The Colours of Morocco
By Joel Down on⟵ Back to Stories
In February, TWOTHIRDS travelled to Morocco. The name is packed with potential, meaning “where the sun sets” in the native Arabic, and to surfers, signposting some of the world’s best lineups. Even so, Morocco still divides opinion. Everybody who had been there already either raved about it, or warned us to stay clear. This made us even more curious as to what we’d find.
The drive from the airport to our Hotel in Marrakesh in the dark gives us a glimpse of what is to come. Animals and motorbikes without light cross the road from all angles.
As we tune in, languages are flipping back and forth on the car radio. Moroccan Arabic, Berber, French even English. In real life, we will soon see, the difference is that there is no static, no delay in searching for the right wavelength. Moroccans simply switch channels without fuss. It’s a joy to hear the oozing sounds of French transform into the melodies of Arabic during the same conversation.
The next day we leave beautiful Marrakesh in search of waves.
We arrive in an old fishing village 5 hours later. Many houses and streets are painted a vibrant blue, reminding us of Greece. After being discovered by solitary pioneers in the 60s, the town has felt a noticeable impact from surfing. There are themed shops and board stores on every corner. And the atmosphere is calm, the pace: slow
After a restful night morning breaks into a gentle glow, falling from a kind sun. Each Mosque has its own voice that fills the streets and floats through windows. An otherworldly call to prayer. We discover that the town’s charm exists in moments when people extend not just a hand but a household of friendship. Showing even a little curiosity for the culture of Taghazout will win you an invite into intricately decorated homes.
The sea curls into the bay, melting with the whiteness of the foam. We surf.
Top Surf Spots:
We liked KM12. It is a smooth left hander and came recommended by the locals. Best at high tide, never too crowded. At complete high tide you can also take the right, which is amazing.
La Source. With a swell height of three to ten feet, La Source is a fast right hander, breaking off a rock, clean, long rides guaranteed.
Banana Point. When the tide is low, head to this point break that references the many banana plantations in the area.
The taxi driver seems to be in a hurry. He’s going at breakneck speed as we watch Argan trees and donkeys fly by the windows. We have our eyes trained on the harsh contrast of the coast. Arid mountains that crease and fold together, dropping down like a skate ramp into the road. And then into something that cannot be described as a shoreline. Just: sandstone colliding with the Ocean.
This makes our first encounter with Boilers all the more gripping. Huge walls of water come slamming down onto the rocks. We know we have to pull over to take it in properly.
Getting out of the car, we meet a salt-soaked Frenchman. He looks panicked and points to his friend who, he says, has been struggling to get out of the water for nearly 20 minutes. He keeps being pulled back by the huge currents working beneath him, which is making jumping up onto the rocks almost impossible. Together we try to guide him but our shouts can’t have helped - “Now! Now! Not yet. Now. Stop!” - as nobody can tell how to time it right.
He manages to get a hold on the flat of the rock and like a seal, scrambles to safety as another wave comes down, shattering his shadow. The sound: a thunderclap.
Relief gives way to reluctance. It’s difficult to accept that this is not the time to surf this spot. The waves are long and consistent, more furious with every turn. This is one for the truly advanced.
Drifting in the desert and cloaked in a layer of mist, Imsouane unsettles us. It lacks the comfort of the first town and the beach is littered with plastic waste. So we take refuge in the landscape. Dunes that are like wandering on the backs of giant camels, unfurl into the Magic Bay. This is one of the best longboarding spots in the world with waves that can run for up to 800 metres.
In the town we meet an elderly man who lays his plates out in the street. This seems to be the only shop open to visitors so he excitedly invites us to shoot there. Contrary to what might be expected, he assures us that we have no obligation to buy something in return. Shock passes across his face when we come back, to pick up a set of shimmering emerald plates. Touchingly, he brings us into a big hug and wishes us well.
The final goodbye comes from the Ocean. The horizon is dissolving under a layer of cotton-wool mist. Arches of colour fill the sky and take hours to deepen, an effect we’ve not seen anywhere else in the world. It makes you feel like you’re staring into the eye of another planet, while silver waves skim the shore.
We have found Where the Sun Sets.
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