Surf’s Up Morocco: Making Waves in Africa

The legendary surf spots of Tahiti, Hawaii and Fiji are known for firing up the imagination of salty surf dogs around the world, but few amateur surfers will ever get to sample their waves. These places really only belong in surf magazine and videos and are the territory of pro surfers on big sponsor budgets, and not the sort of place the average weekend surfer from the UK could afford.

However, there is a land that offers inexpensive living, uncrowned beaches and breaks, consistent surf not to mention great food and friendly locals, and all only a short flight from the UK. It’s name? Morocco.

Sat on the very north of the mighty African continent, yet just a short boat ride from the British Territory of Gibraltar, Morocco has some 3500km of coastline with offer surfers a huge choice of breaks. American and Australian surfers were responsible for bringing the sport to Moroccan shores in the 1970s, but it is now largely Europeans looking to escape the cold winter climates and the growing leagues of local Moroccans, who dominate the waves.

There are hundreds of secret spots all down the coast, but some of the better known areas include Banana beach – ideal for beginners; Panaromas – a right hand point break, but with a strong rip current; Hash Point – another right hand point with easy entry from a small sandy beach, Anchor point – a favourite with the locals meaning it can get crowded, and is therefore best suited to intermediate or expert surfers only and Killer Point – named after the fact that occasionally killer whales can be seen there, and is renowned for being one of the best waves in the area. It requires a 20 minute paddle out to reach the break, so you’ll need to be fit to make it, but once you do, you’ll be able to enjoy a very long right hander, with waves up to 12 feet in height.

Accommodation in Morocco is available in the form of small hotels, holiday villas or dorm-style hostels, which can be found all long the coastline. Many are specially geared towards surfers, offering secure board storage, wet suit hire and chill out zones.

Western surfers should keep an eye on their bags, as some of the locals will be only too happy to offer their ‘baggage carrying’ services, in return for a few dollars, especially in busy places like airports and train stations. However, the locals are generally warm, friendly and welcoming.

With little in the way of localism to worry about, more and more European surfers are heading to Morocco to taste African waters for themselves.

Paul McIndoe is an online, freelance journalist and keen hillwalker. He lives in Edinburgh with his two dogs.

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