The best kitesurfing spots in Essaouira

Essaouira Bay spots

With 5 kilometers of beach, the spot of Essaouira Bay is ideal for all levels of kitesurfer, and for any kiteboarding discipline, be it freeride, freestyle or playing in the waves (only in the autumn and winter for waves). It is never too imposing, as the Mogador islands protect the bay from the big swell offshore. On Tagharte beach, the closest to the medina (old town), the prevailing wind is side-shore, blowing most of the year on Morocco’s Atlantic coast, as is the case for kitesurfing in Dakhla. Generally lighter in the morning, it gradually strengthens during the day. The further south you go from Essaouira’s main beach, the wilder and more peaceful it becomes… it is a safe and secure place, with a sandy bottom almost everywhere and no rocks in the water.

The ION CLUB Essaouira center, in place for some thirty years on this Moroccan spot, has its structure south of Tagharte beach, where the wind is at its most steady, and the launch is the most accessible for all kitesurfers. School, rental and storage of personal kiteboarding equipment are all available at the club, so that you can enjoy your kitesurfing holiday as much as possible, and be out there with complete peace of mind!

Even further south of Essaouira, but still in the bay, is another beach called Diabat. Here, riding is unsupervised and pebbles can be found at the bottom of the water. However, the wind is more regular and the waves are more present, as the beach is freer of obstacles. There is a track to get there, so a car is compulsory unless you want to go downwind.

Moulay Bouzerktoun

For wave kitesurfers, head for Moulay Bouzerktoun, a small fishing village some 30 km north of Essaouira, where the wind statistics are incredible. Side-shore and blowing most of the year, the wind here is stronger than in Essaouira. The waves that break can be very impressive, so your kiteboarding skills should already be good, or even very good when good conditions are forecast. Make sure you ask the locals before you take to the water, as this mythical spot is not known for its sand but for its rocks, so be careful, especially at low tide! Moulay is one of the best wave spots in the region, along with Sidi Kaouki.

Woman student is learning how to stand up on the surf board

Sidi Kaouki kitesurf spot

This time a 20-minute drive south of Essaouira, the Sidi Kaouki wave spot boasts a sandy beach some 4 kilometers long, with much more room to rig than Moulay. The wind is side or even side-offshore, and is stronger than in Essaouira and Moulay. The waves are more hollow and a shorebreak can sometimes be found along the beach. This spot is not recommended for beginners or those still learning earlier steps, but it is perfect for combining surfing and kiting if your level allows it!  Sidi Kaouki is one of the best surf spots (without kites) in the region, where it is great to surf in the morning before the wind picks up. Beware of the currents, which can be stronger than elsewhere in the region, and be sure to read the reviews of kitesurfing in Morocco and Essaouira before taking to the water at Sidi Kaouki.

As you can see, kiteboarding in Essaouira has been an institution in the world of board sports for over 30 years now!

When can you kitesurf in Essaouira?

The wind blows all year around on the Essaouira spot, which is why the ION CLUB center is open non-stop to all kitesurfers from January to December. Strong-wind enthusiasts sail in spring and summer, the best period for kitesurfing in Morocco, and between June and September to take advantage of winds averaging 25-30 knots, mainly in the afternoons. Mornings are often less windy, making them a more suitable time of day for kitesurfing lessons for beginners and advanced levels. On certain days, it is even possible to try SUP from our ION CLUB Essaouira center, before the wind kicks in.

The wind is mostly side-shore from the right on the local stretch of water, which is good for safe riding without too many waves in summer.

The rest of the year the wind is less strong and less regular, but strapless and kiteboarding enthusiasts will probably be lucky not only to get waves, but also to meet fewer people on the water. Don’t hesitate to head downwind from the ION CLUB Essaouira center (to the south) to ride some nicer waves …

As far as temperatures are concerned, remember to bring your wetsuit (minimum 3/2mm in summer and 5/3mm from October onwards). The water temperature varies from 17° to 21° on average, and even if it is never really cold outside, it is always a good idea to choose warm over chilly when sailing.

Group of kids looking happiest after their lesson of surfing

What level of kitesurfing is required in Essaouira?

As in the Dakhla region (some 1300 km to the south), kitesurfing in Essaouira is accessible to all levels, from beginner to expert, including those wishing to learn freestyle tricks, jump higher or make their mark in Moroccan waves! The key is to choose the right time of year to go, and the right time of day, bearing in mind that the wind gradually picks up during the summer. Keep in mind that in summer the Essaouira Bay spot is choppy, with no real swell … but in winter there are often waves.

The local ION CLUB center offers kitesurfing lessons, equipment rental from Duotone and provides lockers for riders wishing to ride with their own personal equipment. On the kite spot you will be supervised by both our club and the local lifeguard (only in summer by the community). For beginners, learning to kitesurf in Essaouira during the summer is a really good option, thanks to a vast sandy beach and a weak current. The key is to be well supervised.

Which kite to choose for kitesurfing in Essaouira?

For all kitesurfers, the question of which kite to use in the moment, or for the period during which you will be kiting, is of huge importance. In Essaouira, the best advice is quite simple: Take your whole quiver, bring all of your kites because, especially in summer, the wind can pick up very quickly. From 5m² up to 12m², these are all ideal for Moroccan weather conditions, but 7 and 9m² are preferable in summer, with 9 and 12m² between October and April.

A man surfing with advance level one big wave
A man surfing with advance level one big wave

Kitesurfing in Essaouira travel tips

Where to stay and eat in Essaouira?

Essaouira has been making a name for itself for many years, both for water sports enthusiasts and for those wishing to discover the region’s rich Moroccan heritage and gentle way of life. Indeed, the magnificent city of the trade winds is only a handful of hours from France and Europe, easily reached from the local airport (30 minutes by car), Marrakech (2 hours) or Agadir (3 hours).

Accommodation in Essaouira is simple, and there is a wide choice to suit every taste and budget including luxury or budget hotels, riads with patios or interior gardens, apartments, bed & breakfasts. In the medina, near the beach or the ION CLUB center, a wide range of accommodation welcomes kitesurfers and their tribes all year around. However, we strongly advise you to book early for the summer holiday. Incidentally, ION CLUB is partnered with the charming little hôtel Vent des Dunes just a 10-minute walk from the center.

When it comes to eating out, many tourists like to sample Moroccan gastronomy in one of the establishments in the medina, and there is plenty to choose from in town, as well as by the beach. Note that virtually all hotels in Essaouira offer only breakfast or even half-board, and it is very rare to be able to get full board at hotels.

What to do around Essaouira?

Surfing, walking, riding a camel, horseback or mountain bike, the beaches of the Essaouira region are well worth a visit. Don’t forget the small fishing village of Moulay, where you can enjoy the peace and authenticity of the local people. After you have been on the water and/or visited the region, take a moment to relax in one of the city’s many spas, as relaxation is obviously part of Moroccan culture.

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