Catch South African Waves and Feelings: Jellyfish Surf School

Cape Town has some of the best surf spots in the world, but before you get on a board, be sure you’re well equipped to handle those strong (and potentially colossal) South African waves.

This is where Jellyfish Surf School comes in. Owned and operated by 10-year surfing veteran Jelaine Rycroft, a.k.a. “Jellyfish” to those closest to her, Jellyfish Surf School will “create the REAL learn-to-surf experience where clients end their surf session feeling fulfilled with knowledge, confidence, and stoke for surfing”.

Originally from the Bluff in Durban, South Africa, Jelaine knows South African waters inside out. She grew up on the beach “boogie boarding foamies with goggles on my face” and naturally got hooked on surfing. At age 12, she took her very first lesson with Roxy Learn To Surf, and at 18 decided she wanted to pass along the knowledge and began teaching others because, according to her, “Sharing is caring, you know!”. It also granted her traveling opportunities and enabled her to be completely immersed in the culture.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Jellyfish Surf (@jellyfishsurf) on

Fast forward 10 years later, Jelaine is master of her craft. Her passion for this watersport is evident in her words. “Surfing is so much more than just riding the face of a wave. It is reading how swells form and break; how the sea bed affects these waves; paddling to get beyond the breakers; how to be a part of the surf crowd in a respectful and safe way; how to predict the wave you’re surfing on will react in the following split second to come; and how to surf accordingly.”

Surfing is not a one-and-done sport. She continues, “Surfing is a lifelong journey and we want to assist you along the way as best we can. Whether you’re a complete newbie to surfing and have never tried it before, or if you are a long-time intermediate and want a helping hand to take your surfing a step further, we are more than happy to guide you along the way.”

Jellyfish Surf School offers private and group lessons, or you can take advantage of the 4-lesson packages to save money because “learning to surf takes more than just one or two lessons to really get the hang of it”. Seasonal 2-day clinics are available too for beginners, improvers and intermediates, complete with a full weekend of surfing, video coaching, surf theory, filming, and merchandise.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Jellyfish Surf (@jellyfishsurf) on

And what is it about surfing off the coasts of Cape Town that gets surfers from all over the world so stoked? Jelaine explains, “Cape Town is majestic in its scenery with the Southern Cape mountain range and the wild Atlantic Ocean coastlines. There is always a wave around the Cape’s peninsula, so surfing is never impossible when you are staying nearby. It doesn’t matter what wind direction is blowing, or in which direction the swell is rolling in, you can always find a wave breaking somewhere.”

She can’t help but boast about her current hometown and goes on, “You could be surfing in (very) refreshing Atlantic waters amongst kelp and wild seals cruising nearby, allowing you to feel like you’re the only one in the whole ocean. Or you could be surfing in the warmer Indian Ocean with perhaps a penguin or two swimming close to you. It just depends which side of the peninsula’s coastline your adventure leads you to.”

The best time to catch waves? She says, “All year round. In summer (December – February), spots up the West Coast fire in predominant South-East winds making for some icy barrels, if you know where to look. In Winter (June – August), False Bay mainly fires in the winter North-Westerly winds.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Jellyfish Surf (@jellyfishsurf) on

She encourages other women who have never been on a board to take up surfing. “Just get out there and do it. There is no time like the now. You don’t want to put something off because perhaps you’re doubting yourself, and then years later you’re wishing for time back. If you have an excitable urge to try something new – listen to it. Do it and have fun!”

She also suggests to have a surf buddy and take lessons to learn the basics and build confidence. “This leads to more enjoyment which equals more surf time! I’ve also noticed most females prefer a female surf instructor as they feel more comfortable with a fellow woman guiding them with something new.”

This waterwoman doesn’t just teach women though; men and children are welcome, too! Whether you are a Cape Town resident or just visiting–imagine Table Mountain being your backdrop–you can get started on your personal surfing journey with Jellyfish Surf School by reaching out directly to Jelaine and her crew to sign up for lessons. You can also follow Jellyfish on Facebook and Instagram for the latest stoke.

Photo: Jellyfish Surf School