Sol House - Surf Academy
Attending a surfing academy at Sol House Taghazout Bay has been on my travel bucket list for a some time now, and after a long summer of traveling, I was so energized when Jeremy suggested we find one in Morocco.
I would get to check 3 things off my bucket list:
1) Surf Camp 2) Morocco & 3) Sand Dunes
Despite having bikini weather all year around, the best time to surf in Morocco is from October to April, with peak swells in January. Just don't forget your wetsuit! Water temperature varies between 16 °C (61 °F) in winter and 22 °C (72 °F) in summer.
You can hit the beach any season, but Morocco is most surf-able in the winter. You don't have to worry about finding a good spot if you surf north of Essaouira because you'll find sweet breaks all year long. If you head south to surf spots like Tamri and Anza you'll have to consider the season. Regardless, they're great for all levels, especially beginners. (Keep reading to hear more about Tamri's variety of surf options.)
We all suited up and did quick warm ups to prepare for the days' activity. They separated us into two groups, experienced surfers and surfers who have never been on a board before (that's us!). Our instructor introduced us to the layout of the board and showed us how to paddle and pop up once we saw a good wave.
Since we were the only two in class (besides the local kids who stopped to listen), the personal attention was amazing. I was able to ask all the questions I needed to feel confident going into the water. And it paid off.
Up on my first try
I felt exhilarated when I put it all into practice. I've never felt a rush like pushing myself up and balancing on a wave. I came a long way from being nervous about swimming in the ocean to a natural surfer.
We thought I would surf left foot forward (which is regular), but once I was in the water,
I pushed off the board and landed with my right foot forward.
That makes me a "goofy surfer".
The instructor swam out to me to reposition the leg strap because I got tangled the first time. After that, he watched as I caught wave after wave.
Riding The Waves Out
It's a good thing I caught on quickly because our travel schedule only allowed us to attend the camp for two days. We took an afternoon class and a morning class the following day.
To be honest, I'm glad we were able to spread it out between the two days because after the first session, all I wanted to do was eat and sleep. Wrestling those waves was exhausting!
On day 2 of the surf camp, we surfed at another beach they thought had better waves for the skill level of the group. They warned us that the tide breaks to the right and not to get pulled down shore. I quickly understood what he meant when I found myself fighting with the ocean water to stay with the group and in front of the instructor.
It wasn't as successful as day 1 was for me. I caught a few waves, but struggled to paddle harder when a big wave was going to break. I did enjoy laying on my board, feeling one with the ocean!
I'll always cherish catching a wave in Morocco on my very first attempt!
Surfing Sand Dunes
It wasn't a goal of mine to sandboard during our trip to Morocco. I knew we weren't going to get to the Sahara Desert, but I wanted to get the feel of it before we headed home. With the help of an awesome staff member at Sol House Taghazout Bay, we arranged a taxi escort.
I had one thing in my head, "I can't leave Africa without seeing 1 sand dune!"
He and the driver took us about an hour and a half north to a spot with traditional sand dunes. I was ecstatic! We got to learn more about the Berber people and life in Morocco. And I'd get to put my feet in the soft sand and frolic in the warm, still atmosphere.
After wandering the dunes for awhile, we ran
into fellow travelers who were sandboarding.
Jeremy showed me how to do it, and I followed suit! Things were going great until half way down. After the fact, they told me to lean back when going down a steep sand dune.
I wiped out and the climb up the hill with the board was challenging, but it was worth it!
The whole experience was worth it. We even took our shoes off and left them where they laid to feel the sand between our toes. I wouldn't recommend that because the sand dunes change shape when the wind blows. We didn't think we would find them, but came across them after retracing our steps.
Here's a little bit of our adventure!