Morrocco Waveski Surfari
World Champion waveski rider Adam Harvey and Becky Ashworth are sailing around the world searching for the best surfing conditions. This time they are surfing the Morroccan breaks.
Words: Adam Harvey
Photography: Becky Ashworth
After spending over 4 months sailing the Mediterranean where the only wave to quench my surfing thirst was a chest high wind swell in Corsica, it’s safe to say I was stoked to be back out in the Atlantic sailing over the huge ocean swells on route to Morocco, a 3-day sail from Gibraltar. Matt, a good mate of mine who is always keen to search for some waves, flew out to Gibraltar to join us for our trip down Morocco and to the Canary Islands. Unfortunately for him our mode of transport took a bit for him to get used to… although I have never seen somebody stay so positive after being sick half a dozen times within a few days!
We had an awesome sail down Morocco to Rabat, with dolphins, sharks, and good winds. As Morocco appeared on the horizon there was a 1-2 metre ground swell pulsing onto the coast, we knew there would be waves to be had and we couldn’t wait to start exploring.
The Moroccan coast is home to some of the best waves in the world, mainly long picture-perfect point breaks. However, with this comes crowds which is one thing we try desperately to avoid when in search of good waves. There is nothing worse than having to share the line up with another 40 guys who are all as keen to get their share of the waves. Because of this, we decided to explore further north than the famous surf breaks in hope to escape the crowds.
After securing our boat and checking in with customs we went ashore. First things first, food. After a couple of days at sea with Matt not really keeping anything down, he was super keen to grab a bite to eat on some stable ground before hunting out some waves. After a bowl of unidentified but tasty white soup for 50p each, we headed off to scout some potential spots with a small but clean ground swell predicted over the next few days.
Before leaving to Morocco we did lots of reading and research about both surfing and sailing down this part of the world. One bit of advice that was given in a few forum posts we read was to carry cigarettes to barter with both local fishermen and the corrupt customs / police. As with many things online, we found this to be complete rubbish. The customs and police were very welcoming, friendly, and helpful with no bribes needed! This meant however that we were now left with half a dozen packets of cigarettes which were of no use to us what so ever. We decided that maybe they would come in useful as we were walking around and managed to use them as a form of currency to get a rowing boat across the river to a possible wave we had spotted on Google Earth.
As the sea came into sight we were greeted with head high waves peaking up over an A-framing reef break with nobody out. Exactly what we had been hoping for! Without another word said, we turned around, ran back to the boat, via another exchange of cigarettes to cross the river, and grabbed our boards. To say I was stoked was an understatement. I loved sailing in the Med, doing tons of freediving in crystal clear water wasn’t a bad life, however, this surf was long overdue!
We surfed this wave for a few days, sometimes alone, sometimes with a group of friendly locals who were happy to share the waves and make us feel very welcome on their local break. I am a strong believer that if you show respect, you will get respect. Although the water quality was by no means perfect, or even good for that matter, it was a cool feeling to be surfing somewhere with no surf tourism, something which is becoming harder to come by nowadays.
After spending a week or so surfing a couple of different waves near Rabat depending on the swell size we decided to head further south to Agadir, a 4-day sail down the Moroccan coast. Leaving the harbour entrance was an experience to say the least, having to go over a shallow sand bar with a fairly sizable swell rolling through did not seem right in our 36’ sailing boat, but we made it and although sad to leave such an awesome place, we were stoked to be back on the open sea.
We arrived in Agadir mid-afternoon and headed ashore to explore. The vibe was completely different to that of Rabat, with lots of tourism, and a much less welcoming feel to the place. Either way, we were excited at the possibility of perfect points and heavy reefs so we got an early night to be ready for an even earlier start.
We had a spot in mind about a 5km walk away which we had spotted on Google Earth so we set off before sunrise in hope to escape any crowd that there might be. It turns out that this 5km walk was a lot more than 5km after having to divert around a big industrial park… over 1 hour after leaving we finally arrived at the break. It was good. Over head-high sets breaking perfectly over a reef with 200 + meter rides to be had on the ones which lined up well, and best of all, there was nobody else out! However, the reason there was nobody else out was because a big fish processing factory was at the top of the beach, pumping all of its untreated waste straight in the line-up… if the seasickness wasn’t going to get Matt, the smell of the fish sure was! However, we put up with the foul smell and water quality and ended up scoring some good waves for a couple of hours before manging to hitch a lift with a friendly local back to the marina.
The next day we decided that if we were going to explore the area properly a car was essential so we headed into town and found a local car hire for dirt cheap. No deposit required and upfront cash payment… perfect for people like us without a big budget! We spent the following few days exploring the area and scoring some epics waves, however we found the vibe in the water to be nowhere near as friendly and welcoming as we did on some of the waves up north. We think that the surf tourism has got slightly out of hand, causing over crowded line ups and surf schools who think they own the place on waves that aren’t beginner friendly.
Our time in Morocco was awesome to say the least with world class waves and friendly locals. As mentioned before, we found the surf tourism in the area to be slightly over whelming, creating an unhealthy vibe in the line-up at some spots. However, there are great waves to be had and we will be back someday to continue exploring more of the coast.
After re-stocking the boat with food, fuel, and water, we left Morocco behind in search of some more waves. Next stop, Lanzarote!
Follow our adventure on FACEBOOK HERE