Once the swell peaked on Tuesday 30th July any concerns or talk about the bank being imperfect were quickly put to rest, better yet dismissed. You could once again look from the top to the bottom, it looked as straight as ever.
Watching tube hounds like Koa Smith and Benji Brand together with relative newcomers Brett Barley and William Aliotti make impossibly long tubes from start to finish Skeleton Bay is officially back and still the best and heaviest wave on earth.
All images – Alan Van Gysen and Ian Thurtell
“With this swell, the uniqueness came in the swell direction, it was super west. The most west I’d seen since 2014, which took what the bank was and just ruler edged it, making it so straight and dreamy. Having such a big west swell is rare so that’s 100% something that stood out, making the bank absolutely perfect. Then there was how heavy the swell was, I can only compare it again to that 2014 swell. Was also so nice to see the wave relatively uncrowded, thanks to the US Open no doubt. All in all, a great trip!” – Alan Van Gysen
“What made this year so different revolved around the general consensus that the wave in Namibia had been deteriorating, breaking up in sections kinda what was seen on the first swell a couple of weeks back. Over the last couple years or so, it’s been kinda average, by the donkey’s standards. Obviously, there’s been a couple of decent swells to pull through, last year for instance.” – Alan Van Gysen
“All the flight cancellations, delays, money spent and travel complications are forgotten when you get to this beach. It’s been a wild week but it was all worth it.” – Benji Brand
Benji Brand fresh off a Padang Cup win. Despite being in the US Open, the minute he saw this swell on the charts Benji bowed out of competition and jumped a flight for Africa. Although he's been barrelled enough for us all at Skeleton Bay, he knows we all only have a short season in which to make the most of gifts like this.
At dusk the waves were as heavy as they come.
Unknown charger in the eye of the needle and about to feel the foam-ball.
Unknown Australian watches William Aliotti thread his very first wave at Skeleton Bay. Four weeks of Desert Point (Indo) had William well rehearsed and ready for the worlds other best desert point.
At a place where it is near impossible to capture a single wave from start to finish Koa Smith knows he needs to get creative to show the rest of the world how incredible a wave actually is at Skeleton Bay. Drones and Fusion making the impossible, possible.
Arguably the best in the world at Skeleton Bay - Koa Smith. In his own words, "This place truly rules my world."
Ride the tube isn't the only challenge at Skeleton Bay; getting out and timing your paddle-out between seemingly endless sets is another challenge.
When the high tide coincided with the peak of the swell on Tuesday afternoon water rushed over the narrow sand strip cover nearly the entire strip...
Even after all the barrels Koa Smith has seen at Skeleton Bay, he still can't help be amazed by the sheer radicalness of this wave.
William Aliotti on location and filming for an upcoming feature documentary on the history and dynamism of Skeleton Bay by William Bendix, Alan van Gysen and Calvin Thompson. Stay tuned.
Michael Veltman and Douw Steyn made the trek up west a couple of weeks before this last swell, supplying us with this sweet edit!