WRITTEN BY CAT VINTON ON 20/10/2015
You know you’ve arrived in the surfing towns of south Morocco, and not just because of the camper vans and tousle haired surfers. It’s a calmer place here with a gentleness in the air. The people are extraordinarily generous, kind, meditative – perhaps living by the ocean and growing up in the surf has had that effect. Everyone has a smile and the energy is different from anywhere in Morocco. Standing in the dusty heat, with donkeys, goats and camels everywhere, and that cool, beautiful, welcoming, vast Atlantic backdrop I couldn’t be happier!
I stayed with friends in Tamraght – just outside the surfing hub of Taghazout. A friend of mine is married to Younes Arhbi, one of the best surf instructors in the business. If you’ve been out there before you probably know him, but you may not know that he’s setting up a surf and yoga retreat.
It’s a world away from the hectic souks of Marrakesh, epic though they are, but there is always someone willing to sell you something. On the beaches you’ll be offered honey-coated peanuts and salted roasted almonds, harem pants and leather wrist and ankle bands.
You’ll be surrounded by people who live closer to nature than most of us: they can see the wind coming in an hour, they know the tide and the new moon and it feels like magic… as does the light – a photographer’s dream!
It’s also a surfer’s dream. Of course there are the world famous waves, and when you find your rhythm and paddle out beyond the roaring white water you experience a deep sense of peace. Getting an early night feels so easy – a welcome treat after a perfect, energising, magical day under the Moroccan sun.
Evenings are spent gathered around a beach fire listening to the sound of the Amazigh drums and guitars; watching shooting stars fall to the twinkling lights of the midnight fishing boats. When the fishermen return with their catch at sunrise, the surfers paddle out to clear a channel to shore. The surf instructors bend ‘knee to shoulder’ to carry the fishing boats back up the beach out of the waves. There is a synergy between the Moroccans of the sea which is incredible to witness.
Cat Vinton is a world-renowned adventure photographer. See more of her work at www.catvphotography.co.uk. To read part two of her blog, click here.