Words: Dave Adams
Pics: Dave Adams, Wendy Queralt
Morocco has traditionally, and still remains, a hangout for wave riders wanting a more relaxed and hippy esque trip. Not to say that modern luxuries can’t be found – they can, in fact. But the Moroccan surf experience is extremely chilled out and harks back to a time when anything goes in pursuit of legging burning long point break rides. Dave Adams is no stranger to SUPM. When he recently took yet another trip to Morocco, doing things in his own quirky way (as is usual for anyone who knows Dave), we were intrigued to hear his colourful tales. Read on to learn more about Dave’s right hand wave paradise – made all the more unique by his choice of piloting an inflatable touring SUP…
It’s no secret that Morocco is an amazing surf location with incredible right hand point breaks all along its coast. It’s a surf nirvana to say the least, which keeps drawing me back year after year. But it’s not just the surf though! Morocco has something that other holiday destinations just don’t possess. A sort of non-stop festival atmosphere permeates – one that seeps into your blood and is hard to resist. Almost as if Michael Eavis took the idea of Morocco and started Glastonbury Festival off the back of it. Of course, unless you mingle with the locals and do things the Moroccan way, you just may miss it. The long drum sessions that beat in time with the pounding sea, as you breathe in the Moroccan smells and taste the distinct flavours, make it such a unique destination. There is a familiar maritime feel to the whole area, not too different to the west coast of the UK. You see the same friendly faces year after year, welcoming you back into their houses for a Tajine or inviting you out for the evening surf session, where you can benefit from local knowledge and get the best waves.
The coast is huge so it’s worth deciding exactly which part of the country you’re going to which will also determine how you’re travel arrangements will be. Most people fly but of course there are always a few vans pottering around, most of them getting to Morocco via ferry from Spain. Easiest option is to plane it to Agadir and hit the world famous breaks of Anchor and Killer Point. I usually fly to Marrakech and spend a day or two there to get into the swing of things. It takes a while before you’re properly into the flow.
From Marrakech the closest bit of coast, and one of the loveliest places in Morocco, is Essaouira. Essaouira is also a windsurfer’s paradise with a perfect crescent shaped bay and almost constant cross shore F3-4. The Island of Mogador shelters the beach so not much swell gets in to the northern end – perfect for flat water paddling.. There is a classic sand bottom point break off the southern tip which is hidden from the northerly winds, surfed by only a few, myself included.
For more consistent waves it’s best to head south. I usually stay at Imsouane. The spot has an amazingly long right hander that can be ridden for well over half a mile and is sheltered from the prevailing northerly. It does have huge rips though especially on big spring tides, which can make the whole spot unmanageable for the less experienced. So as usual, worth getting a bit of local knowledge from the super friendly local crew. There is also a typical beach break on the other side of the village but it’s the right that’s the real draw.
A classic reeling point locally known as The Bay and is best (in my opinion) ridden on a longboard or bigger! My weapon of choice is a 14 foot Starboard Astro inflatable. For somebody my size and weight, 6’3 and fifteen stone, the 14 footer is ideal and it even enables me to take my own gear without added baggage charges. Everything I need for the day, out in overhead chunky waves. No need to leave your towel and sandals on the beach, just take them with you!
To get a 14 foot cruising SUP into a vertical overhead drop, you really need to paddle hard down the face to get the board to release. It took a few waves to remember that! I got thrown over the falls on the first couple of attempts and then it all came back to me. Paddle like a Kahuna on the drop and you’ll make it, by the seat of your pants, but you’ll come charging down the line after a sketchy take off just holding your edge through bottom turn. Epic fun! After that you can start lining yourself up for almost endless sections, sometimes hollower and bigger as it breaks further inside the bay.
On the other side of the village is the beach which will usually be about twice the size of the point and is far more suited to smaller gear. A nice right breaks in the northern corner called Cathedral Point and does see some shelter from northerlies too, especially at higher tide.
When I was not getting half mile long rides in the bay I would just hang out all day in between surfs at my favourite café. The whole place is set up for surf/cafe culture. I would meet Hassim at 7:30am in the morning and he would look after my belongings, serve coffee with amazing food – breakfast lunch and dinner – all for around twelve quid per day. Wow! I gave the guy a twenty pound tip at the end of the week, which when you add it all up is still amazing value. £20 is about two day’s wages so he was made up.
If you want a hassle free paddle surf trip with culture, amazing food and music plus a happy vibe in warm sunshine all within a three hour flight, Morocco is hard to beat. I will keep returning year after year. It’s got something for everyone. Even if you’re not into the glide and don’t even get wet, you’ll still be mesmerised by the colours and smells and the friendly atmosphere. Add a few waves of perfection into the mix and you’ve got the perfect surf holiday destination!