Since it was unveiled in 2008, Skelton Bay has become part of our everyday lexicon, a synonym for never-ending sand bottomed tubes. But unlike Pipeline, G-Land, or [insert your preferred iconic world class wave here], the two-kilometer-long left on the edge of the Namib Desert is in a constant state of flux. If satellite imagery is anything to go by, the wave we know today didn’t even exist 30 years ago.
The Story of Skeleton Bay
Mirage is a 15-minute doccie that traces the genesis of the Namibian sandspit and how it became one of the most sought after waves on the planet, as told by pioneering locals and some of the best tube riders in the world.
But before you put it on the top of your post-pandemic bucket list, perhaps take heed of Koa Smith’s veiled advice from the film: “People think oh, easy, Skeleton Bay aka Donkey Bay. I’m going to go get the barrel of my life. But then they show up here and realize it’s more like Teahupoo on sand.”
In this episode you will be subjected to some serious wisdom from the surf photographers! These two are clever, articulate and definitely know what they are talking about. We discuss this current crisis, why you should obey the law, rather funnel your energy into a good cause than get angry, where contest surfing should go now locally, what it takes to be a good surf photographer and even how to stay fit until we can surf again.
Meet the surf photographers
Alan van Gysen is a name synonymous with surf photography and has worked with the biggest surfers, publications and content creators on the planet. Based with his family in Kommetjie, Cape Town, he is a very spiritual man, loves surfing, writing and traveling to exotic locations with the world’s best surfers. We call him, the world’s nicest man.
Ian Thurtell, is one of the top, young photographers in South Africa. A solid contributor to the local and international scene and covers most of the major contests in South Africa. He builds custom housings for cameras, puts together media trips and works very closely with some of the best junior surfers in the country.
Support these surf initiatives
Once again we highlight the great work happening around the SA coastline by some great people. Please support these incredible programs:
Beyrick de Vries comes across as a funny guy. Believe me, he is very, very funny. Just follow him on Instagram to find out for yourself. But, underneath the humour and laughs lies a very serious competitor and a perfectionist. Hence, it took a bit longer to get his signature film out than planned, because it had to be perfect.
A serious cast of surfing talent
I was fortunate enough to be in the water at a few locations where the film was shot. Beyrick was a standout at every session.
Joining him in the varied African lineups was a tight crew of his friends, who all happen to be some serious rippers themselves. Brendon Gibbens is probably the most famous free surfer to ever come out of South Africa. Shane Sykes is one of the most talented of the younger generation, hailing from Salt Rock in Ballito. Then you have perennial charger, Dale Staples, in the mix.
All in all, a stacked lineup of South African surf talent.
Location, location, location – Beyrick de Vries chose well!
You cant have a good surf film without some dam good surf locations. Beyrick de Vries knows this, so for “Higher Light” he took the crew to some of Africa’s top wave destinations. The crystal clear waters of Mozambique, deadly tubes of Namibia and the fun, exotic destination of Senegal give the film a real African flavour. Then you add some thundering tubes on the East coast of South Africa and the frigid waters of the Cape and you have all the ingredients for an A grade film.
Watch the film, you will enjoy it!
The crew under the direction of, Steve Michelson and Monster Energy have put out an incredible film. So sit back and enjoy one of the best South African surf productions to date!
Don’t we all wish we could earn a living travelling the globe doing what we love? Cape Town surfer, Brendon Gibbens, is living the dream as he gets paid to free surf and film surf movies. The Cape native finds himself based out of California these days and spends a lot of time on the road shooting for big wigs like, Kai Neville, but he still comes home for a visit now and then. This video was shot while home recently and the photo by Alan van Gysen at a Cape, big tube, beachy!