On the western stretches of the North African coastline, cradled by the Atlantic‘s rhythmic swells, Morocco‘s shores have risen to become an international surfing destination catering to wave riders of every skill level.

Waves in Morocco Photo By Cori Stephens for Red Bull Content Pool

In the second episode of ‘No Contest: Off Tour‘ Season Two on Red Bull TV, influential surf figures, including Big Wave surfer Othmane Choufani, professional surfer Soufiane Charoub, and Tokyo 2020 Olympian Ramzi Boukhiam – the first Moroccan to qualify for the World Surf League‘s Championship Tour – shed light on the captivating allure that solidifies Morocco‘s status as a global hub for all those who ride the tide and love to travel.Here is all you need to know:

Waves in Morocco Photo By Cori Stephens for Red Bull Content Pool

The episode begins by presenting a historical overview of surfing in Morocco. During the 1960s, the sport made its entry into the country, with American soldiers stationed at the Kenitra military base, in the north-western Rabat-Salé-Kénitra region, riding the waves at Mehdia Beach, and transforming the area into an early surfing hotspot.

Gony Zubizarreta surfing in Morocco Photo By Alan Van Gysen for Red Bull Content Pool

As time progressed, surfers from Europe, the United States, and Australia accompanied locals in the exploration of the Kingdom‘s extensive 3500-kilometre coastline, and discovered world-class waves stretching from the northeastern border with Algeria to the southern reaches near the Sahara Desert by the 1980s.

Locals enjoying the view in Morocco Photo By Alan Van Gysen for Red Bull Content Pool

In recent years, Morocco has emerged as a hub for surf tourism, leveraging its strategic proximity to Europe – just 14 kilometres across the Strait of Gibraltar. Accessible with short flights from most European airports, this geographical advantage, combined with the breathtaking natural beauty of its coastline, has propelled Morocco into the spotlight as a premier destination for surf enthusiasts. A swell season, stretching from October to March and offering optimal conditions for a variety of rides, attracts approximately one million foreigners each year, drawn to the thrill of surfing along the picturesque Moroccan shores.

Local fish grill stand in Morocco 2023 Photo By Alan Van Gysen for Red Bull Content Pool

The episode’s spotlight on surfing begins with Taghazout Bay, which has earned the moniker “Morocco’s Gold Coast.” This quaint fishing village has gained widespread acclaim for its consistent and diverse waves, making it a sought-after location for surfers of all proficiency levels, from novices seeking their first waves to seasoned professionals mastering the art.

“Taghazout is to Europeans what Bali is for Western Australians, and what Mexico is for Californians: cheap flights, really good food, amazing weather, cool people and nice waves.”

The crew are warmly welcomed by local host and Anchor Point original Othmane Choufani, who highlights that

Choufani’s introduction leads into the topic of Morocco‘s worldwide renowned hospitality.

“We are trying to show a good image of who we are. Hospitality, for us, is important. We grew up like that. When you go to someone’s house, you just need to show the minimum respect, and people will open all the doors for you.”

He says:

Choufani showcases local hospitality through the cherished custom of communal dining – a staple in the culture of the Berbers, the indigenous people of the Sahara. This tradition not only fosters a strong sense of communal connection but also ensures that meals served family-style remain accessible to all, embodying the inclusive spirit of Moroccan hospitality.

“You eat together with your family and all your friends. It’s a really special moment. And the fact that we all share the same plate makes it even more special.”

As plates of meatballs (‘kefta’), fish, and ‘tafarnout’ bread arrive at the table, Choufani explains:

In Morocco‘s culinary exploration, a rich gastronomic tapestry unfolds, echoing its diverse history. Techniques like cooking in clay pots (‘tagines’) over open fires and the sharing of dishes like couscous trace back to the Berbers’ traditions. Over centuries, the local cuisine evolved through cultural influences: the seventh-century Arabs introduced spices and dried fruits, the Moors brought olive trees and oil, the Ottomans added barbecue grills, and the French, more recently, brought European culinary traditions.

Group shot in Morocco 2023 Photo By Alan Van Gysen for Red Bull Content Pool

The episode’s journey then shifts to Casablanca, the largest city in Morocco and the entire Maghreb region of Africa. Remarkably, the ‘White City’ is also home to one of the most radical little surf communities in the country, primarily located in the beach enclave of Dar Bouazza. Here, the crew meets with Soufiane Charoub, a Casablanca surfer, owner of the Alaïa Surf School, and childhood friend of Othmane Choufani.

Waves in Morocco Photo By Alan Van Gysen for Red Bull Content Pool

Charoub introduces Boukhiam and Choufani to two skilled craftsmen: Fahd El Mania, the first surfboard shaper in Morocco‘s history, and boat-builder-turned-shaper Youssef Almoda.

“For me, surfing was this big adventure. We waited for the winter, went to Agadir to meet Australian surfers, and tried to get their boards before they left. It was the only way to get a board.. forget about the wetsuits – it was crazy stuff.”

Reflecting on the era before El Mania began crafting boards, Almoda shares:

The episode then transports the viewer to Safi. Often referred to as the “Head of the Snake,” this fishing port facing the Atlantic Ocean holds the esteemed reputation of being the crown jewel of Morocco‘s surfing scene.

“It’s my favorite wave in the world by far,”.

expresses WSL Championship Tour surfer Ramzi Boukhiam
Ashton surfing in Morocco 2023 Photo By Alan Van Gysen for Red Bull Content Pool

“It takes time to surf it well on the backhand, as it’s a very difficult wave. I’ve put a lot of practice there. When it’s on, you spend 8 hours in the water. It’s an incredible wave with an incredible energy, and I love it,”.

he continues
Sunset waves in Morocco 2023 Photo By Alan Van Gysen for Red Bull Content Pool

“When it’s on it’s just like a big, long barrel. When you come out [of the water] it’s like “Wow!”. There you can ride the best wave of your life, definitely.”

This sentiment is echoed by Charoub:

Besides its exceptional waves, Safi is renowned for its highly adept ceramic artisans and iconic red clay pottery. The art of ceramics was introduced to the city some 13,000 years ago by the Phoenicians, who utilised the iron oxide-enriched clay to create sturdy and compact items. Today, the masters of Safi pottery belong to the Serghini family, who have passed down the craft’s techniques through generations. Of particular significance is Moulay Ahmed Serghini, whose works are showcased in museums, palaces, and presidential residences worldwide.

Waves in Morocco Photo By Alan Van Gysen for Red Bull Content Pool

Moulay’s son, Mehdi, seamlessly intertwines the worlds of ceramics and surfing, thanks to his family’s legacy and his role as a partner in the Safi Invitational – a nighttime competition of tuberiders, where surfers skillfully navigate inside the wave’s barrel.

Scoping out the waves in Morocco 2023 Photo By Alan Van Gysen for Red Bull Content Pool

In the final leg of the Moroccan journey the trio head to Imsouane, a 1.6-kilometer-long sandy beach battered by a variety of waves. When asked by ‘No Contest’ host Ashton Goggans why Imsouane is also called “The Magic Bay,”

“Because of the power of love in this place. It can make everyone happy. Everyone will leave this place with [the memory of the most] beautiful wave of his life. It’s for all levels, for everyone in the world. I think it’s a generous place, that’s why they call it magic.”

Youssef Almoda says:

Watch the second episode of ‘No Contest: Off Tour’ Season Two, ‘Morocco‘, by pressing play way above.

Kurhula David Ngobeni

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