So How Good is That Wave at Donkey Bay, Namibia?

Chris Bond


7 years ago in Gap Year

Donkey Bay, Skeleton Bay, ‘that wave in Namibia’, call it what you may it is widely accepted as an anomaly and probably the best discovered wave in the world right now. Yes other waves may have cleaner or bigger barrels, but when you’ve been and watched literally endless barrels running down the sand spit, you know immediately that this isn’t normal. Going up there for the third time now, I couldn’t resist but share a little piece of my experience, not necessarily all from this trip, but more the wave itself, and its surroundings.

If you want to hear and see more of my crazy first experience up there, then check out the blog here. But with the latest vid that has just dropped (below), filmed by my friend and compadre on this adventure last week, Dean from Darkwing who flies quadcopters and drones for a living it made me really want to share with you how crazy this wave is, so here is the best of the best!

Benji Brand goes up to Donkey bay quite a lot, well almost every swell to be honest! Benji was the first one to properly show us what it is like to get barrelled at Donkey Bay, so take a trip inside this crazy barrel below. Then watch it again, and trying and figure out how long he was getting barelled for. It’s not pretty, it’s not easy, but its like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

Maybe watch that again, and then you’ll maybe go ‘yes but that was a once off’ or ‘yes but it was a bit messy’ or come up with some other excuse, but fortunately Benji had GB’s of GoPro filmed barrels so he decided to share a few more of them…

So now is where I tell you a little bit of what I experienced on my last trip up to Donkey Bay. The weather was a bit grey, the waves were a bit slow, and when they came they were evil, beautiful but evil. When you’re looking up the line and seeing a double up 3-4 footer at the Donkey, you’re just trying to figure out how it’s going to be possible to catch it, but you’ve just seen Benji do it from the beach so you know its doable. You scratch into a wave, barely make the drop, scoop up into the barrel and adjust your line so that you don’t get sucked straight up the face, then you fly. The speed you go is ridiculous, even being in the barrel for 2 or 3 seconds you have probably covered 50m, just watch that last wave of Jordy’s from the aerial footage. Once you lock in, it feels like a TV game, period! It doesn’t seem real, just take a little look into Koa Smith’s GoPro footage and see if you know what I mean…

So, who’s going to make the game for my Iphone? Use Koa’s footage and you’ve got to control your board in that barrel. This is one of the few places where you really really have to breathe in the barrel, consciously, or you’d pass out!

But at the end of the day, what I discovered more than anything, is that there is a lot more than just the wave by going to a place like this, you’re in the desert. When you make your daily walk towards the one little mound that people use to squat behind, you are looking over your shoulder for the wild jackals that may have seen your limp and considered you wounded after walking the 2km back to the top to paddle out for the 20th time. The mist is eerie and the sand as endless as the barrel you may get. The chances are no one will even see ‘that’ barrel, you probably won’t even get to chat to your friends in the water because you are so spread out, and when you are walking up the sand from down in the massive shorebreak, it’ll be just you and your thoughts and the crazy disbelief that this wave even exists.

Now, what you don’t see here is that ‘normal’ surfers can surf it too, and get absolutely shacked! Time it right, get lucky with the swell direction and wind, and this wave can give you an easy in and offer the ride of your life, but its a guarantee that at least once you’ll feel the donkey kick!