Surfski Bucket List Destination: The Miller’s Run

Miller's Run: Epic Downwinding

The Miller’s Run: Epic Downwinding

The Miller’s Run is an epic downwinder through False Bay in Cape Town, South Africa. It is one of the runs of legend, not unlike Molokai to Oahu.

Here’s how Epic Kayak describes it, from a post on their website:

“The Miller’s Run has long since been a part of surfski folklore. The mere mention of the name sends spine chilling tingles running, heart rates climbing and palms sweating. Images of the infamous Roman Rock lighthouse flood your thoughts, then the feeling of cresting a swell mid-ocean and surfing down as salt and spray shower you, eyes burning yet yelling with delight.


Photo: Alan van Gysen

The Conditions

“From Spring to late Autumn, September to March, South Easterly winds batter the Cape Peninsula as the SAH (South Atlantic High) pressure system moves South and joins up with the SIH (South Indian High). At the same time, a low-pressure trough hangs over the interior and the strength of the wind that moves between them is directly proportional to the difference in pressure gradient.

The most common wind to do the Miller’s Run in, is a South-Easterly (SE). The run also handles variations of this direction very well. When it is blowing more from an easterly direction the ground swell tends to be bigger and harder to catch. When it is blowing more from the south, and very strong, there is a downdraft from Simonstown mountain causing huge gusts that seem to be blowing you out into the middle of the bay. Don’t stress, just go with it. After two kilometers, the wind will be right behind you.

The size of the swells is most dependent on the strength of the wind. 10 – 15 knots is perfect for the weekend warrior who wants to surf runs without worry. When the wind reaches 20 knots and above, it’s for the seasoned downwind hunter. False Bay fills up with white caps and swells, all pushing their way directly to Fish Hoek beach. On a typical Miller’s Run you will have smaller runs or ‘wind chop’ that move slow and are easier to catch. These are the bread and butter of your downwind.”

Learn more here on the Epic website, and get insider tips if you decide to buy a ticket to Cape Town and give the Miller’s Run a go.

Meantime, here’s an awesome video of Oscar Chalupsky making the run:


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