The search for solitude has been high on the agenda of the Surf Coaching Holidays team for a long time and with Secret Morocco we’ve hit the jackpot. Read on for the low down on this epic destination.
Lying between the pulsing Atlantic and the orange sands of the Sahara Desert, Morocco is a sizable country, which occupies an area the equivalent to California, and Nevada put together. Its 1,800-kilometre (1,100-mile) coastline stretches from the Strait of Gibraltar all the way to Western Sahara, and dotted along it are some of the best point breaks in the world. A long-time favourite with travelling surfers, Morocco offers affordable accommodation and a variety of waves, which sees those in the know coming back year after year.
The climate is similar to that of Southern California – baking hot in the summer, comfortably warm from November through to February. During those winter months Morocco becomes a gateway for Euro surfers who are glad to leave their 5mm wetties and hoods at home and slip back into their summer suits.
Morocco is a Muslim country and it’s important to respect its laws and culture. Female visitors should dress modestly when walking around towns and villages. It’s fine to take photos of the scenery, but don’t take photos of local people, especially women, without asking first. And be aware that it’s illegal for westerners to smoke hashish.
Arabic is the mother-tongue, but most Moroccans speak French and a few speak a little English.
Many of Morocco’s best-kept secret spots are dotted along a 50 kilometre (30 mile) stretch in the south of the country on the edge of the Sahara. Here the coastline is broadly southwest-facing, and big northwest swells marching down the coast wrap and peel around any headland they encounter. The geology of the area also helps, with gently dipping sedimentary strata creating point breaks and reefs here, there and everywhere. We came across this new wave zone some years ago and in 2014 held our first surf-coaching holiday to the area. The trip went down as one of the best that we’ve ever held and we’ve never looked back.
The incredible waves of southern Morocco were first ridden in the mid ‘60s, and the area became a Shangri-La for traveling surfers in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Back then; there was no running water or electricity in the villages. These days there are plenty of home comforts. We have chosen the perfect base from which to explore the numerous waves within walking distance of the town. Our villa is just set back from the coast, with big sun terraces, a swimming pool and sea glimpses. So at the end of another three-session day you can wind down with a beer and as the sun sinks behind the horizon. The peace and quiet of this place is unrivalled.
Within a 10-minute drive of the villa are half-a-dozen notable spots. The Point, the furthest north, is a long right-hander point, which will hold waves up to 15 feet, when it breaks miles out to sea. You paddle out from the beach with a very mellow dry hair paddle out. The main beach that is a short walk from the villa offers line after line of swell with wedgey peaks on a higher tide. With miles of sandy beach and no one else around there is plenty of space to improve your surfing. There are further points nearby but we like to keep a secret! Prepare to be blown away by them. On a booming swell, the ocean lights up with lines of perfect, corduroy waves make for a stunning scene. On the big days it’s time to head to the sheltered spots in the south which offer rides of longer than 40 seconds and a real taste of un-touched Morocco as you head right off the beaten track.
Way north of our location lays, the more renowned surfing area of Taghazout. This isn’t to be confused with Secret Morocco as while it is some hours of driving away, it is worlds apart. Taghazout attracts surfers of all abilities from far and wide. With over 15 surf camps in the area there are always lots of Euro wave riders, who journey from as far afield as Norway, Sweden, Germany, the UK and Ireland to get their fill of winter wave action. Joining them are locals like Ramzi Boukhiam, Othman Choufani, Abdel Harim and Yassine Ramdani, who are all WQS standard surfers and a pleasure to watch. The lineups are competitive at all main breaks and you have to be assertive to snag your fair share of the waves – prepare to hassle. That’s why we have journeyed onwards, away from the surfing mecca to find our own slice of uncrowded perfection. An area of the country un-touched by pollution, with zero crowds, our search for isolation has rewarded us with perfect deserted waves rolling in under vibrant orange cliff tops. The majestic azure-blue ocean in this area is constantly alive – lack of swell is never an issue but empty line-ups are abundant. Secret Morocco is the jewel in Morocco’s crown and we’d love for you to share the experience with us. Take a look here for details of our next trip and let us help you to improve your surfing and experience a land untouched by commercialisation and consumerism that seemingly time has forgotten. Join us in March or November.