Surfing in Morocco attracts tourists each year to cites such as Taghazout and Agadir, but the capital, Rabat, provides a unique experience for those in the quest to find the perfect wave.
Rabat — Each winter, swells form Morocco’s biggest waves of the year as international travelers and locals alike seek the best spots to catch a wave. For many, tried and true gems such as Agadir, Dar Bouazza, Oued Cherrat, are priorities, but the country’s capital, Rabat, makes a solid case for recognition.
With its northern location, Rabat offers a great stop on a surf tour with waves for all skill levels, an easy rental experience, and a unique surrounding culture.
Surf starts picking up in October and hits full stride in the January and February months with the arrival of the winter swell. In the spring, the surfing can be quality, but the waves are not as consistent.
The summer season can bring occasional surf-able days, but a local surf club told Morocco World News that they often make more money from the espresso machine and Moroccan tea in summer than they do from board or wetsuit rentals.
The capital’s most popular surf spot breaks on Rabat Beach, located at the mouth of the Bouregreg river dividing Rabat and Sale. Surf club legends say the spot is “perfect for beginners because of how protected it is.” A local surf club owner said that “the best conditions for waves tend to be at high tide with northeast offshore wind.”
The boulder jetties, initially installed to construct the river and aid shipping, now create an ideal environment for beginners with little rip current and no reef, rocks, or animal hazards. Depending on the day, lefts, rights, and interesting rebound waves can become a playground for experienced surfers.
A hostel just for surfers
For those looking to stay a while, the Medina Surf Hostel that sits in the streets of the Medina Qadima or “Old City” and offers travelers boards and wetsuits in addition to a unique place to stay.
Funded by a professional surfer from Rabat who won the Best Surfer in Africa, the hostel was built to provide an affordable place to stay for both travelers and surfers.
Beds in a dorm are priced at 150 dirhams a night, but can drop with larger parties. The interior is cozy with couches, bunks, and even a library.
The hostel is a five to 10 minute walk from Rabat Beach, depending on the number of times one stops for harcha pastries or fresh orange juice on the way through the medina streets. At the top of the hill, the view from the Oudayas neighborhood is unmatched and provides an excellent perspective for spotting wave quality.
The surf clubs at Rabat Beach are diverse and plentiful. A combination of new and old, the clubs essentially offer the same service: Getting you into the water.
Perhaps the most recognizable, the Rabat Surf Oudaya club looks the part with its dark wooden beach house sinking into the sand. Located at the bottom of the ramp zigzagging down from the Oudayas, the club has stood for 25 years and now actually sits below a new paved platform completed two years ago.
As in other clubs, weekend surf school is composed of a majority of Moroccans while international travelers constitute the heft of one-day rentals. Visitors can pay 100 dirhams for any sized board from a respectable selection and a wetsuit.
Up the charge to 120 and the club throws in a surf instructor. Timing is relatively flexible, but two hours is the preferred limit. The club opens at 8:30 a.m. and closes at sunset.
Inside is a groovy landing pad for the paddle-tired with copious surf-flick posters ranging from Point Break to Chasing Mavericks. There is even a rusty bench press and lat pull down for the ambitious.
Other clubs lining the beach offer similar pricing and equipment which can differ depending on one’s surfing experience, the owner’s mood, and the time of year.
For locals and long-term travelers, there is a Rip Curl surf shop located in Agdal with everything from boards to chinos. The shop is about a 15 to 20 minute taxi ride from Rabat Beach.