Surfing in Essaouira Guide - Surf Camps, Best Time & More
Essaouira is a charming port city in Morocco facing the expansive Atlantic Ocean. Essaouira is considered a splendid surfing destination as it is windy almost across the year. Enwreathed by forests, it lies on a peninsula, and its proximity to the ocean brings strong coastal winds. This Moroccan city is an ideal spot for windsurfers & kitesurfers who are seeking the most wind-beaten areas in Africa. However, Essaouira has many stunning surf spots with beach breaks and point breaks on the coast, making it an appropriate destination for beginners and intermediate surfers. The islands of Mogador strain the swell and allow charming waves to come to Essaouira resulting in perfect surfing conditions, especially across the best surfing months. Let us begin to explore this destination that is visited by many surfers & kitesurfers.
Best Time For Surfing in Essaouira
The best season to go surfing in Essaouira is the winter season. Though, the ideal time of the year for surfing in Essaouira starts before winter from September & prevails up to April month. It is a time when the waters get the most consistent clean waves offering a rideable swell with light winds. Amidst this time frame, the best time for surfing is the winter months, from December to March. During winters, there are strong NW currents in the Atlantic. Hence, the waves are at their highest, and the wind dies down a bit. This is the perfect condition for surfing. Therefore winter season enchants experienced surfers. Essaouira receives throngs of surfers every winter looking for the best surf spots.
Popular Surfing Spots in Essaouira
1. Essaouira Main beach (Plage Essaouira)
The Essaouira Main beach is a charming sand beach that is an appropriate spot for those beginning their surfing journey or are intermediate-level surfers. The beach has a soft sandy bottom, and the Island of Mogador surrounds the Essaouira beach bay up to 180 degrees. It helps protect it from most of the N-NW swells around the year. Notably, it is best at high tide with a light north wind. Your surf area depends on the swell size. When the swell is large, you should surf close to the port, and when it is small, you can go to the other end near the lighthouse. Commonly in winter, there are circumstances for chest-high breaks, which are ideal for complete beginners.
2. Essaouira Second Beach
Locally referred to as the Second beach, this is a stretch of broad coastline in Essaouira. Set just 15 minutes south of Essaouira town, it is ideally accessible by a 4x4. To reach this hidden gem, you should go southwards along Essaouira beach, past the restaurants, beach bars, and the dunes, and towards Diabat. You will pass by the 400-year-old Dar Sultan Palace, which is almost covered in the sand now. You can enjoy picturesque views of Essaouira town, the Oued el Kassab river, and the Island of Mogador from this spot. It is a suitable surfing spot for all levels, from newbies to expert-level surfers. Besides, it is more undisturbed & quaint than other beaches, so you will get adequate space to surf in the waters and relax on the sand.
3. Safi Beach
Located on the far northern end of Essaouira town, the Safi beach observes very few visitors. It is an idyllic place to flee from peak season crowds in July - August. There is an abandoned doom's day feel at this beach. However, it is very pleasing & blustery, especially on windy days when you can see sand whipping up all around. Notably, Safi beach has two spots - the first is on the left, which breaks ahead of the abandoned factory at the starting area of the beach, and the second one is the main beach area, with left and right breaks lying further north. Both these spots are ideal from mid to high tide. Also, surfing at Safi beach is slightly artful as it has sand and rock bottoms. It is a suitable surfing spot for advanced surfers.
4. Sidi Kaouki Beach
Sidi Kaouki is a modest village situated around 25 km south of Essaouira city. Over the years, the sweeping Sidi Kaouki beach has become one of the best surf spots on the Moroccan coastline. The magnificent long waves at this spot offer idyllic conditions for intermediate-level to expert surfers. Here, you can surf the best when there is high tide & light wind. The breaks are present all along the alluring stretch of the beachfront. The beach has five to six named peaks, including a right-hand reef point break that offers a bit more for experienced surfers at the north end. Besides, during summers, the best surf happens on W-NW swells and easterly offshores.
5. Cap Sim
Just 6 km south of Essaouira city lies Cap Sim, the beautiful Berber village. Cap Sim embraces a myriad of stunning dunes. Many travellers hike to Cap Sim to view the lighthouse. Apart from these, you will adore the Cap Sim beach. If you are a water sports enthusiast, you will have the opportunity to practice surfing & windsurfing, which are popular sports at Cap Sim beach. With Sidi Kaouki on one side and Essaouira city on the other, Cap Sim is a decent choice for surfing in Essaouira, among the Essaouira beaches.
6. The Cave (La Grotte)
The Cave or La Grotte is situated on the road to Sidi Kaouki, roughly 10 miles from Essaouira. It is not known to many people. Remarkably, it flaunts the biggest waves in the area that, offers an exciting surfing experience. You can opt to surf at this spot, no matter the weather conditions! When there is high wind and poor swells for surfing at other spots, the waves are still found working well at the Cave. An exhilarating experience awaits you, even when other spots are full or closed. This spot is ideally accessible by a 4×4, though you can also come to the village neighbouring the Cap Sim Lighthouse and then walk across the remaining path.
7. Plage Iftane
Iftane is a small fishing village about 47 km from Essaouira that offers the visitors to experience the authentic Moroccan lifestyle with fishermen working close to the beach. Plage Iftane is an expansive beach, also known as Sidi Ahmed Essayeh beach. It is one of the most distinct beaches on the Moroccan coastline and an amazing surf spot. You will observe a picturesque route on your way to this beach, featuring Argan forests and rural areas. Notably, there are ancient caves along this outlying coastline enveloped by natural vegetation. Here, the water is clear, and the wind blows cross-on, milder than the winds observed at Sidi Kaouki.
A laid-back & serene old fishing town, Imsouane is a secret gem in Morocco having a traditional charm. It is quickly becoming one of the favorite surf spots in Morocco. Ideally visited in the winter, it is preferred by all levels of surfers alike. With spectacular scenery, Imsouane embraces two versatile surfing spots for a remarkable surf experience. First is the Cathedral, which starts on a beach break with multiple left & right peaks and ends on a reef that offers an ideal left-handed break. It offers the best surf at the high or mid-high tide when the swell is under 5-6 feet, and at low tide, when the swell is above 5 feet. The second spot is the Bay, which is the most famous spot in Imsouane. This spot is ideal for beginners, and the surf is best at a 600 m ride during low tide. It begins at the harbor with a right-handed break and ends at the hills. Remarkably, the Cathedral is apt for those seeking low yet fast waves, whereas the Bay is an outstanding spot for beginners that want to elevate their riding skills on longer waves.
Surf Schools in Essaouira
1. Loving Surf
Loving Surf is a notable surf school in Essaouira with over 20 years of experience in providing surf lessons. From fundamentals to advanced methods, all lessons are delivered by certified & experienced instructors. Notably, the Loving Surf team takes the learners to the apt spots as per their surfing level. Surf lessons are conducted daily at the time slots they choose that observe the best conditions suited to your skill level. The lessons begin with a light yoga stretch and then continues with understanding the surf theory. Also, they provide high-quality surfing equipment.
Location: Boulevard Mohamed V, Essaouira, Morocco
2. Surftwins Essaouira
Operating as local surf guides between Essaouira and Taghazout, Surftwins Essaouira is one of the popular Essaouira surf schools with certified surf and kitesurf instructors. It offers beginner and intermediate surfing & kitesurfing lessons, surf trips around Essaouira that take you to advanced local surf spots, and other activities for your holidays in Essaouira. At Surftwins Essaouira, equipment rentals are offered alongside safe storage at their surf shop set in Sidi Kaouki.
Location: 135 Rue Mohamed El Qorry,
3. Holy Surf Camp
The Holy Surf Camp in Essaouira is set in Sidi Kaouki, a small traditional village by the ocean that welcomes surfers. Here, you will be supervised by certified expert instructors so that you will learn to surf with complete safety. Holy Surf camp Essaouira lets you learn surfing at the best spots in the region with top-class equipment from the school. The sessions are organised in a cool and cordial atmosphere, and the qualified guides keep track of your progress during the course to make you surf the right way with personalised guidance.
Location: Sidi Kaouki, 44125 Essaouira, Morocco
4. Essaouira Watersports
Essaouira Watersports offers unique surf lessons that provide an authentic taste of the world of water sports. Here, you will learn and practice all about waves, winds, and surfing equipment usage. Their surf camps include accommodation and suits different budgets and group sizes looking for a water sports holiday in Essaouira. The welcoming team of surfing instructors has several years of experience in guiding people to move up and enjoy the experience of surfing.
Location: 11 Av. Princesse Lalla Amina, Essaouira 44000, Morocco
Visit MOGASURF surf school and grab the opportunity to explore the finest surf spots in Essaouira. It is a mobile surf school where the team picks you up from your accommodation and takes you straight to the spot chosen for you as per your level and the weather conditions of the day. Whether you want to learn solo, with family, or in a group, you will find conditions suitable to different skill levels. Under the guidance of their experienced instructors, you can make the most of your surf practice sessions and enhance your level. They will help you at each phase of your learning with professionalism & safety.
Location: Sidi Kaouki, Essaouira, Morocco
Tips for Surfing in Essaouira
Always go surfing with an instructor if you are a beginner or not very confident about your skills. You can also go with any partner who is much more experienced than you and can lend a hand in case you get into trouble.
It is better to surf at spots that match your ability & experience. So, always enquire with the locals at that spot about the conditions of tides, wind, and swell before stepping into the sea with your surfboard.
Although Essaouira observes 300 days of sunshine yearly, the temperature of ocean water on the Atlantic coast of Morocco remains cold across the year. Therefore, you will surely require a wetsuit for surfing there. You can either bring one with you or rent it from a surf shop or surfing school.
In summers, there is no need for a thick wetsuit, a 2 mm one or a rash guard should be apt. But, if it is a windy day or you are surfing in the early morning, you will need a 3/2 mm wetsuit. In contrast, the temperature can range between 61°F - 64°F in winter (the best time for surfing), so you should opt for a 4/3 mm wetsuit.
Essaouira is quickly becoming one of the leading destinations for surfers and kite surfers. It is a windy seaside city that is a wonderful destination for a surfing vacation in Morocco. With appropriate wind & weather conditions during winters and the size of the waves, Essaouira allures surfers from across the world. There are many surf shops & rentals along with notable surfing schools in this city. Even if you are a beginner in learning the surfing sport, you can easily surf in this mesmerizing Moroccan city. Plan your surfing holiday in Essaouira without a second thought!