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The Moroccan coast draws plenty of hotdogging, but it’s a ripping good place to learn, too, as we discover at a girls-only surf camp in Taghazout.

“Do you think you can take on Mother Nature?” our bronzed surf teacher, Lisa, calls out as frothy waters tickle the shoreline behind her. A pod of pale-skinned strangers, we lay face-forward on our ‘foamies’, overheating under the Moroccan sun, unsure of the correct answer.

Squatting low on the beach, Lisa thrusts the heels of her palms into the sand, forcing the coarse granules into
a pronounced ridge. “Here’s our wave,” she gestures. Taking a tanned index finger, she traces grooves through the model, to demonstrate an important lesson in surf-safety. “And here are the currents,” she cautions, peering over the top of her sunglasses. “I nearly lost a girl at Tamri last year.That break will really teach you about rips.”

Lisa is talking about Tamri Bay – one of the 20 or so surf-spots that wet this stretch of Morocco’s coastline. From the city of Agadir, drive north along the ocean road towards the walled medina of Essaouira and, while the barren interior throws up tea-coloured dust and supports a smattering of Argan trees, the parched earth crumbles away to the left to expose spectacular surf-washed beaches. Every bay and headland for more than 100km along this route is known for its point, beach or reef breaks.

Staying in the small town of Taghazout, 20 minutes drive from the airport at Agadir and right in the heart of this break-riddled coastline, I’m a guest at Surf Maroc – an English-owned surf outfit that sits on a secluded stretch of beach. Run by Ben and Ollie, a couple of keen surfers from Cornwall, it offers packages that range from short B&B stays, to full-board accommodation with surf-guiding.

A group of nine, we’re here for Roxy Week – a girls-only surf camp that runs fortnightly throughout the spring and summer months. With morning surf lessons and sunset yoga classes each day, we’re going to learn the basics of wave theory, balance our minds as well as our bodies and, with any luck, catch some green waves by the end of the week.

Each morning, we awake to the sound of a crashing swell outside our bedroom doors and step on to the terrace to find a conveyor belt of clean lines pushing in towards the beach below the villa.

After meeting to discuss the day ahead over cereals, pancakes and fresh coffee, we pack up our surfboards, picnics and beach gear and jump into Surf Maroc’s battered van to scout the coastline for the best places to hone our ever-improving skills.

Surfing in Morocco
Lying at the epicentre of the North Atlantic ground swell, Morocco receives decent waves all year round, but it’s during the winter storms you can expect to find the consistent barrelling waves, or ‘green rooms’, that draw world-class surfers from across the globe.

Inspired by the shortboarders we see carving up the faces of unbroken waves, we work hard all week on our pop-ups and paddling, learn how to control the speed and direction of our boards and are tutored in surf etiquette ‘out-back’. Then, just as our noses start to peel, our shoulders are seizing up and our energy levels begin waning, Lisa announces on day five that the waves are a little small. “Let’s take a day off,” she smiles.

With this welcome respite, we take the opportunity to indulge in Moroccan culture: haggling for textiles and cooking pots in Agadir’s colourful souk; being scrubbed with Argan oil and caked in mineral mud in the local hammam; and visiting an open-air café in the rural interior to sip sweet mint-tea and dip chunks of warm bread into fresh honey – the Moroccan equivalent of afternoon tea.

On our final day together, we bound back into the waves with renewed vigour. Throwing myself full-pelt into an onslaught of surging water, I join my eight new friends in the crashing surf one last time, to get tossed around in the bubbling foam and sucked in small rips, before finding my feet and soaring down the face of my first green wave, whooping loudly and grinning from ear to ear as I ride in back to the beach.

There may be little point trying to take on Mother Nature, I contemplate, wiping the salt water out of my eyes, but you can have one hell of a good time trying.

Lucy joined the Girls Only ‘Roxy’ Camp at Surf Maroc. A seven-day package costs £489pp and includes all accommodation, food, surf lessons, board/ wetsuit hire and daily yoga classes. Flights and drinks not included.
surfmaroc.co.uk

Getting there: Return flights from London Gatwick to Agadir start at about £154 with easyJet.


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Short break: Moroccan surf camp
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