Just over 2 years ago and approximately 1 year since setting up our centre in El Tur, Egypt, we decided to take on another challenge by accepting an invitation from Moroccon born and bred PWA superstar Boujmaa Guilloul, to check out his local patch. We’d already heard rumours of this tiny place in Morocco (so small its not even on Google Maps) that was supposed to rival some of the best wave spots on earth and located only within 3 hours flying of most major European airports – too good to be true, right? So, as with project El Tur, the next thing we knew we were once again on the road into the unknown…
Just over three hours flying from the UK, we touched down in Marrakech which I have to say looks a very attractive city to spend a cultural or romantic type of weekend. Its best to travel either side of July-Aug as you could be facing dust storms coupled by 40+ centigrade temperatures, enough to make a camel sweat. Anyway, we rented a car and following a couple of hairy moments in local traffic (although tame by Cairo standards), we found the route out of town and into the desolate Moroccan desert. Without wanting to appear disrespectful to Moroccan traffic police, I remember having Coldplay’s ‘Viva La Vida’ blasting on the cans and whom’s complex rhythms and African-esque guitar strings all seemed very apt for the occasion, all very ‘rock’n roll’.
Another 2.5 hours later and you could feel the air temperature drop by at least 5 degrees, a sure sign that you’re nearing water! The overall journey time from Marrakech to Moulay takes approximately 3 hours but they’re currently building a new 4-lane highway which should be completed next year and could cut the journey time down to just over 2 hours.
Moulay isn’t the sort of place that attracts many tourist buses. In fact, the only visible evidence of its existence is a rusty, nearly illegible old road sign that fortunately hasn’t been subjected to any vandalism nor overzealous camels and therefore still proudly points you in the right direction (or left, depending on your approach!).
It is at this point that you begin to feel that this is no ordinary place. The solitary road leading into the village bears no signs of intimidation often radiated by the presence petrol stations, road-side restaurants or even, in its worst case, a McDonalds fast-food outlet. Instead, it gently leads you into the rustic, unassuming back-streets of what appears to be the land that time has forgotten. A handful of ancient homes and a rather out of character government building are pretty much all that appear to constitute this laid-back little village. So what’s the deal?
Well, a short drive up to the Boujmaa Windsurf Adventures centre suddenly reveals the extent of its hidden secret as you are greeted by an impressive display of ordered waves that refract off its local reef and hit you face-on to generate a magnificent playground for purist wavesailors. The prevailing winds blow from the North making it starboard-tack cross-shore, very much dream material for any coastal sailors used to cross-onshore chop. Yes the water is a sickly brown but surely that should be seen as a positive as it helps you cope with feelings of nostalgia, like those Marmite-on-toast moments (peanut- butter for some?).
Anyway, for those travelling from the UK, you normally get your first taste of Moulay windsurfing on your arrival day, the perfect way to start your holiday!
More about that and our recent trip with windsurf coach and guru Jem Hall, in part deux of ‘New Frontiers’.