“Excuse me mate, are you Mohammad, Pat’s mate?” my nervous voice asked.
“Yes, of course you need room, you follow me” “Okay, but are you Australian Pat’s mate?”
“No, I’m Mohammad”
Turning to my travel/surf buddy Ben I could see the tiredness in his eyes, this was the fifth guy called Mohammad in this tiny village square. Upon our last drunken night in Newquay our boss informed us “Nah worry’s boy’s just get a taxi to the village and ask for Mohammad, he’ll look after ya, he’s an old mate of mine”. This proved to be a little harder than we had envisioned, we should have really guessed after landing in Mohammad V airport only to be picked up by Mohammad the taxi driver. Driving along Mohammad V Boulevard I glanced out the window at a donkey carrying the weeks shopping, the kid’s and pulling a cart behind him, the donkey looked how I felt. After twenty minutes of pedal to the floor taxi driving we had found ourselves in Taghazoute looking for a friend of a friend in North Morocco.
“CHRIS, BEN, COME, COME”
We looked over our shoulders as a middle aged Moroccan man came running up behind us.
“Patrick call me just now to say you arrive last night, where were you?”
Before we had time to tell him about the story of last night involving us, surfboards, Moroccan police and some very kind airport staff we were led down into the back streets of Taghazoute.
Sitting down in this tiny room in the back of the family’s shop we were handed warm bread, fresh butter and real jam. In the corner of this room a little gas stove boiled up some hot water, Mohammad’s father, Mohammad started to prepare some mint tea for us. The whole ordeal of tea making is quite an art form in this part of the world; mint tea is seen as a good luck drink, green in Islam is a sign of good fortune. He would pour the boiling water from about metre in the air into a shot glass, fill them all halfway up and then pour them all back into the pot. This sounds like a lot of hard work just for a cuppa but when you see the large amount of sugar that goes into the tea it wouldn’t surprise you!
Waking early the next day we were more than amped to get wet and indulge ourselves in one of the five point breaks all within walking distance! We headed straight past Hash point (So called after the surfers who smoked to much pot and couldn’t walk any further!) and on to Anka’s, Morocco’s famous wave, it needs a relatively big swell for it to kick in but when she does it can produce waves up to a kilometre long! Beyond this headland lie’s Killer point, Mystery’s and La Source all top quality waves for advanced surfers to beginners.
Surfing these waves just as the sun is rising over the mountains is definitely the best part of the day, all calm and still, just a faint hum of the local fishing boats hurrying back to make it in time to sell their goods at the market. Within the first day of being in Morocco it had all ready topped my list of places that I could fit into. People make a point of saying hello and smiling, you can kick back in the square and watch people of the village go about their own business. It got to the point that after surfing most of the winter we would go into the square in our own Jelabers (a one piece gown with a big pullover hood) and we would just talk for a bit and then pull our hoods up and sleep till dinner.
Further south of Taghazoute is the small village of Tamghart or more affectionately called Banana village. Passing through here you really start to wonder actually how many Banana stores can you have in one small village and why aren’t there any banana skins on the floor?
In spitting distance of this village is Banana point yet another long right-hander that breaks down the point and then moulds it’s self into a fun beach break. Just around the corner is the one of only a few left-handers called Devils rock, on a good swell and favourable wind direction this little jewel has been known to throw the odd barrel or two.
Errant Surf Holidays run a well-equipped surf school in this part of Africa, the schools head coach is none other than the Moroccans number one surfer, not only will the lads be able to offer top quality coaching but also an unbeatable local knowledge.
If by some very bad stroke of luck the surf drop’s off then these guys can give you free use of mountain bikes and use of, wait for it…. Quad bikes, oh yes, miles and miles of beach, plus you, plus Quad bike has only got to equal fun and sand in every imaginable place! The bright lights of Agadir can be a good day/night trip when you’re completely surfed out. Pizzerias, Bakery’s, Night clubs (beware most of the girls, although stunning, are hookers) and the local Hamman’s or public baths to you and I. Our good friend Mohammad organised a trip to the Hamman’s in Agadir, stressing that Ben and I should get a massage. We could not believe it, why after all this time had Mohammad only just suggested we go and have our aching backs soothed.
Upon arrival of the Hamman, Ben and I changed into a pair of clean board shorts and walked into a very hot and steamy room. Adjusting my eyes to the dark, humid atmosphere I could see a lot of Moroccan men all sat around the floor scrubbing each other down. Our masseuses’ walked in gave us a scrub down and told us
“Lay down please for massage”
Again turning to Ben I could see fear in his eyes this time.
The Moroccan men now in private conversations, laughing under their breath really didn’t ease our tension.
“NO, NO, NO”
“ST …STOP MY BA RRRRRGH!”
I really didn’t think my back could do these things; will I even be able to walk after this? Grasping my ankles he pulled my legs over his shoulder and rolled forward. I heard every vertebra from top to bottom click.
We laid face down in the wet sweaty floor, exhausted but relieved it was over.
Wave riders: 1000
Currency: Dirhams (approx 15d to the £)
Language: Arabic, Berber, French and Spanish
In the villages of Tamghart and Taghazoute the locals refer to themselves as Berbers (from the Mountains) first before Muslims. The King is respected higher than religion.
Although alcohol is banned from the Muslim religion it is available from Agadir but don’t drink in public. Rammadam comes round once a year where all Moroccan’s don’t eat, drink, smoke or interact with the opposite sex during day light for four weeks. You feel kind of bad sitting outside drinking a coffee during Ramamadam, the Moroccan’s don’t mind just don’t rub it in their face! We also heard that surfing in day time was wrong because you may drink salt water by accident, so one of the local lad’s surfed at 4:30 each morning!
The only surf hazards you will encounter are urchins and rocks. On land remember that smoking hash is actually illegal and check points are a regular sight.
Agadir is the main airport you can fly into from London; flights range from £120 to £350 plus, the flight takes four hours.
Errant Surfing Holidays, the world largest surfing tour operator run a guest house for experienced surfers and a surf school for those wishing to learn, catering for all abilities, to Morocco, picking you up from the airport and taking you straight to the guest house or surf if you are keen! The accommodation overlooks the surf, so you’ll never miss a good session. You can rent a car through them really cheap with a roof rack. A truly amazing culture trip with good surf and sunshine!