Dungeons – Hout Bay, South Africa
Dungeons is a big wave that can keep up with the rest of them. This right-hand break is known for its power and ability to scare visitors away once they look at it. Dungeons is a deep reef break with a couple of sections off the main break. The first main section is known as the slab; this is where you will most likely see people surfing when the surf isn’t too big. It has a great barrel section and a pretty intense take-off spot. The next section to be familiar with is the two-point-five section, named after the two and a half meters of water between the surfer and what lies beneath; this is the section that you see in most photos. The last spot is known as Washburn’s Peak. This is where the bigger sets tend to roll in, but not very frequently. Definitely worth the wait if you’re up for it.
Dungeons tow-in surfing:
Dungeons is located in Hout Bay, South Africa near Cape Town. It is one of the best and prettiest places to visit in the Cape Peninsula region. Getting to the break is not an easy task, seeing as there is a mountain you have to go over in order to get there. The best way is to grab a boat out of the bay for a direct ride to the break.
Swell & Weather Conditions
The weather in this area is decent. The air temperature is usually moderate year-round and the water temperature doesn’t really ever drop below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Dungeons will perform best at a low to medium tide and requires a nice west or southwest swell for best results. As far as winds go, you’re going to want either an offshore wind or no wind at all. Other than that, the only other advice would be to plan your trip when there’s a 15-foot-plus swell, because that’s when it really starts working for you.
If you’re going down just to watch, all you’ll need is a nice boat to relax on, but if you’re planning on surfing, you’d better plan accordingly. Most boards used at Dungeons are in the 10-foot range, so make sure to bring the big guns. A wetsuit is going to be necessary for the somewhat cold water, and if you are into tow-in surfing, make sure to bring your gear. Tow-in surfing is pretty common these days at Dungeons.
The history of Dungeons began when surfers Pierre De Villiers and Peter Button got brave enough to paddle out to this massive break and conquer it. These guys made their maiden voyage in the early 1980s, and in the 1990s, another duo (Cass Collier and Ian Armstrong) made surfing Dungeons a common thing by hitching a ride out to the break with some local fishermen who would fish close enough to watch these guys get some of the biggest barrels South Africa had to offer. Now, after the debut of the Red Bull Big Wave Africa Contest in 2000, there are few surfers who have not heard of this epic big wave spot on the southern tip of the world.
The Red Bull Big Wave Africa Contest is definitely something to boast about. This contest began in 1999, but due to inadequate conditions, it was postponed until the following year. The contest is an annual event that will continue to show the world what Dungeons is capable of. The 2009 Billabong XXL was won at Dungeons by Greg Long.
Brief Travel Info
If you are planning on going down to Dungeons and Hout Bay, you will most likely fly into the Cape Town Airport. There, you can rent a car and make the short drive into Hout Bay. Hout Bay is a quaint little harbor equipped with a number of great seafood restaurants and other places to eat. Accommodations include anything from cheap hotels to luxury hotels. Choose what’s best for you and your wallet.
Greg Long’s 2009 Billabong XXL-winning wave at Dungeon: