The Lowdown – Ryan Ribbink ‘Mr Mozambique’Meet the man behind the emergence of Mozambique as a must see surf travel destination

Luke Geldenhuys

6 years ago in Surf

Before the surf schools and camps open up shop, before roads are paved and locations are pinned, there are the men behind the myths, cut from a rare cloth, pioneers of the pursuit and students of the search.

These men put in the work so we don’t have to. Every wave and location has its story and it’s man/woman behind it. Here’s the man behind the emergence of Mozambique as a ‘must see’ surf travel destination. It just so happens that he’s also the man behind all our trips there over the years.

Ryan Ribbink is a ‘shoot from the hip’ ‘what you see is what you get’ kind of character with a large sense of humour and an affinity for big barrels. Born and raised on the Bluff in Durban, South Africa, Ryan grew up surfing a section of coastline that is considered to be the ‘North Shore of South Africa’ with waves like Cave Rock and Ansteys Beach moulding his barrel riding prowess and earning him high praise among the surfing community in South Africa.

I recall standing up top the hill with him at Tofinho Point in Mozambique on my first trip with him there. We were watching perfect 3-4ft barrels peel through. As I was picking my jaw up off the ground barely containing my excitement, he remarked jokingly “Pity it’s not bigger, I’m getting older now you know, I can’t be crouching for barrels anymore. Stand-up tubes only!” He went on to tell me about all the hurricane swells he’s chased up the coast on strike missions to this location over the years. He’d been frequenting the coastline of Mozambique since 1998, he’d paid his dues through trial and error and he knows just about everything you need to know about how to score waves over there.

Almost every major surf trip in Mozambique featuring professional surfers and film crews over the years has been run using his knowledge of the coastline and swell charts, earning him the status of ‘Mr.Mozam’. He knows where to go and it’s not always easy to get there. Mozambique is still very much untouched and off the beaten track, but there are valuable African gems out there and he knows where to find them.

We got Mr Mozamb to answer a few questions for us so you can get a true taste of Mozambique.

L – When was your first trip to Mozambique? What was your first impression and has much changed since then?

RR – My first trip to Mozambique was back in 1998. It was nothing compared to how it is now. From roads to infrastructure to accommodation and corrupt cops, it had it all but the culture and lifestyle kept me coming back. It’s great for Surfing, Fishing and Diving.

L – You’ve facilitated a lot of tours to Mozambique, who are some of the big names you’ve shown around?

RR – I’ve done tours for most of the top Surf Industry labels with current and former top 44 surfers, guys like Matt Wilkinson, Owen Wright, Gabriel Medina and the likes. I’ve also worked with international charities wanting to help out in Africa. I’ve even had a famous American Country singer!

L – What is it about Mozambique that makes it such a special surf destination?

RR – Surfing in Mozambique is great because it covers all the basics, from catching small fun waves to standing tall in barrels, it’s got it all, with no crowds! The best part is that there are so many beaches and sand-bottomed points still un-surfed.

L – Which is your favourite surf region in Mozambique and why?

RR – It has to be the Inhambane district, Tofo mainly because of how many spots there are in such a short distance from one another and the lifestyle there is very good with the hotels and restaurants.

L – What is the best piece of advice you could give to any travelling surfer wanting to explore mozambique?

RR – Be ready to surf hard, party hard, and chill even harder! Oh and slops (sandals), sunscreen, sunglasses, and a 4×4 helps too.

L – Shot Ryan, see you soon bru.

RR – No worries mate

So if you like the sound of surfing un-touched let alone crowded tropical waves with a tour guide good enough for the pros all day, whilst experiencing a unique African party vibe in the evenings, maybe Mozambique should be your next surf trip destination…