Lying between the pulsing Atlantic and the orange sands of the Sahara, Morocco covers an area the size of California and Nevada put together. Its 1,100 mile coastline stretches from the Strait of Gibraltar down to Western Sahara, and scattered along it are some of the best point breaks in the world. A long-time favourite with travelling surfers, Morocco offers winter sunshine, cheap accommodation and a choice of waves to suit everyone. The climate is similar to that of Southern California: baking hot in the summer, comfortably warm in the winter. 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 dope.
Many of Morocco’s best breaks are dotted along a 30 mile stretch of southwest-facing coast around the fishing village of Taghazout, near Agadir. During the winter months, big northwest swells march down the coast, wrapping and peeling around every headland they encounter. Thanks to the geology of the area there are points and reefs almost everywhere you look. Within walking distance of the village are half-a-dozen notable spots. Killer Point, the furthest north, is a long right which will hold waves up to 15 feet, when it breaks way out to sea. The long walk and even longer paddle mean it rarely gets busy (while nearby Anchor Point can be mobbed). The crew in the lineup is a mixed bag of friendly locals and adventurous visitors. The break acquired its name in the ‘70s when a surfer supposedly spotted a passing killer whale. At six feet, speedy 200-yard rides are the norm. Watch out for the rocks on the inside.
Anchor Point, just north of Taghazout, got its name from the rusty anchors that used to surround the derelict fish tinning factory on the point. Nowadays the anchors are gone but the ruins of the factory provide an atmospheric backdrop to the action in the water. Anchor’s works on all tides (hollower towards low) and it’s offshore on an easterly wind.
A few clicks along the road at Tamraght, Devil’s Rock and Banana Beach are popular spots for intermediate surfers and longboarders.
Drive 40 miles north of Taghazout and you’ll reach the fishing village of Imsouane, which nestles on a low promontory. It’s home to two right points. The Bay is a longboard-friendly mega-peeler which faces south and is well protected, so it rarely gets messy or big. On a good day it’ll peel for more than 300 yards at low tide. A lookout spot on the road down offers a bird’s-eye view to check the swell and the crowd. If you need more power (and the wind is co-operating) Cathedral Point is a more exposed righthander, framed by ancient Moroccan fishing cottages. It works from mid to high tide.
Further north, the coast from Essaouria up to Tangiers faces northwest and it’s fully exposed to big unruly winter swells, so tends to be better during the spring and autumn. Two of the top spots along this long stretch of coastline are Dar Bouazza (a long left point just south of Casablanca) and Bouznika (a right point between Casa’ and Rabat). Rocks and urchins make entry and exit at both spots a bit tricky; booties are recommended. There are dozens of fun beachies along this coast too.
// Click Through to 12 Of The Best Moroccan Travel Options Below //
MOROCCO FACT FILE:
WHEN TO GO: October to March. AIRPORT: Agadir (AGA).
ACCOMMODATION: See our recommended camps.
LANGUAGE: Arabic is the mother- tongue but most Moroccans speak French and a few also speak a little English.
CURRENCY: Moroccan dirhams. RUBBER: A 3/2 will do the job. Bring booties – the rocks at many of the points are sharp.
WATCH OUT FOR: Dodgy drivers, petty crime, poor water quality near villages and towns.
AFTER DARK: Try a lamb or fish tagine (stew) at one of the local eateries.
ALTERNATIVE EXCITEMENT: The marketplaces are buzzing hives of colour, scent and flavour. Go haggle