Surfing was introduced to Morocco by US servicemen stationed there in the early 1960s. Since then, despite a growing surfing industry, the country's shores are still relatively uncrowded and are the perfect place for all standards to enjoy the experience of surfing in warm waters and hot temperatures, with, as an added bonus, some treasure troves of excellent surf to be found.
The warm smooth sandy and rocky headlands make Morocco not only a beautiful country of contrasts and splendour but provides a wealth of surfing spots that will blow your mind away. The location of Morocco at the top of Africa opposite Europe and exposed to the warmth of the Atlantic flow offers an opportunity to capture the great Atlantic swells and is one of the only spots worldwide that is consistent year long, with solid surf in autumn, winter and spring a common occurrence, and small fun surf in the summer months.
The Atlantic coast of Morocco is popular with surfers. Waves are generally between ˝ m and 2˝ m high (up to 5 m in winter). Good surf spots can be found within a 25km radius of Essaouira - south from Essaouira is the small fishing village of Sidi Kaouki (also popular with windsurfers) - and in the Agadir region. Winter (Oct-Mar) is the best time for surfing - there is a chance of rain but also a fairly constant swell (summer can have flat spells).
The coastal region near Agadir offers consistent world class surfing conditions from September through to April. The combination of swell arriving from North Atlantic depressions, light offshore trade winds and a variety of point, reef and beach breaks make the Agadir region an exceptional surfing destination. Because it is sheltered by Cap Ghir and surrounding hills, sunshine is virtually guaranteed in the Agadir region, with over 300 days of sunshine per year. The winter air temperature seldom drops below 22°C during the day, and the water temperature averages 18°C.
Agadir’s coastline has some of the world’s best surf spots such as Banana Beach, Hash Point, Anchor Point, Boilers and Killer Point. There are reefs with very long right handers and excellent beach breaks for all levels, from total beginners to experts. A few kilometres north of Agadir, lies the atmospheric fishing village and surfing Mecca of Taghazoute. There is an excellent surfcamp near Taghazoute in Tamrhakht (Tamghart), open all year, all inclusive and for all levels, providing surf classes for beginners. Instructors speak perfect English, French, and Spanish, with French Federation and Lifeguard diplomas.
Taghazoute has gained world fame for its four quality righthand point and reef breaks in one area. Tales of 20ft (6m) waves breaking for at least a kilometre down Anchor Point can not be discounted. Another amazing break is Killers, a long righthander that holds surf up to 15ft (5m) and is named after the killer whales that sometimes cruise just outside the lineup. Even on smaller days a host of brilliant peaks like La Source and Mysteries break within a small area. Down the road in Tamrhakht, there’s fun beachbreak at Banana Beach and good barrelling peaks at Devils Rock. Best time to visit is Oct – March when the coastal mountain ranges tend to funnel the predominant northerly winds in a more offshore direction, making the breaks from Agadir to Cap Rhir a focal point for surfing in Morocco. Tides will vary from 2-6ft and water temps in winter are always above 16°C (61°F).
The beach itself is a huge 5 km arc that delivers multiple conditions, from flat water to waves. Essaouira is the windy city with stats ranging from 25 knots to 35 knots pretty much every day in the summer months and 20 - 30 knots in the winter with pumping waves. The annual wind pattern tends to be similar to that of the Canary Islands. The summer trade winds are accelerated by strong thermal action particularly during the spring and early summer when temperatures inland can be very hot. Generally the wind increases throughout the morning and by mid afternoon can often be blowing a solid force 6-7. Between the months of October to April, Atlantic storms produce large swells which offer excellent wave conditions all the way up and down the coast from Oualidia to Agadir. The winds, however, are a little less consistent and predictable in direction although it should usually be possible to either surf or windsurf on most days during the winter at or within a 25km radius of Essaouira. There are heavy tradewinds, especially in summer. Temperatures range between 18°C in January to 25°C in August. Wave conditions are especially good on the southern side of the bay in spring and autumn (1 -2 m) and from mid-June to August (0.5 to 1 m). The further upwind you travel in the bay, the flatter the water.
Challenging wave conditions can also be found about 25 km to the south at Sidi Kaouki and Cap Sim or particularly at Moulay Bouzerqtoune about the same distance to the north where the wave action can at times be world class. Unlike other top spots around the world, these areas, apart from high season, still remain relatively uncrowded.
With a stronger sideshore wind than Essaouira, where the Atlantic and North East trades meet, Moulay offers one of the best wave spots just outside Europe. In the winter with 2-5 meters waves and lack of safety cover, this is a spot for confident and experienced surfers only.
Sidi Kaouki is situated 25 km south of Essaouira with a 5 km long sandy beach, providing ideal conditions for advanced surfers. It has a cross shore wind and good waves in the winter. Conditions here can vary and with different entry points you will find the right waves for beginner and more advanced surfers. The shore break is somewhat higher than at Essaouira, but the spot also offers fabulously long waves. You can start directly in many of the waves. Attention must be paid to low and high tides and the currents.
Cap Sim is situated 2 km north of Sidi Kaouki and is the perfect spot if there are too many surfers in Sidi Kaouki, as conditions are more or less identical.
Oualidia sits above a peaceful lagoon, kept topped up with ocean water by two breaches in a natural breakwater. The lagoon and beach provide an ideal sheltered location for sailing, surfing, windsurfing and fishing. The beach is the most calm one of the Atlantic coast, as it is sheltered by a natural barrier. From late June to September, Oualidia is very busy. The beach gets very crowded and the water is none too clean. However, off-season, you have the beautiful surroundings and beach almost to yourself.
Moving one kilometre inland from Cap Sim across the sand dunes and scrubland, you arrive at the Berber village of Diabat, to the south of Essaouira. In the 1960s this was a legendary hippy hangout and Jimi Hendrix spent time here.
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Date last edited:
12 November 2012