds of people from all over. The area constantly hosts annual competitions where men and women from the watersports community participate for excited spectators.

When you’re on the beach, you have plenty of room to explore the stretches of sand as well as a beautiful view of Table Mountain. As you already know, the water at Big Bay is chilly but remains a hotspot for creating great memories with friends, family, and partners.

The beachfront is filled with a variety of dining options and shops where you’ll be able to wine and dine with a spectacular Cape Town sunset.

Some popular places include:

  • Moyo – Popular for its amazing cocktails and artsy face painting.

  • Eden on the Bay – This is another popular spot located within Big Bay filled with lovely restaurants (including Moyo), Eden Café Restaurant (great for a quick brunch), and Primi (perfect if you love pizza or pasta).

  • The Big Bay Waffle Company– Here you’ll find the best Belgian waffles in SA.



Blaauwberg Nature Reserve

A nature lover? The Blaauweberg Nature Reserve (BBNR)is a great place to explore Cape Town’s beautiful natural elements as well as other historical and cultural sights.

The nature reserve’s vision is to protect the unique diversity of the natural, cultural, historical resources available in the area to ensure present and future generations are able to enjoy it as well.

SANCCOB Seabird Rehabilitation Centre

The Seabird Rehabilitation Centre is a non-profit organisation whose main focus is to help ensure there isn’t a decline in Africa’s seabird populations. They rescue, rehabilitate, and release injured, oiled, and abandoned seabirds, including the endangered African penguin.

Blouberg with its surroundings is filled with various activities and sights that can keep the entire family busy and entertained. You can have loads of fun after you stoked surfing experience anywhere in Blouberg. 


Learn to Surf

Come and share our passion for surfing by booking your surf lesson (or surf camp) with Stoked School of Surf. We’ll ensure you know your way around the board and the beautiful Cape Town waters. Get in touch to book your lesson or browse our blog to read up on surfing!



As you’re already pumped to get started with your first (or maybe 10th surf lesson), you can easily forget to do some warm up exercises to ensure your body is primed and ready for the action to come. 

Warming up before you get on your surfboard is crucial for preventing your risk of injury, as well as improving your performance on your board.


Importance and Benefits of Warming Up

There are a few benefits of warming up before any type of physical activity, such as:

Improved Performance

During exercise, the blood flow to your muscles increases by 75%. This ensures the capillaries (or blood vessels) open up, allowing your muscles’ temperature top increase. As a result, more oxygen is released which will help you perform better on your board.

Improved Oxygen

When you are working out or taking part in any physically demanding activity, your muscles require oxygen. When you’re warming up, the oxygen is released more easily.

Improved Blood Flow

When you warm up for about ten minutes, your blood vessels open up, this will help put less stress on your heart.

Increase Muscle Contraction

During a warm up, your body’s temperature rises which helps improve nerve transmission and your muscle metabolism, which results in better performance.

Preventing Injury

Warm muscles contract and release better, reducing your risk of injury. 


During a warm up, your body produces more hormones, like cortisol, which helps regulate your body’s energy production.

Focus Your Thoughts

During the warm up, your mind will start to focus more on the activity at hand, thus ensuring you’re focused when you’re ready to start with your surf lesson.


Dynamic Warm up

Dynamic warm ups are a great way to effectively warm up your muscles and are usually better than static stretching. With dynamic stretching, you stretch through a range of motion.

At Stoked, our surf instructors incorporate a few dynamic stretches in the warm up.

To start, our learners will do a short jog to get their blood pumping. Then we’ll form a circle and do the following:

  • Arm swings

  • Leg swings

  • Ankle rotations

  • Arm stretches

  • Jog in one place

  • Upper body rotations

  • Bodyweight squats

  • Neck rolls/stretching


We try to include various warm up exercises to ensure we warm up our bodies from our heads to our toes!


In conclusion, ensuring you properly prepare your body for an intense exercise like surfing, you’ll decrease your chances of obtaining an injury, like pulling a muscle! 

Remember to cool down as well to allow your heart rate to get back to normal. Try walking at a slow pace on the beach or do some static stretches.


Start Surfing

Want to take your first surfing lesson? Our team at Stoked School of Surf will ensure you have an unforgettable surf experience! Get in touch to book your lessons.



So you’ve just finished your surf lesson with Stoked School of Surf, now what? What is there to do after learning how to surf? 

Muizenberg aka ‘Berg, is one of Cape Town’s most popular beaches because of its friendly waves and great swimming spots. The beach is also a popular spot for beginner surfers because of its generally calmer and warmer wateryou might already be hesitant to get on your board, never mind jumping into cold water!

The beach is located on False Bay, which is a large, curved coastline with long, white sandy beaches and even longer, rolling waves when the conditions are right. In the past, False Bay was mistaken for Table Bay by sailors, which is how it earned it’s name ‘False Bay’.

Now that we’ve told you a bit about the beach, it’s time to tell you about a few things you can do in Muizenberg after your surf lesson.


If You’re in the Mood for Food…

Knead Bakery & Café

After a surf lesson, there are guaranteed whale sounds originating from your abdominal area, right? A surf lesson can definitely make anyone ravenous for some good grub.

The Knead Bakery & Café located on Surfer’s Corner is the ultimate chic café with some great food and maybe a warm cup of coffee after swimming in cold water.

You’ll be able to watch the waves roll in through the café’s glass-enclosed patio, ensuring you have a view with your lunch.

Check out the café.


Yoffi Falafel

If you’re in the mood for some Middle Eastern food, Yoffi Falafel is yet another local favourite to visit in Muizenberg. Here you can order deliciously fresh falafels (in a pita or on a plate), falafel burgers, hummus plates, falafel balls, salad tubs, and more.

If you want something to drink, they also have a wide variety of options ranging from kombucha to ginger beer.

Check out the restaurant.


Hang Ten Café

Vegans listen up! Muizenberg caters to everyone! Situated in Surfer’s Corner in Muizenberg, Hang Ten Café has been crafting delicious food and beverages for over four years. The café puts focus on preparing wholesome food for locals and tourists. 

For some lovely vegan-friendly meals, gluten-free, grass-fed meat options, as well as vegetarian options, head on over to Hang Ten Cafe.

Check out the café.


The Striped Horse

After your lesson, you’re guaranteed to be thirsty, right?

Another favourite amongst locals is The Striped Horse beach bar and grill. Here you can expect ice-cold draft beer, some good grub, and great music.  

Check out the beach bar & grill.


If You’re in the Mood for Discovering…

The Corner Surf Shop

Why not catch up on some surf history after your lesson at one of the oldest surf shops in Cape Town. 

With stock ranging from both imported and local surfboards to wetsuits, bikinis, and other trendy clothing, the shop has it all. You can also check out the shop’s museum showcasing a collection of vintage surfboards.

The Corner Surf Shop was first opened in July 1971 in Clarendon Lane, Muizenberg. The shop’s founder, Peter Wright, had resigned from his job at a shipping company in Cape Town and was going to join his friend, Clive’s, business. However, Clive’s business had closed down and Peter had to think of another solution. 

His solution? Start building surfboards for himself and his friends. Peter was building boards at his parent’s home in Kommetjie but after a while, he was forced to look for a different location to build his boards, thus after a few years of ups and downs, Peter found the perfect place for his shop, and so The Corner Surf Shop was born. 

Check out the shop’s full history.


The Surfer’s Circle Walk of Fame

Once just a mere traffic circle located in Surfer’s Corner, now a circle honoring surf history.

Surfer’s Circle will allow everyone to celebrate the culture and heritage of South African surfing. 

A Little History

Did you know that the first South African surfer ever recorded riding a wave while standing up, was a woman? Heather Price is the lady that made history!

Heather rode the first wave in Muizenberg in 1919, after befriending two US Marines that had docked in Cape Town, on their way back home, after World War 1. The marines had wooden surfboards, which Heather used to learn how to surf.  

If You’re in the Mood for Shopping…

Blue Bird Garage Market

Are you in the mood for a bit of everything ranging from food to art to drinks? At the Blue Bird Garage Market, you’ll find it all.

Also known as the “Friday Market’, Blue Bird comes to life on Friday evenings, starting at 4 pm and ending around 10 pm.

With vendors from surrounding towns, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase local goods that are proudly South African.

Check out the market.


FEAT. sock co. 

Are you a sock collector or maybe you love funky designs? Visit the FEAT. sock co. shop in Muizenberg, for some awesome socks!

FEAT. sock co.offers various socks designs ranging from pets to wildlife, accommodating socks for kids, ladies, and men. They even have neat little pouches and gift boxes available.

Check out the store.


Palmer Road Market

Palmer Road in Muizenberg has been in business since 1920 and has had countless traders as the years pass by. 

You’ll have countless shopping options ranging from food, art, craft, and other fun activities!

The market brings the street alive with entertainment and has a night market as well for those of you who are night owls. 


Now that you know about all the things you’re able to do after your surf lesson at Muizenberg, don’t be afraid to explore the beach.


Want to Learn How to Surf?

We offer various surf lessons ranging from private to group lessons. If you already know how to surf, just don’t know where to go, we also offer guided surf experiences and for those a little more apprehensive of waves, we offer a flatwater SUP paddle on the Atlantic Seaboard. Get in touch to make your booking



Finding that perfect surfboard is easier said than done as the generic factory-made boards most likely won’t meet your unique surfing needs. Just as some teenagers need their prom dress to be tailored to suit their unique body shape or some car fanatics want their car to stand out with a special bumper or custom artwork, so do some surfers require their boards to be a bit more unique.

So, if you’ve already tried every board in the shop, it might be time to think about getting in touch with your local surfboard builder and let them construct your custom board.

For hundreds of years, surfboards were constructed from nothing but wood, with the board stained with natural plant oils. They were big, heavy, and plain-looking.

In modern times, boards are made from various materials to help withstand the force from the waves and although various materials go into the making of a surfboard, it still needs to be light, buoyant, and strong.

Let’s delve into the bigger questions; how exactly is a surfboard made? What materials are used? How does it get its shape? How can it withstand the force of the waves?

Follow along as we take a behind-the-scenes look at how a modern-day surfboard is made in this interview with hand shaper Lyndon Read from Lyndon Read Surfboards.


Manufacturing Process

Client Brief

Most projects begin with a brief. In this case, the shaper and client would meet to discuss the specifications for the build of the board. Not only are the board dimensions discussed but also the surfer’s body dimensions, stance, experience level, and types of waves to be surfed.

Below, Lyndon takes a look at a form filled in by a client on what exactly they want to have in their surfboard. The form includes fields like tail shape, rail type, length, width, and thickness of the board, etc.

Basic Canvas

In order to start building the surfboard, the shaper makes use of a moulded piece of foam called a “blank”. This will be the core of the surfboard that will be shaped, glassed, and polished resulting in a finished surfboard.

A blank is roughly formed in a surfboard-shaped blown mould. Inside the mould, polyurethane chemicals are poured which forms a thick, white foam resulting in the “foam core”.

Commonly the blank is made of two foam halves, running from the nose to the tail. Sandwiched between these halves is a thin wooden stringer (about 5 mm wide) which helps provide strength to the board but still allowing flexibility.



Using an electric planer, the shaper uses his trained eye to remove excess foam from the blank until it is the ideal thickness. Constantly refining the contour and ensuring there are no uneven bumps on the surface of the board.

See as Lyndon planes the blank below with an electric planer.

When the board is the right thickness, the surfboard builder then uses a hand plane and sandpaper to further shape the board’s surface and sides.

Below are a few shots of Lyndon checking the board’s thickness and further smoothing it down by hand.

Once the shaper has completed the process of making the blank bump-free, the blank is then measured and the outline of the surfboard is drawn on for the actual surfboard to be cut.

According to Lyndon, what makes his work different than other shapers, is that he makes use of multiple shapes to create a new, unique shape for his clients. 

Below you can see him make measurements for when he needs to start cutting out the board. The board needs to be a length of 5’11” and a width of 19”, which was specified by the client on the order form.

After all the measurements are done, Lyndon starts cutting out the board with a hand saw. This is a tiring job and can become quite tricky when it comes to the head and tail areas.

After the cutting process, the board is then smoothed down again to get rid of the rough bumps created by the saw. 

Below you can see the blank taking its final surfboard shape.


Before the final stage of glassing comes into play, the board builder will typically add personalisation to the board to make it more unique for the client.

Lyndon typically adds his signature to the board along with other details like the client’s name, the date the board was created, its size, and also what type of glassing is used.


The next part can become quite a sticky mess. “Glassing” refers to the whole process of sealing the core of the surfboard with fibreglass and resin. 

The first step is laminating the foam core with fibreglass cloth and resin. Board builders typically make use of Epoxy resin as it’s less toxic when used to build the surfboard, and it makes the board stronger and more flexible. This type of resin is generally used with EPS foam cores but is also used on foam cores containing Polyurethane.

Below is the space where Lydon places a board that’s ready to be glassed.

Now that we finally know the process of building a surfboard and what diligent work goes into such a project, follow along our conversation with Lyndon Read, local, handmade-surfboard builder.


Interview with Lyndon Read Surfboards

Why would someone consider a custom-built surfboard over a factory-made one?

“Because they’re looking for a specific requirement from the board. Most of my clients are looking for a very unique board for unique conditions. Some people will want a longboard but a certain type of longboard for Muizenberg. Then they’ll want to use the same board for riding the Inner Kom, which is at Kommetjie. I’ve got to create a board that can actually handle both of those waves. The one is very flat and forgiving, while the other is quite steep, round, and very fast. It’s a little left that runs really quickly and is quite steep. The rails need to be rolled a certain way so that it can handle that wave but then also a pleasure when  surfing at ‘Berg.” 

Is it difficult making the board work for both situations?

“It is kind of tricky. When you’re shaping you’ve got to mentally simulate the actual riding of the board and how it’ll perform in those waves. That’s what I do with every single board I shape. Sometimes people want a stock standard board with the focus being on custom artwork. But I always do my own tweaking to the shaping of the board.

For a beginner, I will put things in like a big single concave which is almost like training wheels on a bicycle. As they improve, the concave actually starts coming into play. But when they’re still at beginner-level, it actually helps them stabilise.” 

What is your ethos for building boards?

“I think I want to achieve the ultimate lifestyle. And that’s the end goal. The ultimate lifestyle would be to travel around locally and internationally, from Cape Town to Durban to Mozambique. I’ve always wanted to go to places like Sri Lanka, Morocco, and Brazil. Ideally, I’d like to create a base in Europe and the States and move between them. I’d like to work as a guest shaper.” 

Do you see that happening in the next few years?

“In the next three years, definitely. I’ve already started establishing connections overseas with other shapers who have been asking me to come over. I am committing the next two to three years solidifying my platform here before branching out further.”

How long does it take to build a board?

“It takes about three hours shaping the board, about one to two hours doing the artwork, and about three hours glassing. It can be built in a day but typically it’s about two weeks.”

What are the steps to build a surfboard from scratch?

“The customer will come to me and ask me to make them a board. We then fill out an order form. I ask for full payment upfront upon receipt of my invoice. Once payment is received I schedule the manufacture of their board into my calendar. With this money, I purchase the blank, fibreglass cloth, resin, fin-, and leash plugs along with specifics to the artwork. I don’t supply fins with my boards as these are expensive and often the customer has a preference. 

“Once I’ve bought the blank, I start the process of shaping. Followed by artwork, simple artwork can take an hour and a half to two hours, where complicated artwork can take up to four hours to do.”

Do you glass the boards yourself?

“I don’t outsource my boards for glassing and finishing, I do everything myself. I do the entire process from A-Z. In the surf industry, you’ll find that most shapers don’t glass or sand their shapes. With most of the shapers I know, they’ll shape the board and send the board away for artwork or have an artist come in to do it. Then it goes to somebody else for laminating and there’s somebody else who glasses the board. Hopefully, it’s a surfer but generally, it’s not.

There’s a huge technique to glassing a board. When you’re riding a surfboard, and you’re a good surfer, you want your board to flex in certain ways. You want your board to be very responsive under your feet. Most surfboard factories have labourers working that have never surfed in their lives before. They don’t understand the fundamentals of glassing a surfboard. And that’s why, I think, being a custom shaper (custom board builder is actually what I am) is very beneficial to my clients. They’re not getting a surfboard that they can just go buy off the shelf.” 

Do you make space for the fins?

“So, you buy things that are called “fin plugs” and then sink them into the board. Then you glass over that.”

What materials do you use?

“There are two types of foams predominantly used; polyurethane and polystyrene. Polyurethane is laminated with polyester or epoxy resin while polystyrene can only be laminated with epoxy resin. When glassing the bottom deck, either a 4 or 6 ounce fiberglass cloth would be used. The top deck would also be glassed with a 4 or 6 ounce fiberglass cloth. The fiberglass cloth would vary in its combinations of ounces and layers for the decks. For example; I like to do strong laminating – on the bottom deck I use 1 layer of 6 ounce and a double layer patch over the fin boxes. This would make the fin box area 12 ounce. On the top deck, I use a double layer of 6 ounce on the entire deck. This would make the top deck 12 ounce.”

“The more solid one is the polyurethane and the bubbly one is the polystyrene.”

How long have you been building boards? Did you teach yourself?

“The first board that I ever made was with my brother and I was about 13 or 14 years old. This is my first memory of building boards and me helping him. ” 

Where is your favourite spot to surf?

“Kalk Bay Reef.”

How do people approach you to design a surfboard? 

“Word of mouth or Instagram.” 

Do you get requests from people from overseas?

“A lot of my customers are foreigners. I do have a lot of South Africans who can afford my boards and who do want my boards but the majority are German, French, and Dutch tourists. I’ve been shaping for nearly 20 years, in that time I’ve made a wide variety of boards for a wide variety of people and nationalities.

Tourists come to South Africa for three months. They’ll arrive and order a board. Generally and depending on my workload they will get their board in about two to three weeks. They surf during their surf holiday and then take it back home with them. Sometimes they’ll order two to three boards, take them back home and sell off two boards that help pay for their trip.”

Do you test the boards or let your customers test them? And have people bought back a surfboard because it didn’t “work” for them?

“No. I’ve never had anybody come back to me with that issue. When I hand over the board I tell my customers that the board has taken two to three weeks for me to make but it needs another two weeks of curing time after I’ve glassed it. I tell them not to surf it because it will either get a dent or they could potentially break it in half.”

If you’d like to follow Lyndon Read on his journey shaping all sorts of boards for clients, then follow him on Instagram, with his handle, @lyndonreadsurfboards, or Facebook


If you’re interested in picking up a new hobby or finding your passion in life, Stoked School of Surf offers various lessons for surfers of all ages. From surf camps in Cape Town, to Stand Up Paddling (SUP) lessons, we have it all. Get in touch to receive your stoked experience