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LONG BEACH, the place where the best show their performance.

Long Beach, Kommetjie, Cape Town

Photographs by: Alan Van Gysen

Long Beach offers a wide range of conditions, and it takes a lot of experience to get it wired. Shifty and peaky, you can always rely on the left that breaks slightly to the left of the ablution block when you face out to sea. On the high tide, the swell can come right up, almost to the shorebreak, making for a close-view spectacle, and thick, meaty but short waves. On the low tide, you can have peaks all over the show. There’s even waves in front of the pebbles. That’s called Pebbles, of course, but they are in reality boulders, round and slippery. On big days, it can be a bit of a lottery, with outside sets marching in from all directions. Because this spot faces almost due north, the SW wind is offshore here, making it one of few spots that handle this wind. The direction it faces also means that the prevailing SW swell direction arrives on the other side of the coast - the exposed western shoreline of Kommetjie - and has to bend all the way around a cluster of intermittent outside reefs, making almost a U turn to reach the break.

Spots that rely on refraction for their waves are blessed by much cleaner lines approaching the spot because the messiness and peakiness of a storm swell, for instance, has been stripped out. Only the waves with the most underlying energy are the ones that are powerful enough to do all that work to reach the spot, which can mean waves of better quality when other spots are windblown and messy.

When it's good, Long Beach is a super fun lefthander with a bowling inside section that ends with a freight train closeout.

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