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Morrocco 2011!!

posted 7 May 2011, 03:01 by Surfing Club - Saints Sport
St Andrews Surf club, Moroccan surf trip

Salam wa aleikum, ladies and gentlemen!

During the inter-semester break I went to a Moroccan surf trip, organised by the St Andrews
surf club. In the group there were 16 adventure seeking people keen on surfing. We met up in
Gatwick and so the trip begun.

I got my first impression of Africa by looking from the window, when flying above the
mountains and dry fields with palms: a truly breathtaking scenery. When walking down the
boarding ramp everyone was excited in anticipation of great holidays. On the bus ride from the
airport we took trillions of photos: not to miss a single exotic feature of the country! The surf
camp where we stayed, called Surfberbere, was located in a small town Taghazout. It was a five
floor building on the seashore with a majestic view on the sea with the waves, on the beach with
the fishing boats and on the far away mountains. We dined on the roof. When it did not rain we
set under the open sky, and the turtles (the surf camps’ pets) walked on the tables and begged for
some chopped tomatoes. But when it rained, we gathered in a cosy and colourful marquee with
sofas and knee high tables. Apart from us, a group of students from Bangor University stayed in
the surf camp. By the end of the week, we became good friends with them and with the people
who run the camp and who taught us some Berber language (a dialect of Arabic).

There was no time to waste. The very day we arrived, despite flying at 7:30 in the morning and
craving for some sleep, we took the surfboards, put on wetsuits and went surfing to the Panorama
beach. Walking through the town made up of warm pink buildings, along the ground road,
vaguely knowing the direction, caring a heavy surfboard and hearing whistles in your address
was astonishing. A long crowded beach and a little boy wondering up and down, leading a
camel. But when in the water all of this disappeared from my mind: there was only surfing left.

After a week of surfing and taking surf lessons, taught by the cheerful local instructors, everyone
became better. Beginners learned to pop up quickly and to catch the green waves, intermediates
learned how to turn, and the advanced were disappearing in the Killer so that no one could see
how well they surf. There were three main surf spots: Panorama, Crocodile and Killer, where
people surfed depending on their ability and on the weather. Unfortunately, not every day
it was a good weather and not always there were good waves for surfing. One morning was
exceptional: it was pouring rain and the ocean was stormy. The keen surfers we are, as we did
put the wetsuits on and got out of the cars into the mud and cold shower. The rain stopped after a
while and at the end it turned out to be fun, although I would not call it quality surf. The weather
in Morocco was extremely changeable; from hot it could suddenly change to cold and back again
in no more than five minutes. Overall, it was relatively warm, about 20 degrees Celsius, so we all
got tanned and some of us managed to get sunburned.

Apart from surfing and chilling out on the beach we got to explore the local area with its

souvenir shops and cafes. From time to time, the police closed the main street of Taghazout
when the Moroccan King, Mohammed VI, rode through the town to get to his villa. We were
told that it is forbidden to take photos of him. (This is the main reason I do not have his photo.
Another reason, of lesser importance, is that the king chose to use another road when I was
there, so I did not actually see him.) There was an opportunity to visit a Bazaar and a Paradise
Valley, from which everyone who went returned (which is in itself a good thing) with lots of
impressions, photos and souvenirs. Bargaining in the busy market, communicating with locals,
who were trying to buy English girls for camels, hiking in North-African Mountains: going past
date palms and cactuses, swimming in a fast, cold mountain river and sunbathing was all highly
amusing. There was an exciting moment when me and four other students dropped behind and
got lost in the Paradise Valley. (It would have been a typical beginning for a Hollywood horror
story, if the guide did not come back and found us before we wondered off too far, following the
branching path through the jungle.)

Moreover, some tried horse riding and camel riding on the beach, and took photos when holding
a surfboard astride on the camel, as if woke up in the morning and went surfing to the beach on
the camel back. In the evening there was a chance to go to massage or to do yoga at the sea side,
enjoying the colourful view of the sunset. This helped to relieve the muscle pain after an intense
day of surfing. As for local dishes, we got to try famous Moroccan couscous and mint tea (not
everyone liked them), which is poured from silvery teapots held high above the tea glasses that
look like shots.

The peachy buildings with blue shutters, brown-red sand, bright colours of shawls, mint tea,
stags of camels crossing the road and annoying cats are what made the trip so exotic. Joyful
people, fun moments and good surf is what made the trip so enjoyable. We saw the same
boarding ramp from which we walked down having so many expectations. Were they fulfilled?
Probably, yes. “Do you think you will come back?”, - I asked. “Definitely”, - was the reply. The
surf trip to Morocco was over. Cool air of Britain enveloped the group of surfers; some of them
were still wearing board shorts and flip-flops.

Anna Senkevich