Longest Wave Ever Ridden

Skeleton Bay had its surf world debut with Surfing magazine's 2007 Google Earth Challenge, a contest that asked readers to submit Google Earth satellite pictures of potential and (hopefully) undiscovered surf breaks. The most promising entry received an all-expense paid trip to the new-found spot. In July 2008, contest winner Brian Gable, a software developer from Irvine, California, jetted off to the West African coast with pro surfers Cory Lopez, Peter Mendia, Hank Gaskell, and Mitch Coleborn. Once there they found a dredging cold-water barrel that spins for more than a mile down a desolate point. The wave is an experts-only thrill ride; a technically perfect but ridiculously fast and thick tube with a lip that cleaves boards in two with ease. It is also fickle, subject to extreme tidal swings and brutal wind patterns that can turn onshore for weeks on end. Skeleton Bay is surrounded and jealously guarded by diamond mining operations, which helps keeps it relatively free from crowds, though a pilgrimage to the spot is increasingly part of the pro surfer's travel circuit. Cory Lopez won the 2009 Surfer Magazine Poll Award for Best Barrel on his first wave at Skeleton Bay—a 50-second open-throttle run that saw him link together seven separate tube sections.

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