Life’s a beach – watching the surfers at Taghazout – Morocco
I’m sitting on the beach at Taghazout as the family head out into the water in their wetsuits, to try out their surf and body-boards. This small town, just north of Agadir has become the premier surf spot in Morocco, as the storms far out in the Atlantic create waves which gather force until they hit the west coast of North Africa. Surf pros watch the forecast for storms in the Atlantic and then fly in when the surf’s at it’s best.
We’ve come for a family holiday to enjoy some sunny weather and try the waves ourselves, as my oldest son has become a keen surfer, since starting university in Wales. I, however, being a lukewarm surfer, have been assigned to guarding our belongings while the rest of the family head for the water.
Panorama beach is a long, curving, golden beach and with easy access from the road for the 4 x 4 jeeps, it’s where the surf camps come to give their lessons. Of course it’s nothing like the films of the pros casually surfing long waves. Most beginners are close to shore and manage to stand up for a few seconds before tumbling over while the better surfers are further out and get in a few curves before they too come off the boards.
It’s the weekend and the teenage boys are out playing football, while Moroccan couples stroll by, the men in long trousers and warm jackets, the women with long cardigans and headscarves. With the temperature in the mid 20s, we are wearing shorts and t-shirts, while the locals feels the chill of spring. The man with the camel comes up in hope of a photo opportunity and invites us to stroke her soft nose. As we show no signs of paying for a camel ride he loses interest and sits on a rock to smoke a cigarette. The camel lies down on the sand and poops a neat pile of droppings, which a passing wave washes around our feet. I climb up above the beach where rows of motorhomes are parked and Moroccan families have set up camp under the trees for a weekend picnic. On the slopes are spiky bushes and dusty cactus, which have caught an assortment of red and green plastic bags, fluttering in the wind.
I’m having a yoga lesson on the rooftop room above Surf Berbere, looking up at the bamboo wrapped beams and the blue sky. Naoko, our teacher has a full room today and the surprise for me is that over half the class are young guys in their 20s. Apparently surfing and yoga go well together, the yoga giving you the flexibility to hop onto your board and the core strength for balance and paddle power. Having never tried yoga before, I realise how stiff and inflexible I have become, as Naoko tucks a couple of cushions under my bottom so I can sit comfortably cross legged without my legs and feet going into a spasm of cramp.
I’m finding it difficult to still my mind, which is fascinated by the animal names of all the yoga poses. I count a down dog, crow, eagle, locust and a scorpion which is impressively demonstrated by one of the class, involving balancing on your arms with back curved and legs dropping backwards. The only distraction apart from the roar of the surf, is the dog barking, people laughing on the terrace bar and the smell of fried onions drifting up from the kitchen below. The class ends with 10 minutes to relax every part of my body including my eyebrows and heart, while we all dive into a lake of light, which sends three of the class, all boys, off to sleep.
I’m sitting at Sonya’s café under a shady terrace, eating a Moroccan salad and sipping my freshly squeezed orange juice, with the surf breaking just below us. This is a great viewpoint to watch a couple of surfers who glide in to shore, making it look easy. Then a young local boy with no wetsuit paddles out and gives an even more impressive surf display, twisting, curving and nudging the waves. A flock of seagulls drifts on the surface of the sea and further out a blue painted fishing boat appears from nowhere, ready to land on the beach. They judge the swell perfectly and power in, then cut the engine as they reach the beach. There’s a pause while the fisherman hang around the boat and eventually the tractor drives down the sand, to hoist it up and carry it back up the beach. As we walk along later we see the fresh fish for sale on makeshift stalls on the beach.
There’s really not much to do in Taghazout apart from swim, surf, take a yoga class and generally hang out in cafes, and that’s its charm. Life doesn’t get any more chilled out than this.
More tales from Taghazout and our Moroccan holiday
Staying in Taghazout
We stayed in Taghazout in an apartment rented through Surf n Stay, an Irish/Moroccan outfit run by Chris and his team who will help you with everything that you need to enjoy your stay in Taghazout; they’ll rent you an apartment, arrange airport transfer, car hire, surfboard rental and fix anything else you need.
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