Watch: The History of the World's Most Elusive and Long Lefthander

29 Oct 2020 2 Share

COASTALWATCH | TRAVEL

The ever-changing story of Skeleton Bay

Words by Dashel Pierson

Everyone loves a good origin story. Especially in fiction – from Peter Parker and a radioactive spider, to Smeagol before his introduction to The Ring, to Luke Skywalker’s path from humble beginnings to fulfillment of cosmic fate – we love stories of unlikely heroes (or villains) and their ascension to destiny.

But in reality, that’s not always the case, and specifically when it comes to surfing. Kelly Slater was always destined to be the GOAT; Pipeline was forever ordained as the centre of the surfing world. So, when something defies the traditional logic of “what was meant to be”, it’s always a pleasant surprise.

Hence, Skeleton Bay. Back in 2008, the never-ending sand-bottom tube in the middle of the African desert was “discovered.” It was inconsistent with the surfing narrative – a perfect wave, right under our noses, suddenly…emerges? Truly, stranger than fiction.

Photo: Alan Van Gysen

Photo: Alan Van Gysen

And the new film above from South African lensman, Alan van Gysen, seeks to document the unlikely rise of the world’s longest lefthand tube point. Mirage, according to van Gysen, “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 tuberiders in the world.”

Since the unveiling of Skeleton Bay, we’ve seen countless edits from intrepid pro surfers trekking into the Namibian desert to surf it. But this one’s different – instead of just a barrel fest (don’t worry there’s plenty of that, too), it charts how the famed pointbreak came to be and an honest description of what it takes to get a good one. As Koa Smith says:

“People think: ‘oh, easy, Skeleton Bay. I’m going to go get the barrel of my life.’ But then they show up here and realise it’s more like Teahupoo on sand.”

Photo: Alan Van Gysen

Photo: Alan Van Gysen

This article also appeared on Surfline

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