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Morocco By Maurice Lazarus

I have been quite interested to find out more about this fairly unknown surfing destination, and when I heard that a friend of mine was on his way to Morocco I did not hesitate to ask him to write a little story and to give us some facts and info on this great North African surf destination.
I’ve realized that Morocco could be an excellent way to get some good surf during our summer flat spells. Various consistent world-class point breaks, mild water temperatures, good food, and cheap living are making Morocco more and more popular.


Morocco with its 3500 kilometers of coastline offers a surfer many different options. On its Atlantic side, rocky bottoms alternate with sand ones, reef breaks with beach breaks for surfers to express their art of surfing. In comparison to any point break known in the surfing world, Morocco is right at the top of the list.
I have been there several times and can vouch for that. Leaving France by car heading south  past the spots in Portugal/Spain & France one will find the best points breaks by crossing from Algercerias to Tangiers and heading south along the coast. The water is nice and warm, around 25° during the summer, air temp mid 30’s, requiring only baggies and a rash vest. In winter from Oct to April the water is still fairly warm so you will only need a 3/2 suit. The air temp during winter averages around 21°C but the nights can get chilly.

Most of the breaks found are right-handers, with the occasional beach break, but left-handers are scarce. The best time for the swell to hit is from August to April when the swell moves down from Europe. I surfed mainly the breaks further south of Essaouira, the area where the wind really pumps and makes it a paradise for kite surfers and windsurfers. Do not travel without your kite surfing kit to these spots. You will get plenty of good wind and some great kiting.

Heading south from Essaouira along a super coastal road, one comes across a sign showing Immessouane. The road to the coast was built by the Chinese along the local fishing port to transport the daily catch to the markets in the cities. There is very little else to be found at the spot except great waves, a local surf shop called Momo Surf Shop, a surf school, a bed & breakfast run by one of the local surfers (costing around R200 per day for half board), and few “restos” (restaurants) but don’t forget your fly swatter. Absolutely NOTHING to do when the surf is flat but it can be great for kiting..
The main beach has an excellent right hand break called Cathedral, a few beach breaks and then a long right hander perfect for long boarding, allowing an easy 2 min ride on perfect days.

We ate fish (fresh) at a local “resto” with salad and green tea and the bill came to R250 for 6. Worth a short stay…

Next stop Tamri, a small village about 35kms further south heading to Taghazout. This is the center of the banana plantation, so stock up for the trip further south. Tamri has a real nice beach with some good beach breaks and you can always find swell when the other spots aren’t working, especially if you are staying at Taghazout.

Driving down from Immessounne to Tamri, you will be flagged down by the local goat keepers trying to get you to take pics of their goats in the Argan trees eating the leaves. This is a common sight as the goats love the leaves and by eating them, knock the nuts off the tree which are then collected and crushed to produce the famous Argan oil only found in Morocco. The oil is used both in cooking and on the body and is very healthy.

The next 35kms, you will drive past Boilers, Mysteries, Killers, Hash Point and Anchor Point. These spots are all super right-hand breaks that cook when the swell hits. Finally you’ll reach the famous Taghazout surfing village with restos, surfshops and every Moroccan surfer trying to make a quick buck, by either trying to rent you an apartment or selling you a local T-Shirt.

All point breaks get rather crowded as most surfers stay at Taghazout and walk to the spots. However, as soon as it gets gnarly, 6ft and over, it becomes much less crowded as Moroccans won’t venture out, too worried about their precious boards.

Taghazout is a dirty village, the locals having no respect for cleanliness with garbage everywhere, so make sure you take your immodium tabs, drink no water from taps, only bottled water. Renting an apartment here will cost you around R35 a day without food. Eating out at one of the local restos, a chicken Tagine for 2 costs around R80 without drinks. No alcohol is available. I would strongly suggest that you head on down a further 5kms to the village of Sourer and stay at the Hotel Littoral. A single room with half board will set u back R300.There are regular local busses that will take your board, so don’t be worried about transport back and forth to the spots. Best of course is a car, but this can get expensive, count on Euros25 per day, unlimited kms.

Aourir, the next village after Taghazout has a local outdoor souk(market) once a week on Wednesday that is great to visit and from the hotel you can also walk 2 kms to the local beach which has two spots, Km16 and Km14, a left-hander and right-hander that pick up the swell when most other spots are small. I can also recommend a bus ride to Agadir to visit the main souk there.

If you do decide to rent a car beware of the local drivers, they have to be the worst ever, no respect for solid lines for overtaking, also beware, no speeding through the village if you don’t want a fine, all the cops have cameras and they’re everywhere.

In Morocco, you find not only superb waves and wind that you can surf and kite all year long,  but also a magnificent back country that you can explore after your watery exploits and a local population that welcomes visiting surfers.

Quick Facts

Getting there:
You can reach Morocco by air. The air fares to Agadir can be quite reasonable.

Customs:
It is relatively easy to get through customs but it could take a while if other planes landed at the same time.

Your surfboard is not recorded on your passport, so you can easily sell your board at the end of your stay. You can normally get quite good prices for your boards. Secondhand long boards sell for approx Euros600, and you can get about Euros400 for short boards.

Take enough wax to keep you going for your whole trip because wax is expensive and cost, Euros10 for Mrs. Palmers.

Take a repair kit because there are plenty of rocks that can damage your boards, and believe me you don’t want your board to be repaired by the local board shop.

Travel:
Roads are quite good, and mechanics are cheap and fast in case of breakdown. There should be also good rentals and you can find cheap hotels, especially near the medina’s of the towns.

Language:
French, is the official language along with Arab, and in the south Spanish is more common.

Season:
October- April.  Winter is the most popular season with consistent swell, clean surf and warm air and water. Spring and autumn have similar conditions with hotter air and fewer crowds. Summer can have flat spells.

Cost of living:
Morocco is pretty cheap. Alcohol is hard to come by, but you can probably get some beers in the Large supermarket in Agadir. This will make your trip even cheaper because the lack of booze will force you to save some money instead of boozing it up during the flat spells.
Attention:
Always be careful, theft is common like in every other third world country, and doing drugs here is a very risky past time since the Moroccan prisons aren’t that good and they’re full of western people who came there to experience the Moroccan hash.

Positive
*  Powerful Surf
*  Cheap living
*  Uncrowded beaches(but it gets real crowded at the spots close to Taghazout),better to have transport to get away from the crowd)
*  Great Food
*  Superb point breaks
*  Natural Beaches
*  No Localism
*  Plenty of secret spots
*  Surf is Very consistent

Negative:
*  Getting sick from the food, so make sure to take some Immodium and only drink bottled water
*  Hard to get around if you don’t have a car

Surf spots

Taghazoute Area

Taghazoute is a small town about 30 minutes north of Agadir. You arrive at Agadir airport and immediately. Be warned, you will get hassled the moment you get out of the airport. Take good care of your bags, since everybody is very willing to grab them out of your hands, only to return them after you have given them some dollars or euro’s. Other than that experience, the locals are chilled and not too aggressive in their sales approach.

Taxis from the airport will take you to Taghazoute.
Finding a place to sleep is pretty easy. You can find a big apartment overlooking Hash point, it with 4 beds for about R350 per night for the entire place. Nothing fancy…

The surf spots around Taghazoute: Banana beach

South of the village is Banana beach a mediocre beach break that will suit beginner surfers or long boarders.

Panorama’s

This right hand point break can be find just when you drive into the town’s center. It only works well only mid tide, but even then it’s very sectioning. When the swell gets bigger the rip gets quite strong here, so you have to maintain paddling to stay in the right spot. Entry is best north of the break from a little cove just around the break, the current will take you to the line-up very quick.

Hash Point

This right hand point is just north of the town’s center. It can be good on its day. Entry is easy from a little beach.

Anchor Point

This quality spot that can show perfect lines is about 1 km north of Taghazoute town center. It breaks off a pier and can connect all the way into Taghazoute. This break gets seriously crowded, and the level of surfing here is high. The crowds and the fact that the take off area is small make this for intermediate to expert surfers only. Entry is either done by jumping off the rocks, or paddling in from the beach to the right, but then you have to beware of the strong current that can bring you very close to the pier/rocks.

Mysteries

Next to Anchors are several breaks that can be descent. This place works on the high tide and seems to pick up more swell than the other spots, but it will also start closing out over 5′. Entry is from the beach. Beware that it can be shallow at lower tide.

Killer Point

This is one of the best waves in the area. It’s about 3 km out of Taghazoute so it takes about 30 minutes to walk to this place. Once there prepare yourself for a long paddle to the line-up. It will easily take a fit surfer 10-15 minutes to paddle to the take off spot. The wave is a very long right hander, and on the right day it can be almost perfect. It picks up a fair bit of swell, and can hold waves up to 12′. Make sure you have a good leash, because from mid to high tide (when it’s best) there’s nowhere to swim to when you lose your board. The spot is supposedly named after the killer whales that are sometimes seen there.
Draculas

Seems to be the evil twin of Boilers,faster,heavier and handles bigger swells.Lying 500m south of Boilers watch out for the jagged rocks on
entering and even worse when exiting.

Boilers

Getting to Boilers takes about 25 minutes by car from Taghzaoute. Boilers are a right hand break, which breaks off something that looks like the remaining off a shipwreck. It’s a relatively short but fast and barreling type wave. It can be an evil wave and it break, faster and heavier as the swell gets bigger. Look for the vampire-teeth-like rocks 500 m to the south. Getting in the water can be a bit tricky since its best done from behind the big rock that is sticking out of the water, but when you are behind it you cannot see if there are any set waves coming, so assistance from the water or land is helpful. Booties will help getting out of the water since the rocks close to shore are sharp. This spot also picks up a lot of wind. The wind can be quite strong here while there’s hardly a breeze at Taghazoute only 20 minutes away. Definitely not a spot for beginners..

Immesouane

Long mellow rights wrapping into the well protected south facing bay,while several defined peaks grace the right point named “Cathedral”.
Highly consistent and sometimes crowded with longboarders.

The Kms

Several spots names after the number of kms from Agadir,The lefts are Km11,fast and tubular on the low tide,Km12 softer but beware of the boulders
in the shorebreak.

Tamri

20 minutes North from Boilers there are long stretches of beach that pick up most swell when all the other spots are flat. Getting in and out of the water can be tricky here like at boilers, since there are lots of very sharp rocks.

Further north you can probably find more breaks and the road along the coast is pretty good quality. South of Essaouira is some more surf spots but they are often blown out.

South of Agadir are more spots  like Tifnit, Sidi Rabat, Mirleft, Legziraand  Sidi Ifni and many more. It could really be worth the drive down south if you have the time to explore.

For any further info re the surf camp or surf taxis, hotel arrangements etc,<a href=”mailto: maurice.lazarus@gmail.com”> email </a> Maurice(Maisch) Lazarus

They offer a full service:

1 – Collect at airport in 4×4

2 – Hotel and half board ( Room with Sat TV,ensuite bathroom) and half board

3 – Taxis service back and forth everyday to surf spots  that are working

4 – Sightseeing when no surf

Price: Euros319 per surfer per week