We'll never tire of Skele Bay. Is it the greatest wave in the world? Maybe. Have we reached the limits of what is possible there? Absolutely not. And remember that mega swell that turned up to Namibia a few months back? Like Teahupoo, on sand! A few days later, another pulse whipped into shore, with Matt Bromley and friends were straight on the case.
“Donkey Bay is extremely unpredictable, and that's what differentiates it,” says Brom dog, when we ask about what it's like out there. It's the kind of wave we all draw in sketch books but it is notoriously difficult to surf. Anyway, as you can see in the edit above, Matt makes the most of the day, surfing on and off for 11 hours – it takes a while to get back up the point.
Take a peek at the vid and below, we tapped up Matt for some insight into the session.
This isn’t your first rodeo with the Donkey – how hard is it to get the conditions dialled in?
MB: Its the most incredible wave, and living so close to it in Cape Town makes it tempting to book a ticket every time there's a lump.
But yeah the elements have to come together perfectly for it to happen; degrees have to be pretty spot on with a massive swell...I've been skunked about three of the six times I've chased it and now, I try to only go for the very west, big period swells.
What’s the most difficult part of surfing there?
Most of the time you're seeing the best waves you have ever seen, but you just can't get one! It's torture [laughs]
The current and sheer scale of the sand bank makes it really difficult to link up with a nugget. So often you'll jump out, and float for hundreds of metres down the bank.
The take off is often very heavy as well. Backside airdropping into the bowl and then watching it overtake you; so often you just can't get going fast enough to make it
Then a set comes and somebody is getting the most mental cavern past you, and all you can do is cheer for them. But then you're waiting for another set to hopefully come before you drift too far down the bank and have to get out and run over a mile back to the top again.
The take off is often very heavy as well. Backside airdropping into the bowl and then watching it overtake you; so often you just can't get going fast enough to make it.
Ok, this trip was super special the swell was great and it looked insane. What were some of your highlights?
We had just missed that crazy swell, and then a week later this blob popped up. It was on the border of being too south but we chased it anyway in the hope that the size would bring in 5ft pits.
Of the three days that were predicted, only one day was proper, so we made the most of it and surfed or 11 hours [laughs]. The most special part for sure was getting whipped into that one three barrel wave. You can hear me frothing out in that clip. It was so sick to use the wind energy to tow..
That’s gotta be a world’s first!
[laughs] Keahi [Aboitiz] has actually done it at Cloudbreak before and I think maybe Chopes? The first attempt I almost lost my fingers as the rope ripped through my hand, and then second time round he gently pulled me up and it was so easy. He's an absolute animal on the kite and put me into the perfect spot. One day we will do that on a 10 footer.
We love Donkey Bay, but do you think wave pools are trivialising the barrel? It’s the ultimate aspect of surfing and to have a spitting mechanical barrel inland…seems kind of flat. What do you think is next for the progression of barrel riding?
Donkey Bay is extremely unpredictable, and that's what differentiates it from a wave pool barrel. We don't even understand how difficult it is to get barrelled like Benji Brand and Koa out there.
Controlling the speed and adapting to an ever changing barrel for that long separates these dudes from the rest. The way forward; someone still has to get barrelled on the whole bank. Those minute long rides are only like half the sand bar. Crazy to think.
Is the Donkey the best wave in the world?
Yes! Most people who get the opportunity to surf the Donkey get the best barrel of their life... and we haven't even touched the surface on what's possible out there.
Somebody, one day, will somehow make the drop on one of those 10ft monsters and get barrelled all the way.