WHAT TO EXPECT WITH THE BIGGEST
SKELETON BAY SWELL IN YEARS
by Matt Rott on
I want to do a VO2 test on Andre Botha. They say that soccer players are the fittest athletes in the world, with all the running they do on the field, but I’d argue that the two-time bodyboard world champ might give them a run for their money.
When Skeleton Bay breaks, Botha is something to behold. A total maniac, really. He starts at first light, goes all day, and runs while everyone else walks. By the time he’s finished, he does at last two dozen laps up and down the 2km point. That’s over a marathon’s worth of sand running, plus just as many hours paddling against a raging current and getting barrelled off his head—multiple days in a row. As more than a couple people noted on the spit Thursday, that’s not exactly normal.
Here’s how it works in Namibia. First, you walk the 2km up to the top of the point. Once there, you wait for a break in the sets, d try to make it out through what is essentially a dredging shore break. Once you pull that off, the 10mph sweep will drag you to the bottom of the spit in around eight minutes.
If you are lucky, you will get two or three chances to paddle for waves in those eight minutes. If you are lucky and an expert at making impossible drops, you might get to the bottom of one. If you are lucky and rip, you might actually make a barrel. And if you are all of the above, plus an extra dose of lucky, you might just make the barrel of your life.
On the other hand, you could just as easily get swept the length of the spit without paddling for a single wave—and that applies to pros as well as average Joes. Having a shocker at Skeleton Bay is nothing to be ashamed of or to get upset about. It’s just part and parcel of the experience. Getting pitched from the mutant lip is too. As Anthony Walsh told me on our 10th hike up the point, if you aren’t getting pitched on occasion, then you aren’t going hard enough. And in that case, you probably shouldn’t be here, because you clearly aren’t interested in catching the waves that barrel.
(c) Towsurfer.com 2017