Photos and additional reporting by Luke Gartside.
Since the 60s, Morocco has been the travelling surfer’s ideal, especially for warm water-seeking Europeans who don’t want to break the bank.
Over those six decades, the appeal of Morocco hasn’t let up. The land of the never-ending rights has great waves, great food and a medley of local Berber, Arabic and European culture. The country’s surf capital of Taghazout has remained true to the quintessential Moroccan experience, but has adapted to accommodate visiting surfers, with traditional Moroccan riads turned into surf houses, an abundance of rental shops, surf guiding, waves for all ability levels — all wrapped up with an over-arching, easy-going ethos.
View Live: Anchor Point
When there’s swell in the water, Morocco’s favourite wave at Anchor Point is an international draw. A couple of weeks back, dozens of surfers lined that slippery, rocky outcrop to watch a swell bloom in from the mid-Atlantic. It was the same swell that saw Italo Ferriera doing wonderfully Italo things at Supertubos, the swell that capped out the UK cold season and set off this crazy Canaries slab, just off the coast of Africa.
“It was a carnival-like atmosphere,” said photographer Luke Gartside, about this free-surf session, which was sandwiched between a QS event and the inaugural African Surfing Games.
Lilias Tebbai is only 19-years-old and already the six time national Moroccan champion. “The conditions always seem beautiful at Anchor Point,” said Lilias. “Even if it’s cold and raining, the waves are great.” Originally from Casablana, Lilias moved to the Canary Islands to study Physiotherapy last year. “The weather’s the same, it’s close to home and I can train and surf every day. I couldn’t miss this swell at home,” she said.
“There were a lot of amazing surfers around,” said Gartside, “including most of Morocco’s top talents, a crew from Senegal, and a smattering of European pros. It went from fun-sized on Tuesday morning, to absolutely macking by the evening. Then faded slowly through the Wednesday, with dawn breaking on Thursday to reveal much more manageable sheet glass conditions.”
Of the conditions, Surfline forecaster Jamie Bateman said: “This was all thanks to two small low pressure systems merging to become a stronger storm, around 2,500 miles WNW of Morocco. Storm force W wind to the south of the centre, produced a long-period W/WNW swell that fanned out across the Atlantic and built along the NW African coast through, accompanied by fairly breezy, side-shore wind in the afternoon.
“The real goods were delivered by the Wednesday, with variable wind and super clean conditions in place across the region along with double overhead sets. A side-shore wind did ruffle the wave faces in the afternoon but that was only a slight tarnish to an otherwise epic day.”
Related Content: First Session: Anchor Point
How’s the rest of Africa and the Old Continent looking? Come see! Safi | JBay | Nazare | Supertubos | Mundaka |
More on a busy winter in the Atlantic: Scary Canaries’ Slab Session | Southwest UK: Days Of The Reef | Four Days At Sizzling Supertubos | Chasing The Dream Part I, Part II, Part III |