Despite its North African location, Morocco is very much a part of the European surf trail. Located between 20° and 35° latitude with a NW facing coastline, Morocco has all the key elements for an outstanding surf destination. The Tarhazoute area in the south nestles behind a big cape, which funnels the predominant north winds into an offshore direction. The spots are all easily accessible by road with the waves generally breaking right over flat rock and sand. With balmy winter land temperatures, cheap living and a fascinating cultural diversity, Morocco is a must for the European surf traveller.
Taghazout has enjoyed legendary status for decades, as a place to escape the winter blues and surf the great pointbreaks clustered around the famous Anchor Point. Known as ‘Madraba’ in Arabic and called ‘Ikhflout’ in the local Berber tongue, Anchors (or Ankas) has the ability to hold huge size and break down the perfectly angled headland for over a kilometre. The warm, green walls are powerful yet accessible to intermediates and provide a relatively safe environment for less accomplished surfers to improve their pointbreak skills, at least when it is small. Just to the north, past the reefs of Mysteries and La Source is another great, righthand pointbreak called Killers. It is this concentration of quality that has attracted surfers to this mellow fishing town, which is now showing the signs of development and ever increasing numbers of surfers and surf camps. There are more waves in town like Hash Point and Panoramas, then miles of beginner beachbreak running south to Banana Village at Tamrhakht. A few reefs, including a rare left, complete the picture towards Agadir, where there are more local surfers. Winter is the only time to go because the bigger swells are needed to get into the series of headland protected bays that make this area so good. Anchor Point often sleeps from April to October, although Killers will break on much smaller swells. The N/NE winds get bent and funnelled offshore by the coastal ranges, but in summer there are more NW onshore winds to contend with.
When to Go
Morocco’s coastline has the straightest swell exposure in the North Atlantic. The NW exposed beach breaks can suffer from a swell excess, but that’s when the point breaks and sheltered spots are surfed. In winter, tradewinds from the NE will make light to moderate cross-shores at most spots, whilst SW facing spots like Tarhazoute will be offshore. Mid-April is the start of the strong NW “Chergui” that blows out most spots until mid-September. During this period, straight N winds blow for 40% of the time, with the relative lack of swell, this is the worst period to surf in Morocco. However, if you’re into wave sailing, check out Essaouira. Tides vary from 2-6ft (0.5-2m).
Written by Patrice Touhar www.lowpressure.co.uk