What Is A Skeleton Bay Strike Actually Like? - Stab Mag
Pedro Boonman reaping the spoils of his $1,700 plane ticket investment.

What Is A Skeleton Bay Strike Actually Like?

A chat with a visiting pro about one of surfing’s most remote destinations.

elsewhere // Jul 10, 2023
Words by Christian Bowcutt
Reading Time: 2 minutes
Video: Pedro Boonman

We know how the wave is at Skeleton Bay.

And every time it wakes from its slumber, I have the bandwidth to watch about two edits before I tire of the GoPro barrels, the drone shots, the 4×4 vehicles, and the dunes.

It’s perfect and alluring, but I have no frame of reference to relate to it. It might as well be Mars to me.

So, I chatted with Pedro Boonman, whose edit you’ll see above, about the mission he just conducted with Nic Von Rupp and other Portuguese pros. Pedro is a freesurfer who, years ago, pivoted away from competition and devoted himself to chasing swells. He’s been a behind-the-scenes tube hunter for years now.

But I asked Pedro about everything but the surfing. I asked him about where he stayed, what he ate, and for some quick tips for that far-flung corner of sub-Saharan Africa.

“It took me 23 hours to get there from Portugal,” Pedro told me, “Nic [Von Rupp] gave me the invite a few days before and I was tentative but decided to just go for it. It’s a big opportunity for me. By the time I got flights into Windoek Airport, it was around $1,700 for a flight, and then we had to rent a 4×4. Such a mission.”

An endless expanse of possible bathymetry.

“It’s about 5 hours to get to the area from the airport. You start driving through small cities and it slowly starts becoming more and more desert. You start driving through little villages and the colors are amazing. The sunset is beautiful and it’s so different than everything I’ve seen before. The roads are actually way better than I expected. We stayed in a hotel about an hour from the wave. There is literally nothing near the wave itself. We had to stop at a supermarket near and stock up on water, sandwiches, and chocolate, of course,” he laughs.

And what about locals?

“There are some very local bodyboarders,” Pedro explained, “but it seemed like most of the ‘locals’ were from South Africa. In the water, everyone is pretty spread out. I paddled out with Nic and then didn’t see him until we paddled in at the end of the day. It’s just such a long wave with so much current everyone gets dispersed.”

Pedro did also provide some surf insight though.

“It’s really better on low tide so you are going to want to time that. The wind tends to get on it around 12 but even then it barrels because of the sandbar. But best to get up before dawn. It’s colder than you’d imagine too.”

It’s cool to see someone take a leap and have it pay off. The crew got four days of solid Skeleton Bay surf which is rare as most Namibia swells peter out at the two day mark, Pedro told me.

Click play for some barrel voyeurism.


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