Essaouira and its nearby beaches are Morocco’s prime wind- and kitesurfing destinations, drawing enthusiasts throughout the year. The trade wind at Essaouira is northwesterly and blows year-round; it’s stronger in summer – if you’re inexperienced try to get out early in the morning – but the swell is bigger in winter. The winds can be quite strong (sails required are 5.03.5) but the curved shape of Essaouira’s bay, along with a gently sloping sandy bottom that creates a wide shallow area along the shoreline, makes it ideal for novices. Even during summer the water temperature rises only to 20°C maximum, so a wet suit is required all year. There are numerous surf shops and schools in Essaouira, as well as one or two in Sidi Kaouiki and Point Imsouane further south. Surfers should be warned that for most of the year Essouaria’s nonstop winds, though great for windsurfing, can be a disappointment for board surfing and you might be better off down at Point Imsouane with its easterly facing bay.
Gipsy Surfer 14 Rue de Tetouan t 0524 783268. Sells new and used surfing and windsurfing equipment, as well as a small range of accessories, surfwear and surfing DVDs.
Club Mistral Hotel Ocean Vagabond t 0524 479222, w oceanvagabond.com. Has a surf school at the far southern end of the beach where it also offers kitesurfing lessons and rents out kayaks, surfboards, kitesurfing and windsurfing equipment.
No Work Team 2 Rue Skala & 7 Rue Houmam el Fatouki t 0524 475272. This British-owned place sells surfwear and surfing equipment from its two shops.
The Royal Windsurfing Club (Royal Club de Planche à Voile) Av Mohammed V t 0670 577411. Offers windsurfing lessons.