Morocco is a world-class surf destination. That’s no secret. Surfers have been drawn there for decades by its right pointbreaks, mostly around the town of Taghazout, which spin sand and rock-bottomed funnels along their fringes.
There’s a lot more to Morocco than right pointbreaks, though, and if you’re nice enough to your surf guide he’ll show you some of the secret slabs and reefs, a couple lefts and a whole lot more of what the Moroccan coast has to offer – that is if you can tear yourself away from the perfect rights out in front of your surf camp.
Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of surfing in Morocco:
Situated on the NW coast of Africa, Morocco receives very consistent swell from the storm systems that travel across the Atlantic and hammer Europe. Because it’s situated further south, the swells are very clean and lined-up by the time they reach Morocco. The wind is often offshore and the climate is sunny and warm – for winter.
Right points, right points and more right points. Recently, however, Morocco has also started to reveal its potential as slab city. If you like it shallow and square, Morocco is packing.
You’ll need a good 3/2 wetsuit at least (4/3 if you’re a bit of a wuss). You can buy boards in Taghazout, but they’re pricey. Best to bring your own. Your regular shortboard will do you fine for most days at the points, but it’s a good idea to go a bit heavier on the glassing as the waves are powerful.
A semi-gun is essential if you’re planning on taking on the bigger, barreling days.
November to the end of February pumps. Perfect for the Christmas holidays when everyone in SA is on leave and wondering where to scratch for a wave.
It’s relatively easy to go DIY in Morocco, but Zag recommends at least having a few weeks to figure it out and renting a car if you can. Taghazout is the best hub to base yourself out of and has good waves nearby with the likes of Anchor Point and Killers, but they are exactly that – hubs. So expect a busy assortment of locals, travelling surfers and travellers who think they can surf. One word: explore. You can do it all on the relative cheap by sharing a room and car rental, and eating at the cheapie outdoor stalls.
Alternately, if you don’t have more than a week or two or want to get properly dialed in from the word go, Zag highly recommends hooking up with Denny Tolley at Moroccan Surf Adventures. We usually stay clear of blatant punts, but Den deserves every bit of credit. Not only will he put you up in style and grease the wheels for the smoothest trip possible, he will score you the best, least crowded waves around – mostly because he’s pioneered a good few of them on his own.
Check out www.morocsurf.com or drop Denny a line on firstname.lastname@example.org
SA surf travel specialists All Aboard travel and True Blue Travel do good flight deals or packages to Morocco and will sort out your flight and visa arrangements. You can secure return flights for around R7000 – R9000 depending on where you’re flying from.
Being an Islamic nation, beer and boozing isn’t big in Morocco. You can still buy drinks, but they are costly. Getting loose in public is not a good idea and frowned upon. Women travellers may experience a few hassles if they’re missioning on their own, but are generally ok.
Morocco is (unofficially) one of the biggest hashish producers in the world, and you will be offered ‘chocolate’ or ‘bang-bang’ wherever you go. Don’t take this as a sign that it’s legally ok to buy and smoke hash – if the cops bust your goofed ass, you’re in for some serious trouble and there are nightmare stories of peddlers setting up unsuspecting tourists to extract big bribes.
On the whole Moroccans are super cool and friendly, but with their mercantile genes can sell you sand in the Sahara. Learn to bargain, but don’t ever be agro. A smile and a laugh will get you a lot further and a much better price.
Rocks in Morocco are sharp and litter many of the point breaks, and often the only way in and out is to go over them. Consider taking a good pair of booties.
If you get some downtime, go blow your mind in Marrakech or snowboard in the Atlas Mountains.