Surfing in Essaouira: the ultimate guide

The Waves of Essaouira: A surfer’s paradise 🏄‍♂️

The Waves of Essaouira: A surfer’s paradise or `the city of the trade winds` has been attracting windsurf and kitesurf enthusiasts for many years, as the wind frequently blows in this region. However, it is also a little paradise for surfers! Only a few hours from France and Europe, it is easy to get to with direct flights to either the local airport (30 minutes by car), Marrakech (2 hours) or Agadir (3 hours). From Essaouira Bay to Sidi Kaouki and Moulay Bouzerktoun, the waves are surfable all year around, although more present and bigger in winter.

Weather in Essaouira: Plan your surf session

Temperatures in Essaouira are around 25° in summer and 15° in winter, while the water varies from 17° to 21° all year around. Even if it is never too cold, remember to bring your full wetsuit of at least 3/2mm in summer, and 5/3mm from October onwards. It is always a good idea to choose warmth when you are on the water for a while!

Experienced surfers should come to the Essaouira region in winter in search of more consistent waves. For those who surf less frequently or are just starting out, it is perfectly possible to come in autumn as well as in winter, but if you are looking for smaller waves then it is best to visit Essaouira in spring or summer (until August).

ion harness on the beach with pink, blue and grey colors
ion harness silver with a kitesurfer on the beach

What to do in Essaouira besides surfing?

Essaouira and the surrounding areas are well known to surfers and water sports enthusiasts, but many tourists with a passion for Moroccan architecture also come to stay here. A visit to Essaouira’s medina (old town), protected by its 13th-century ramparts, is undoubtedly the most beautiful thing to discover here.

You can enjoy beautiful walks, camel rides, horseback riding, quad biking or mountain biking, and the Moroccan beaches deserve to be explored whilst admiring the horizon. Worth a visit are the authentic fishing villages of Sidi Kaouki (12 km south of Essaouira) and Moulay Bouzerktoun (25 km north) for their tranquility and being far from the crowds.

After surfing, unwind in one of Essaouira’s many spas as relaxation is an integral part of Moroccan culture.

For those with a sweet tooth, and even for those without, try the local cuisine – it is absolutely delicious! Treat yourself to couscous, tajine or pastilla in one of the local restaurants – the choice is immense!

ion harness silver with a kitesurfer on the beach

Choose the surfing level to suit your experience

The ION CLUB Essaouira center is open all year around and offers both introductory surfing courses as well as courses for intermediates and the more advanced surfer.

Groups (4 people per instructor), semi-private (2 people/instructor) and private courses offer you several options for learning and progressing in surfing.

Surfing Equipment: Essential equipment and recommendations

Surfing equipment has undergone significant development over the last few years, especially beginner boards. Today it is highly recommended to use a foam board (soft board), which is lighter and less painful in the event of impact (for yourself or the surfers around you). Another advantage is that it is stronger than a 100% resin board, and more accessible, with better buoyancy and considerable stability. In fact, it is a board that can accompany you in the early stages of foam-riding, as well as in small waves to fuel your progress. Soft boards range from 7 to 9 feet for beginners, depending on your height and weight, but there are also smaller boards.

A mini Malibu is a little smaller than a longboard, but more maneuverable and slower, so you will not have to worry about going through your first “real” waves. This board is wider, correcting your placement errors on the go, and allowing you to evolve more smoothly. Mini Malibu boards are around 8 feet long.

Finally, the more experienced surfer will take to the waves on other types of boards such as the shortboard for very good riders, the fish, hybrid and egg for intermediate to good levels, and finally the longboard for “old school” surf enthusiasts.

girl with an ion wetsuit on the beach with wind
man with an ion wetsuit and a kite on the beach

Surfing Safety: Tips for safe surfing

There are more and more of us on the surf spots throughout the summer and winter, so knowing the rules of priority, and finding out about the configuration of a spot and the weather conditions is something to be taken seriously!

For your safety, generally start at a surf spot with a sandy bottom, and choose to go there at low tide when the sea or ocean begins to rise. Gauge the currents, the wind speed if there is any, avoid stormy weather, and start by surfing the foam if you are still having trouble standing up. Above all, do not overestimate yourself!

As far as rules between surfers are concerned, one of the first basics is not to try to catch a wave if someone else is already on it, as that person will probably have done his or her take-off (standing up on the board) before you, and as close as possible to the inside (the area close to the impact of the wave). Another important basic rule is to ride up to the peak (where the wave starts to break) from the side (when possible, where the wave stops rolling), so as not to disturb other surfers who are actually riding a wave. Of course, don’t forget to attach a leash to your board so that it is always close to you when you are on the water, and never let go of it when you are being tossed about by the waves, to avoid colliding with another board or surfer.

The best surf spots in Essaouira

Essaouira Bay spots

With its 5 kilometers of beach, the Essaouira Bay spot is ideal for all surfers. The Mogador islands hold back the swell from the open sea and let in only pretty waves that roll right up to Tagharte, Essaouira’s main beach. Here it is a safe spot with sandy bottom almost everywhere and no rocks. The ION CLUB Essaouira center actually has its structure to the south of Tagharte beach and offers board hire. With their proximity and supervision you are bound to have a highly enjoyable surfing holiday in Essaouira, and finally be able to ride with complete peace of mind!

Further south of Essaouira, but still in the bay, is another beach called Diabat. Here, unlike Tagharte, it is unsupervised, and you will find pebbles underfoot. However, the waves are more present as the beach is clear of any obstacles. To get there you will need to use a track, so a car is mandatory.

Moulay Bouzerktoun

For lovers of bigger waves, we recommend that you go surfing at least once in Moulay Bouzerktoun, a small fishing village 25 km north of Essaouira. The waves that break can be very impressive, so your surfing level should already be good, or even very good when top conditions are forecast. Make sure that you ask the locals before you get in the water, as this is not a sandy area, but one with lots of rocks, and the wind can be very strong (especially in the summer).

Sidi Kaouki

This time south of Essaouira and a 20-minute drive away, the 4 surf spots at Sidi Kaouki are a must-see if you are in the area. The village has a sandy beach some 4 kilometers long, with plenty of space on the water and therefore more peaks. Beware of the sometimes strong currents, so do not go alone!  Sidi Kaouki is one of the best spots in the region, and it is best to go in the morning before the wind picks up.

As you can see, surfing in Morocco is part of the local culture, with its multitude of spots! Do not  wait any longer, come and get a taste of the waves in Essaouira and the surrounding area – you will remember it for the rest of your life!

wetbag ion on the floor with a kitesurfer changing
poncho with a men on the beach

Surf lessons and schools in Essaouira: Where to learn?

The ION CLUB Essaouira center is ideally located on the bay’s large beach to the south, closest to the region’s easiest surf spot. Whatever your level, the instructors will be able to introduce you to surfing or help you to progress, whether in a group lesson, a semi-private course or on your own in a private session in order to progress even faster.

ION CLUB has a wide choice of equipment to suit your physique and level.

Of course, there are other surf clubs in Essaouira and Sidi Kaouki that will take care of you just as well as our center!

Tips for an unforgettable stay in Essaouira

For an ideal and unforgettable stay in Essaouira, start by booking the period that suits you best, according to your level of surfing and the expected temperatures at the time of year. There are direct flights to Essaouira, and if your plane lands in Marrakech, take advantage of 48 hours to discover Morocco’s most famous city. Another tip: If you are staying in a hotel, choose the breakfast-only option rather than half or full board, as it is well worth savoring Moroccan gastronomy in one of the local restaurants, bearing in mind that the budget for food is much lower than in Europe.

Last but not least, try a Moroccan massage or hammam after a good surf session! You are in one of the best countries for it. 

equipment of kitesurf on the beach with harness, strapless
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