For a Euro-based regularfoot, Safi makes a compelling argument for itself as being one of those must-surf places…Photo: Victor Gonzalez
Often claimed as a southern extremity of ‘European’ surfing, Morocco might be physically close to Europe via the Gibralta straits, but culturally and in terms of surf shape, it’s world’s away. The most obvious appeal is that of its mainly righthand pointbreak surf. Big unruly Atlantic storms that have made their way that far south have ordered themselves into long period belts of refined juice, which then taper and bend into the coast in a fashion that might make a regularfooter’s heart skip or even reduce him to weeping tears of joy.
After a few decades of surf exploration, Morocco has became the no 1. destination for those who cannot afford a long haul trip to Indo, Hawaii, Maldives, but yearn for quality surf in warm weather. Even the most broke-ass of Euro stoke seekers can bung 4 bros in a car to share petty and make the road trip, or jump on a cheap flight from several European cities, hook up some reasonable accomo and get their Maroc on. When you get there, the main attraction of Moroccan surfing is quickly understood; when you set eyes on Killer Point, Safi, Immousane, Boilers etc etc reeling off into the distance, promising tube time followed by thigh burn of the highest order, your sloppy unruly local beachbreak and it’s unsightly oncoming sections will be but a bad memory.
Fancy a change from Moroccan long points? How about a pulse-raising secret slab? Hodei Collazo gladly accepts. Photo: Victor Gonzalez
Jet slag: You know those trips you go that you spend the first week wanting dinner for breakfast and being generally off pace coz of jet lag? Well this isn’t one. The principal advantage of significantly altering your latitude but not longitude is that you get warmer climes without being awake half the night – it’s on the same time zone. There is also another significant advantage for longstayers: a free, 3-month tourist visa which leaves you enough time to get used to the waves, spend a large part of the warm winter and become almost a local (if you bought your jelabbah, tea and tagine and you can pronounce Salam and Inch’allah without an accent…)
Easy Peasy: The proximity of cities like Agadir, Essaouira, Casablanca to the surf spots is useful when it’s flat and that you want to visit the souks, get into a bit of culture, froth on Instagram etc. In short, this is a country that opens its arms to tourists, which has even been the subject of an order from the King. An islamic country but the most moderate one, as long as you show a bit of respect you should be able to do your thing without offending anyone.
Who: For all levels of shredder with all tastes in surf. Beginners have numerous surf schools around Taghazout. Meanwhile, intermediate surfers love the points in the region, while the gnarly tube hounds love exploring the slabs.
Best spots: Safi, Killer Point, Dakhla but each spot can have their day of glory, only Safi, Killer Point and a few others stand out.
Beware: On the road and of how Moroccans drive. It’s not Switzerland. Beware also of drinking water and food, it is possible to spend much of your trip on the toilet or behind a bush because of a bad choice, if you are self- catering. Respect local traditions and Islam, for example, if you choose to come during Ramadan, there are advantages and disadvantages.
Aritz Aranburu chased a solid swell pulse down to North Africa this winter, and was glad he did. Photo: Victor Gonzalez
Also: Locate mosques when choosing where to stay, generally a newer building, better maintained than the rest, with a speaker on top… this speaker may be an issue to your tranquility with five daily calls to prayer … starting at 5am.
Rafts: Your normal shortboard, perhaps sleeker for drawing out your lines at the points, and a step up for bigger days, Moroccan points can handle size.