Inside North Africa's Land Of Rights
The first order of business, on any surf trip, is dealing with airline baggage fee anxiety. Will they or won’t they perform administrative ass rape? On this trip I was violated. There is no rhyme or reason. A 50-pound golf bag is delicately placed, free of charge, on the conveyor belt. A 30-pound board bag is chucked through the cubbyhole, and the surfer’s credit card is not scanned, but rather ground through the machine like hamburger. My charge was $400 one-way. Anxiety turned to discomfort then to rage. United Airlines is the culprit. I’m hoping I break my boards inside of a glorious, heaving sand-bottom tube—anything but the dreaded United Airlines baggage fee violation. A slight glimmer of good news, my buddy was popped for $600 one-way. And he works for United!
Fifteen hours later we are boarding Royal Air Maroc (no charge by the way) bound for Agadir, an upscale Euro hangout for those who want to get away from 30-degree Frankfurt. The flight attendant points to my SURFER Magazine and smiles. “And Iron!” he blurts out in broken English. “The waves are good.” His name is Omar. He kindly offers that he, too, surfs. In a show of solidarity I hand him my ‘And Iron’ magazine. The OJ flows.
We arrive in the friendly fishing village of Taghazout. I’ve arranged for a room right on the water at SurfMaroc’s L’Auberge. Our balcony looks up to the north at the famous Anchor Point. The waves at Anchor look good. Solid-period northerly lines in the 3- to 5-foot range steam through the point. My good-natured English host named Hugo tells me it is small today. Eventually the waves make their way to me, and lay rest at the bows of a 35-boat fishing fleet on the sandy beach just below my room. Local fishermen loiter all day telling stories, drinking tea, smoking cigarettes, and playing some sort of fast-paced card game that I’m quite sure involves betting.
My first surf is at a spot called Dracula’s. The rocks are sharp, the wave itself a bit fat, and the backwash made for some troublesome ricochet bottom turns. As I get older and more honest with myself, I realize that’s really all I do anymore—bottom turns.
Later on, we travel south back to L’Auberge in Taghazout. Along the way we stop to suss out various spots. Hugo gives all sorts of valuable insight about swell direction, tide, parking, and paddle out. Eventually we find ourselves 15 minutes south of Taghazout at a spot called Anzas. The waves are ridiculously fun. Nothing heavy, just rippable, the kind of spot you want to surf on your first day. Unfortunately for me, my lower back goes out—bad.
As I write this I’m confined to my bed. I stumble out to the balcony to see another 4-foot set roll through at Anchor Point. The good news is that SurfMaroc’s L’Auberge comes with a live-in physical therapist. I’ve been getting back treatments and have taken to a steady diet of Ibuprofen and Flexeril. The good folks here at SurfMaroc have shown a sincere interest in getting me back in the water. That I appreciate. It is supposed to be 15 feet here on Monday. I’m hoping I can get my wetsuit on.
To be continued…