There’s nothing quite like a faceful of offshore ocean spray to let you know you’re alive. But then there’s also nothing like sliding on to a smooth early morning wave, riding the liquid glass on an uncrowded break with ?a handful of other surfers and the slow-rising sun as your only companions.
I would sit and contemplate all this, but there’s no time; more peaks are lumbering towards the beach at Panoramas in Taghazout. Forget thinking about the dream – I’m living it.
My Surf Maroc guide Zac, a Taghazout local with a style as wild as the afro atop his head, constantly chirps at me in broken English.
“Look up earlier,” he chides. “Trust yourself. Feel the board underneath your feet. You know it’s there, just point where you want to go.”
I launch myself into wave after wave, my fatboy board the perfect vehicle for hitching a ride on these small slices of oceanic perfection. Every ride is met with more approving words from Zac. From anyone else it would be wearing, but ?when you surf as well as he does, your advice means something.
I watch as he slashes his way down the line, smashing the wave’s lip and then cutting back to meet the peak. He pulls ?a neat 360 in the whitewash and then, ?as he paddles back out, motions to me.
“Come further out,” he calls. You’re ready now.”
Surfing at sunrise
Beyond the impact zone, there’s just a few of us. Aside from Zac, at 30 I’m the oldest by at least a decade; the line-up is made up of a group of Taghazout grommets, none yet even thinking about shaving.
They’re rippers and I have to be on my game to even think about catching a wave. But it doesn’t take long for me to find ?my spot in the hierarchy and score some good rides. Zac’s advice is paying off. The board floats beneath my feet as I learn to subtly distribute my weight and steer it along the green wall.
“No class for these boys today?” I ask Zac after I’m snaked for another wave.
“No man,” he replies with a grin. “The beach is their school today … maybe everyday.”
The sun rises higher, bringing crowds ?– mostly novices going through the ‘learn-to-stand-up-on-the-beach-first’ routine.
By the time they hit the water, I’ve been out there for two hours and ready for a bit of onshore time to regenerate.
As a camel trots by, ridden by an eight-year-old in the foolhardy style of one who has never tasted pain, polite hawkers offer their wares, only too happy to chat and learn about the world outside Morocco ?– even though their offers are declined.
The groms are also in. They gather round hoping Zac can hook them up a sandwich. He does. Hopefully that’s bought me some waves in the afternoon session.
We surf ‘til mid-afternoon when the swell drops off. No work, no school – the groms definitely have the right idea.
Back at the stunning Surf Maroc HQ, the sun is setting above the villa’s top balcony. I watch it from an almost upside-down position under the tutelage of Lindsay, an extremely lithe Canadian yoga instructor.
A solid stretching session – some time to clear the mind and focus only on my breathing – would seem the perfect end ?to the day. But it’s not over yet.
The Surf Maroc team has prepared their nightly feast. Hunger can be a horrible poison but these solid meals are the antidote. Our multi-national tribe of wave warriors gathers to break bread and share tales of the day’s spills and thrills.
As the pastel-orange sky fades to black, the ocean becomes a soundtrack to sleep. My weary head hits the pillow, happy in the knowledge that I’ll do it all again tomorrow … and every day this week.
The view from a Surf Maroc villa
All levels welcome
No matter what your level of surfing, there’s a wave for you in Taghazout.
From the beach breaks at Panoramas and La Delle (for learners/ intermediates) to the long rides and barrels of Killers and the exposed reef and fast wave at Boilers (for experienced riders), there’s never a shortage of swell.
Surf Maroc provides transport to the beach and instructors know where to go to suit your level of experience.
On your day off, talk to the team about a day trip to the nearby Paradise Valley for bush walking and cliff diving.
When to go: All year round.
Getting there: Fly into Agadir with easyJet (from £34.99).
Getting around: Surf Maroc provides daily transport to the beach.
Visas: Available at the airport.
Currency: Dirham. 1 GBP = 12 MAD. LANGUAGE Arabic, French and English.
Going out: Taghazout is a ‘dry’ town – which means there is no alcohol served. You can bring booze into the village but must drink it in a private residence. There are cafes open late at night.
Accommodation: Surf Maroc offers ?packages from £169.
Jahn Vannisselroy was hosted by Surf Maroc (surfmaroc.co.uk) Morocco’s leading surf company. It has provided unrivalled surfing holidays, top service and great value at stunning beaches for more than eight years. From £169 pp/pw.