MY CITY: TANIKA HOFFMAN.
We tag along for a day in Durban with pro surfer and MINI friend of the brand Tanika Hoffman.
Tanika Hoffman might have been born in Cape Town and will forever have a special place in her heart for the Mother City, but for the winter months, she loves the coast around Durban, particularly the South Coast. “In general, I love it just because of the climate,” she says.
But the surf is good, too. “It’s beautiful and the South Coast just has so many waves, every five minutes you stop and there’s a new spot.”
Tanika says that since the pandemic struck, she’s had more time to spend here. “I usually escape winter,” she says. “I always used to go away during our winter, which was the US summer.”
“When the coronavirus first started, I was actually in Barbados to do a surf event and then the virus hit and all the events got cancelled and I had to slowly make my way home,” she explains.
“Since lockdown, I’ve spent two winters at home,” she says. “In the winter, [Durban is] a no-brainer when it comes to surfing; you can just continue like nothing happened.”
While she’s missed the travel and camaraderie of the competition circuit, she admits that having a slight break from it hasn’t been all bad. “I remember when beaches were still closed, I went for a drive just along the coast, and I was fascinated with the ocean all over again.”
It’s taught her how much she loves doing what she does. Right now, though, she adds, “I just want some warm tropical surf and sunshine all day long and I’m just itching for a summer adventure.”
She has some travel plans for later this year. “I do fun all-girls surf trips for young up-and-coming South African surfer girls,” she says. “We call them content creation trips. The girls come and we just surf all day and learn to work with a photographer and shoot with cool products to open their minds to all the other things that surfing has to offer, over and above the competitive side.” (Check out @salty.dreamers on Instagram to find out more.)
In the meantime, though, she’s been spending time in Durban. Here, Tanika talks us through a day in her life since she picked up her new MINI Countryman S. “It’s super perfect for surf adventures because the backseats go completely down and my board slides in so easily.”
“Where I’m based in Westbrook in Durban, we stay right on the beach. It’s in front of a semi-private beach – you have to drive through the neighbourhood to get there. We drive down to that patch to check the waves in the morning for the sunrise surf. We checked the waves … it was a beautiful sunrise, but the surf wasn’t great, so we ended up surfing a spot called Salmon Bay in Ballito.”
“Westbrook’s on the North Coast, but we spend so much time on the South Coast too because there are so many wave options. If it’s not working, like, right here, we drive to the South Coast.”
“On the way, we often stop at Umhlanga or Durban city and pick a nice little coffee shop. I’m from Cape Town originally, so I’m forever trying to discover new places. We stopped for an early lunch at Legacy Yard at Umhlanga Arch. It’s kind of a food market set-up: a few nice food stalls and restaurants with beautiful seating overlooking the city and ocean. I had pizza and ice cream, two of my favourite things!”
“Durban city: I love it. It’s got such a perfect line-up with the piers, so it forms some really good waves. Yes, the crowds are a factor, but at the same time, there are numerous piers, so you can walk along and pick the pier that has the least crowds.”
“[Down the South Coast] there are beautiful open roads [lined with] banana trees that run along the beach and you can see the ocean as you drive.”
“There are so many fun spots along that coast, so you can just drive, stop and check, stop and check and somewhere will be working and you generally get pretty lucky with crowds. We checked a few surf spots along the South Coast: Scottburgh, Green Point and Park Rynie…”
“It’s crazy that you can go from the city and then drive another 20 minutes and you’re in the middle of nowhere; that’s quite a cool contrast. We love the South Coast just for its untouched [beauty] and waves.”
“After the surf, we head back [to the North Coast] where there’s a beautiful dam called Dudley Pringle Dam. You drive through the sugar cane and get to a lookout point, [which is] a great spot to have a picnic and watch the sunset.”
“In Ballito, the market at Ballito Lifestyle Centre has a couple of nice bakeries, so we often go there for bread and snacks. We bought the most delicious sun-dried-tomato fresh bread from Yoli’s Bakery.”
“We were just exploring one day and we saw people with bikes, and thought we were missing out on something. We followed the track, [which] leads you to a hill that overlooks the dam. Now we go with the dog, set up a picnic and the dogs run around.”