The beach ban that most of South Africa has been experiencing since the 28th December has meant for some pretty depressing times – a lot of disgruntled surfers, saddened swimmers and also a lot of head scratching as people try and interpret the seemingly crazy rules and regulations. Just to be clear I’m not getting into the ‘Is the beach ban right or wrong’ debate here, I’m not stupid 😉 that’s a hot topic and I’ll leave that to the social media armchair warriors on Facebook and Twitter.
What I do want to touch is the plight of the surf schools on Muizenberg beach front, I spoke to a few of the surf schools at Surfers Corner and below are their responses:
Gary from Xpressions on the beach had this to say
Just as a start:
On the day after Cyril’s speech (28th December) – we cancelled 25 surf lessons plus a Penguin paddle for 6 pax at Boulders Beach, plus another 15 or so potential rentals. Since then it has been a constant cancellation of probably 8-10 lessons a day plus a further 20 rentals a day.
Matt Kleynhans from Garys Surf School
We generally running about between 5-10 lessons in a day just really depends on the conditions. It’s such a stuff up and this is really going to mess with our year moving forward.
Ant Scholte from Learn to Surf
We have had to refund thousands of rands worth of bookings!! The first 2 days of the new lockdown our Muiz school had overlapping lessons booked all day from 6am – 5pm. All of our surf schools are now sitting and waiting for beaches to reopen – or to be told that we can do watersports again but not gather on the beach (this was the rule in the last Level 3 lockdown).. Considering summer is the season that sees us through the winter months – this is really very very bad! I feel for the other tourism operators with large monthly overheads – this summer lockdown will very likely see them closing their doors..
As surfing is a sport where people naturally spread out in the water with safe social distancing – it seems ridiculous that we’re not allowed to continue to operate! (like dive schools and fisherman)
Many of our clients (from all over SA) had booked their summer holiday accommodation and surfing lessons (and other entertainment) and they cancelled their trips and requested refunds due to the beaches being closed.. This cost us dearly but must have cost accommodation providers and restaurants, etc a huge amount of income!! Our small coastal towns desperately needed this income after the lockdown earlier in the year!
Treknetters Have Access
The only people allowed access to the sandy beaches in Muizenberg seem to be the trek netters, local fisherman with commercial fishing permits – when the conditions are favourable they launch from Surfers Corner and fish for yellowtail
New daily COVID cases in the Western Cape are declining and the Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, has petitioned the national government to reopen the beaches and relax other restrictions that are currently in place. There has been on word as of yet, so the line-ups remain empty for now, but the local Muizenberg surfers are ready!