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August 4, 2008
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Are you ready to get off of the beaten path? Do you want to spread out and really get away from civilization? If so, this Google Earth inspired Best Bet is for you.
Many people will say that there is not a wave out there that has been untouched. I disagree. After all, while technology has seemingly shrunk the size of our planet, the earth remains a large place. And while the waves along this installment of Best Bet's tortuous coast may not be quite untouched - it's safe to say that most of these waves have been touched by very few people. And for good reason - the coast of Namibia is one bad ass stretch of land.

The coast itself is exceptionally arid and home to the Namib desert. This is one of the driest regions on earth, only surpassed by the Atacama Desert in Chile, receiving less than 10 millimeters of rainfall a year. This desert runs along almost the entire 1000 approximate miles of coastline with a mixture of gravel plains, sand dunes and rocky outcroppings.
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Pipeline? No, Namibia. This Southwest African wonder is only for the most seasoned globe trotter, but it does pump this time of year. Photo: Alan Van Gysen

To the north, is the Skeleton Coast, so named due to the many rotting carcasses of shipwrecks and the previously rotting carcasses of whales - a result of whaling in a bygone era. Portuguese sailors called this stretch of coast 'The Gates of Hell' while Namibian Bushmen called it 'The Land God Made in Anger.'

To the south, is more desert coastline that is just as harsh. Get stuck out here in a bad situation, and you too will be a rotting carcass, yet another victim of this ass kicking environment.

In the central and much more hospitable portion of the coast is the city of Swakopmund. This region is very modern and contains several decent to very good, well known breaks. To the north of this city and entering the Skeleton Coast are several left points including Hentiesbaai and Kaap Kruis (Cape Cross in English), home to the southern hemisphere's largest fur seal colony. Once you head significantly north or south of Swakopmund - you will become increasingly on your own.
Waves here are created by a steady stream of winter storms moving through the South Atlantic Ocean. This results in a relentless onslaught of swell to the coast during the winter months from ocean storms moving west to east across the South Atlantic. Winds are predominantly S/SW so finding some variability in the coastline is a must. The cold, equator-bound Benguela current running along the coast means this is wetsuit territory. And yes, this current brings in the fish so there are undoubtedly some big critters lurking nearby. Also, the southern coast of this country is diamond mining territory so you need to be sure that you are not trespassing on privately owned property. However, being that this region is so remote, you could take the chance, hopefully not see any patrols and be left alone to surf perfection completely by yourself.

A trip to Namibia isn't exactly booked through a surf travel agent. After all, this is not a trip; this is an all out, balls-to-the-wall expedition. You will need absolutely everything necessary for survival such as food, water, first aid, extra gas, and more. You will also need gear to accommodate two climates - the ultra-hot daytime and the cooler nighttime temperatures -- which can fall to almost freezing. Plus the cool ocean wind can be relentless.

The Google Earth imagery of the coastline both inside and outside of civilized regions unveiled a couple of classic set ups. Given a variety of swell possibilities such as swell size and period, there are really vast arrays of untapped, world-class waves - someone could literally spend a lifetime on this coast and still not be fully dialed. If you have the time, money, and cajones, Namibia is there waiting for you, devoid of crowds but full of solid, consistent surf.

Now, as far as we know, not many people actually produce surf forecasts for Namibia, but LOLA is just waiting for you to ask. All she needs to know is where and when you want to go. Check this out.

Best Bet: July 2007 Recap

The July Best Bet, Cabo San Lucas, did deliver a steady run of quality surf, even if it wasn't firing the whole month. The southern hemisphere remained active and continued to pump out plenty of swell, highlighted by a nice S/SSW swell pulse that moved in around the 19th-21st (Click here to check out the proof.) During the month of July, we also saw a good run of tropical activity with the Eastern Pacific seeing three hurricanes (Elida, Fausto and Genevieve) and one tropical storm (Douglas). Of these systems, the highlights were the two Category 2 Hurricanes Elida and Fausto, which sent a healthy dose of swell to Cabo around the middle part of the month. Overall, it was a pretty decent month of surf for Cabo San Lucas.