Mirage – A short film about the origin and evolution of Skeleton Bay

Skeleton Bay changed perceptions!

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.”

The Movie

Skeleton Bay Storytellers

Produced by: @nownowmedia

Written and Directed by @alanvangysen and @will.bendix

Filmed and edited by @calvinthompson_films

The King of the Skeleton – Andre Botha

Why would I put a picture of a man running up a beach for a post on the best left tube in the world? If you have ever been to Skeleton Bay for a solid swell, you will know that what I write here is the absolute, honest truth – Andre Botha is the man at the Namibian freight train. He will literally ride a 100 waves all day long, he does not stop, he goes deeper than anyone and he runs back up the 3km point after every wave. He is almost not human! Watching him both inspires, blows your mind and makes you feel somewhat like a pussy. That is why I chose the image I did for this post, because while every other person is dragging their board back, fighting the worst wetty chafe of their lives and takin a breather, Andre Botha is going full tilt!

You will think 7 minutes a wee long for an online edit, but as I did, you will feel like this video is over in the blink of an eye. So enjoy!

Donkey Bay Fires for first time in 2015

The world’s best wave? It sure blew my mind. I was lucky enough to finally make it to Donkey Bay for a proper swell and got to witness a great crew charge 3km long tubes down the sand bottom point. The wave weaves and warps much like it warps your mind. I hope the video can do it some justice, but to be honest unless you witness it yourself it is pretty difficult to understand just what you are dealing with. It is also super heavy and your average surfer is going to struggle to make the drop and the sections. Did I mention it is 3km long and there is now no lifting at the point, so that means a very long walk between waves and it is possible to have a “freshy”, or not catch a wave and be washed down the point. Granville West cracked a rib early in the day and soldiered on, getting at least one epic wave for his trouble. The standouts were Aritz Aranburu, the Brand brothers, Ari Kraak, Etienne Potgieter, Matt Bromley and it was great to see young surfer, Ntando Msibi giving it a go (See my next video.) All in all the Donkey should be voted a World Wonder! Keep your eyes pealed for the Day 2 video.

Scary Skeleton Bay with Matt Bromley

The whole world seemed to be going, the parking looked like Cavendish Mall and the swell arrived bigger than ever. Matt Bromley was there with camera guy, Steve Michelson in tow, to capture one of the biggest days ever surfed at Donkey Bay. Many tales of horrid thrashings came out from this day and of people being sucked off the beach by rogue white waters. So all in all it was a difficult day for both surfers and the media guys. I reckon the boys are pretty happy with the results though.

African Skeleton – With MONSTER ENERGY’S Matt Bromley from steven michelsen on Vimeo.