28 June, 2013 28 June, 2013

IF YOU WANNA RIDE, DON’T DRIVE – Locals implement no-drive rule at Skeleton Bay


2.1 kilometres. That’s the total distance from the top of the point at Skeleton Bay until the final, warping double-up section that implodes onto the sand at the end of the spit. It’s physically impossible to ride any further and if you’ve somehow managed to connect the sections through the tube of your life, you’re in for a long walk back.

Cue the Skeleton Bay 4×4 pick-up service. It’s become common practice for a designated driver to ferry his friends back up the point and deposit them swiftly at the jump-off, often just in time for the next set. This works out great if you’re the surfer being chauffeured back into pole position. It sucks if you’re the guy who has been fighting the torrential rip to stay in place for the next wave.

“The main cause of congestion in the water lately has been surfers catching multiple lifts up the point. The local crew is getting angry with the crowds and this (practice),” says Skeleton local and member of the Namibia Surfing Association, Shaun Loubser. “We’re looking for an alternative before the shit hits the fan.”

Loubser and fellow locals have been riding the wave long before it was ‘discovered’ by the world at large back in 2009. The media exposure that followed since has led to inevitable crowds, culminating in the landmark swell last season that saw entire surf teams jet in from around the world to sample the goods and document the occasion.
“The local crew know and understand that there’s not much we can do (about the growing crowds) but we want to try and put some basic rules in place,” says Loubser.

They believe the first vital step is a “no driving surfers back up the point” policy, which they have already started to implement this season and are leading the way by example.


“This will stretch the crowds out along the two kilometre beach and should give everybody a more fair chance of surfing the wave and catching that wave of a lifetime,” explains Loubser. “So far all the local boys have agreed to this rule. Now its up to us to implement it with the foreign surfers. If everybody will take to this rule then I see no problems in having 50 odd surfers riding the wave.”

It sounds like an amicable solution and one that is well justified, especially when you consider the 4×4 ride is really just a terrestrial jetski assist back up the point. Or worse.

“Imagine one of the best days of the year at Supertubes, but with five rubber-ducks constantly ferrying groups of surfers up the point, picking them up as they kick out way down the point and dropping them off at Boneyards two minutes later,” says Loubser. “That unthinkable situation is essentially what’s happening at Skeleton Bay with several 4x4s driving up and down the beach, picking up bakkie-loads of surfers from the bottom of the bay and depositing them at the top about two minutes later. I think everyone can do the maths – you have approximately 90% of the surfers in the water hassling for position at any one time, instead of the crowd being naturally spread out by the long walk – or even longer paddle – back up the point.”

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  1. Sean
    28 June, 2013 at 10:44 am · Reply

    Great call. A very good idea.

  2. two oceans marathon
    28 June, 2013 at 12:30 pm · Reply

    Lets keep the 4×4’s, and regulate the “paddle out’s” from the top of the point. I’m a surfer, not a runner

  3. WTF
    28 June, 2013 at 4:38 pm · Reply

    Two oceans??? if you”re a surfer and not a runner I believe you should paddle back!!!

  4. Gary Montague-Fryer
    28 June, 2013 at 6:41 pm · Reply

    Great idea, excellent solution to real problem without having to resort to threats, 8-guauge shots etc; may have to also ban jet-skis however, as they’re already using them for lifts, causing exactly the same problem.

  5. Buller Heuschneider
    29 June, 2013 at 7:16 am · Reply

    Good one on the locals, protecting nature at the same time ! I like the comparison with J-bay, excellent argument !

  6. Dave Richards
    29 June, 2013 at 9:12 am · Reply

    Keeping the crowd naturally thinned out, is much better than doing dry runs. Having 20 guys getting dropped above your position in the line-up, is not that fun really. Great Idea !! I better keep fatness away, because after 5 attacks on the point.. that is 10km’s covered. Oh Mayday!!

  7. Etienne Potgieter
    1 July, 2013 at 8:42 pm · Reply

    I’m all for it. Nothing worse than jumping out the top getting ready when a bakkie load of euros jump in above you and snag the next set. It’s a very different set up and need to be handled differently.

  8. Sam
    23 December, 2016 at 2:08 am · Reply

    Plan B is to unleash the lions … seriously.

  9. Name (required)
    9 September, 2019 at 12:48 am · Reply

    Locals? What, they were born in Namibia? They’re Namibian? I never seen white Namibians. They look Euro to me. Shut the “F” up! Trying to put limits on a place you’re not from.

    • admin
      10 September, 2019 at 1:50 pm · Reply

      What you on about mate?

  10. Tails
    27 December, 2021 at 4:30 am · Reply

    queensland, Oz,2021
    Just discovered your amazing break.
    Feel sorry for you and happy for you at the same time.
    I would give my lefty just to have a crack.
    Pleeeease try to keep it a “true surf” location, ie no agro, self absorbed dickheads with deep pockets and no morals. Hard i know but we need more of these spots preserved.
    I remember Bali and Lombock in 75/76. Look at it now.
    More power to you.
    Sunny coast

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