Morocco's Atlantic Coast offers winter surfing

14th Jan 2013

Surfers wanting to flee northern Europe's winter darkness and catch a wave are heading to a Moroccan fishing village that touts itself as an Atlantic surf haven.

While far from the Gold Coast of Australia or Waimea Bay in Hawaii, Taghazout's waves can reach four or five metres, with the right wind conditions. And the swells are a minimum of 300 metres long, earning the town its well-deserved reputation as Morocco's best surf site, Moroccan surf pro Boukel Simo told Agence France Presse.

Taghazout held the Maghreb country's first "surf festival" at the end of December, attracting surfers from far afield, especially northern Europeans tired of winter.

Clear skies, mild climate (the sea was 19C during the surf festival) and a nearby international airport at Agadir, make Taghazout something to talk about among surfers grounded by winter conditions.

One New Zealander, Phil, residing in London flew down to Morocco for the festival. The only close alternative, he said, was the Canary Islands and "that's more expensive".

"In Europe it's cold and dark at the moment," Phil said.

However, Taghazout is paying a price for its success, as some tourists complain the waters are crowded in peak season, which runs through April. A number of "surf camps" have been set up since the sport became popular in the 1990s.

But the village's relaxed surfer's vibe is set to change as there are plans to build a huge hotel and golf resort nearby.

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