Morocco Week One: Time to hit the Waves
The dry arid air gave me an uncomfortable feeling, stuffed in the stilted queue. Airport security slowly moved us through. Tired and exhausted from a long day of flying I waited with anticipation. The adventure of a lifetime was about to begin.
After collecting my luggage, I was met by a driver from The Medina Surfing Association Hostel. After checking in and being shown my room by Abalone I crashed for the night.
Morning came and so did the surf. Anas Ben came and took me and a group from Oxford University down to the beach for my first surfing lesson as an adult. I had done a tiny bit of surfing when I was 13 with my family in Cornwall, I wasn’t very good.
I managed to properly stand up a few times, and then had one really good wave but got too excited and started to celebrate.
Face planted right into the water. That’s what you get for celebrating too early. After the lesson, I tagged along with a few of the members of the Oxford Surf Club. We headed off for some lunch at a traditional Syrian restaurant, damn that was some good vegetarian food and the Baklava was to die for.
“Yes, I’m in!!! Tears of joy. Excitement in a private moment. The Royal Veterinary College in London has accepted me for a Masters in Wild Animal Biology. ”
The next day was an eventful one, and probably will go down as one of my best. The surf lesson was later in the afternoon. I got to experience a slightly bigger swell in the waves, at this point I was surfing with a regular stance (right foot at the back). I kept jumping up with my feet too close together knocking me off balance and wiping out allot.
I had arranged this day to meet with a Polish girl called Domonika who I had began messaging back home from a Moroccan climbing Facebook page, we were to have lunch and discuss climbing together over the coming months. Just as I was about to leave to meet her, I saw an email on my phone from UKPASS saying the status of my Master’s application had changed. And like always when you are in a rush my phone decided it would be insanely slow and not load to let me know what had happened. I was running late and had already postponed our original meeting after surfing running later than I had thought it would. I would have to wait till later to find out my future.
I met Domonika at a traditional Moroccan restaurant called Dar Naji. We discussed when and where we would meet to climb. Over the two hours though all I could think of was getting back and finding out what had happened with my Masters. Fear, anticipation, excitement, a whole mix of emotions washed over me. I was about to find out if my life dream and path would come true.
Yes! I’m in!!! Tears of joy. Excitement in a private moment. The Royal Veterinary College in London has accepted me for a Masters in Wild Animal Biology. I am going to become the man that the 6 year old version of me dreamed of. For the first time I truly knew, I could become the man I always dreamed of being.
A night of celebration with the guys from Oxford, I now felt like their educational equal. Fresh homemade vegetarian tagine. A night of dancing in a bar called Li Limonadier. I danced a little Salsa with Abalone. Anas and Ulrich sang, influenced by Christina. Rock and Blues Jazz. A night to remember. After coming back to the hostel, me Cristina, Callum and WooJoo went for initially a walk to the beach. Suddenly struck by a downpour of torrential rain, and forced to take shelter in the doorway to the Kasbar of Rabat. Slightly intoxicated we danced and were merry in the rain.
The next day came, the last day Oxford were to be in Morocco. I had grown accustomed to hanging out with them all, a great laugh, it was sad to see them leave. One last surf lesson together. I decided since I had been face-planting a lot with a regular stance that I would try a goofy foot stance (left leg behind). The first wave I caught, I stood and rode to shore. Definitely a goofy foot then. Anas got us all to paddle to the outside for the big waves. Now I fell every time.
Surf session without the group the next day. Ayoube took me out to check out the wave it was big. “It’s good?” he asked, me not realising he was asking, thinking he was stating it was good. Boy I wish wish I’d known he was asking. We went to surf, the waves were over 4 metres tall he told me. He put me on a smaller board for the first time. To the outside swell we went. Paddling out, I was battered and beaten by the waves. Tried to catch some. Straight in. Splash! I tried for a bit longer, after a bit more of a beating I gave up for the day. I met the new guests to the hostel, none surfers. Amber a Canadian woman, she stayed at the hostel till I left, we hung out and explored the city over my last few days off the hostel.
I surfed again the next day, waves were a little smaller, I kept the short board. I was getting the hang of this surfing thing. Beginning to understand the mechanics of the wave and swell of the ocean. How to move through it easily. Went back to the Syrian restaurant to celebrate Amber’s birthday.
The last day of surf. I was joined by Amber, Abalone and another girl from the hostel. This was a good day. Male ego running high, I caught the most waves I had done, standing on about 30-40% of the waves I went for. Managing to do a left hand carving turn ripping through the waves. I felt good. Disaster struck later after lunch, Turista (food poisoning) hit, and hit hard. I was down for the rest of the day.
Now Wednesday 21st March had at the surfing hostel for a full week in Rabat. I was due to leave but after last night’s sickness, I felt too weak to travel to Marrakesh, so I booked another night at the hostel. Abalone made me a ginger tea to help my stomach. Medina Surfing Association Hostel was beginning to feel like home. I really didn’t want to leave, but I knew I would have to tomorrow.
The Medina Surfing Association Hostel was setup by Abduhl one of Moroccans top surfers in the 90’s. He was the Moroccan champion, African champion and came second in one of the world championships. With his winnings and sponsorship money he established Medina Surfing Association Hostel in Rabat for travellers to come surf, and to help inspire future Moroccan surfers.
A great spot for any regular tourist or those wanting adventure and to surf some great waves and experience a great community of like minded people.
On Thursday 22nd March I felt good and set off by train to Marrakesh, soon the climbing adventure would begin.
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