Whether it’s because of the kick-ass culture, the sweet gear or physical exhilaration, there has always been something seductive about surfing.

Being a surfer gives you automatic cool status, and living in a coastal city makes it even better. Not everyone in Cape Town is a surfer. Maybe you grew up in a landlocked city and never had the opportunity to learn. Maybe you recently overcame a deep fear of the ocean and are ready to face your fears. Whatever the reason, if you want to learn how to surf, Surf Life School has got you covered.


Surf Life embraces surfing as a lifestyle. It started in 2009 as a side project for Cornel Viljoen. In 2013, Surf Life School became an officially registered business. All of the coaches have BLS Medical First Aid & ISA Surf Instructor Level 1 qualifications which are internationally recognised, so you know you are in great hands. You can go for a once off surf lesson, or hone your skills with multiple lessons, either way, you will have a lot of fun, and look super cool!


The school operates between Muizenberg and Big Bay. The reason for this is Cape Town’s unpredictable weather. If the conditions are not suitable in Muizenberg, chances are it will be good at Big Bay. A more important reason for the mobile school is the convenience for their students from Durbanville. Big Bay is closer to Durbanville, and Surf Life did not want their students to drive too far for their lessons.


Surf Life keep their lessons small, so each student can get quality coaching. We asked Cornel what it is like for students who stand up on their board for the first time:

‘We have a celebration party when someone stands up on their surfboard for the first time. Hands fly up into the air and the biggest smiles come up across the student’s face and it is such a joy to witness. It’s like they won their first surf competition. Adrenaline kicks in and they get ready for their next wave. It’s an awesome feeling teaching someone something they have never done before or help them improve and you get to witness their accomplishments.’


Surf Life is not just your average surf school. They donate a portion of their profits to the A21 Campaign that fights human trafficking. Cornel chose the A21 campaign after learning about them at a conference in 2012. A21 helps rescue people who have been trafficked and help survivors with their new lives. Since Cornel wanted Surf Life to have a purpose, A21 was it. Everyone who attends Surf Life lessons is helping out A21 too.

Surf Life is passionate about people and surfing. Not only will you learn how to surf, you will become of an amazing community and help out a great cause.

When Monday to Saturday
Where Muizenburg or Big Bay
Cost R250–R1250 depending on the package
Contact +27 60 373 5171, [email protected], www.surflifesurfschool.com

Photography courtesy Cornel Viljoen and  Noëmi Kieser

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