“Patience is keeping a positive attitude while waiting”, says Kevin, the yoga teacher at the yoga and surf camp in Morocco, in his soft voice. “What the heck?! Is he talking to me?!”, I think, sitting in my yoga mat, my eyes closed, his words hitting a nerve.
As we slowly go from one yoga pose to the other, after a long day of surfing, Kevin goes on about patience, the theme for today’s evening class: “All good things take time, in life as well as in surf”. For a moment, a very familiar emotion takes over me and I need to hold my tears – let me introduce you to the arch-enemy of patience, my old friend frustration.
I booked my place for a yoga and surf camp in Morocco with Surf Star Morocco almost half a year in advance. I had just arrived from Thailand and was suffering from a severe case of travel blues, and nothing works better for me in times like that than planning another trip. My significant other is not into yoga, or surf, and no friends seemed to be available, so I decided to go solo.
I didn’t give it much thought though. Contrary to other travels I’ve done before, I did almost no research at all and had no idea what to expect. Until a couple of days before my trip, when I started to feel nervous for no reason.
I was spending the holidays in Portugal and was supposed to leave for Morocco on the 1st of January, where I would stay for a week. I had planned an epic start to 2018, but was now having second thoughts. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea after all. Maybe I should spend more time with my family and friends instead of traveling alone to a new country in a continent I’ve never been before. Maybe my lack of enthusiasm was a sign that I really shouldn’t go (oh dear mind, you are good!).
But surprisingly, and thanks to my boyfriend, who put some sense into my head, I decided to go anyway. I could always return earlier than planned, if I didn’t like it.
I arrived in Morocco after dark. The driver from Surf Star Morocco was reassuringly waiting for me at Agadir Airport, along with another newly arrived guest – Chiaki, a friendly Japanese journalist and a seasoned surfer.
It took us almost an hour to get to our destination: Tamraght, a small Berber fishing village 17 kilometers north of Agadir and a 5-minute drive from Taghazout, Morocco’s surfing mecca.
At Surf Star Morocco, we were greeted by Bela, who showed us around the surf house and lead us to the dinning area, where our dinner was awaiting us. After dinner, we found our way up to the rooftop terrace, for our first night of Moroccan music and songs under the stars.
Staying at Surf Star Morocco
I woke up early the next morning for my first day of surfing in Morocco.
I was looking for yoga retreats when I found this yoga and surf camp in Morocco and decided to give it a try. I had done a couple of surfing lessons in Lisbon some years ago and really enjoyed it, so this would be the perfect opportunity to practice yoga and finally learn to surf properly, something that I always dreamed of. That’s to say I had big expectations about my surfing performance, but more on this later.
After breakfast, I joined the beginners group and we set off to find the best waves for our level. After checking different spots, the instructors opted for Camel Beach.
It was time to put our wetsuits on and get ready for the surfing. We started with a warm-up, and then practiced the pop-up (going from lying to standing up on the board) on the sand, begore getting into the water.
Once in the water, things started to get a bit harder. The ocean was very rough, with a strong current, on the first day. I struggled to do the pop-up as we’ve practiced on the sand, but couldn’t stand up even once and kept getting knocked off my surfboard. Let’s just say it must have been fun to watch!
The rest of the day went as smoothly as possible. We had lunch on the beach, after which we could decide for free surfing or enjoying the beach in the afternoon. Needless to say, I chose the latter.
Lying in the sun in my bikini, it was hard to believe it was only January and that just a couple of days before I was surviving Europe’s cold winter.
Back to the surf camp, I tried my first yoga class at Surf Star Morocco. These are held on the rooftop terrace, with an incredible view over Tamragh, Taghazout bay and the Atlas Mountains. The restorative yoga class in the warm evening, and the inspiring setting were just what I needed after a challenging day of surfing.
Dinner was served at 6:30 every day: a buffet of delicious and healthy Moroccan cuisine, with many vegetarian options for my delight. After dinner it was time for the surf photo feedback session, during which an instructor would show pictures of the day and give corrections and other tips.
But my favorite moments were the get-togethers on the terrace, around an open fire and to the sound of Berber songs.
By the end of my first day at Surf Star Morocco I was feeling at home. Everyone, from the surf and yoga instructors to the hosts and office workers, were so kind and willing to go the extra mile to make you feel welcome that was impossible not to feel good. I had also met so many amazing people from all over the world that I couldn’t believe I was so nervous before coming here.
Life lessons from a yoga and surf camp in Morocco
On my second day at Surf Star Morocco we were back to Camel beach. This time the waves were not so big, and the general conditions were much better for beginners. I was determined to catch some waves, but despite all my efforts I was still not managing to pop up.
I went back in the water in the afternoon and kept trying. It was around this time that my old friend frustration decided to pay me a visit: “Why the heck wasn’t I able to stand up on my board like everyone else?!”
I skipped yoga in the evening and went for a massage in the local Haman in the hopes of soothing my sore muscles and ego.
On the third day I woke up feeling every muscle of my body, even some I didn’t know I had. I contemplated not surfing at all, but at the end I decided to go and do at least the morning class.
This time we were off to K17, another popular surf spot near Tamraght, where I finally achieved something that resembled a pop up. But my body was telling me to slow down, so I didn’t surf in the afternoon and relaxed on the sun instead.
We get back to the surf house just in time for the evening yoga class.
Sitting in my yoga mat, my eyes closed, I listen to Kevin, the instructor, talking about patience and hold back my urge to cry: “All good things take time, in life as well as in surf”.
I know this to be true, but for the last couple of days I have let frustration take over me. I wanted to surf so bad that I forgot to enjoy it.
While I lye down on my mat for the final stretches I finally realize that I am exactly where I need to be. In that moment I decide that, when it comes to surf, my goal for the next days will be just to have fun.
On Friday, my fourth day at the yoga and surf camp in Morocco, we head to Banana Point. I’m feeling light-hearted and determined to enjoy myself. “I don’t even want to stand up today”, I joke.
But then it happens. I’m standing up on my board and surfing. And it’s a feeling like no other!
Ok, let me get real here for a second. I’m just clumsily standing up and catching some small, white waves. I know real surfers won’t probably even call this surfing. But it really feels awesome!
I’m so pumped that I’m back in the water in the afternoon for some more. Now that I know how it feels, I can’t get enough of it.
On Fridays, there’s no dinner at Surf Star Morocco, so the group can go out together and socialize. We start with a visit to the Agadir Souk for some shopping, and then head to Agadir Beach for dinner at Camel’s Restaurant, where Surf Star have booked a table for us.
The Agadir Souk is the largest Moroccan market in the area and a very interesting experience. You can find everything here, from traditional Berber clothes and shoes to spices, or the famous Moroccan honey and argan oil.
Food at Camel’s is good and all the staff is very friendly and helpful, but to be honest I was expecting a more traditional Moroccan restaurant for our only night out in Agadir.
We end the night at Loft, a popular bar and shisha lounge, for a drink and some dancing.
Saturday is my last day at the yoga and surf camp in Morocco. A storm is coming. It’s raining in the morning and it feels much colder, so there’s no surf for me today.
In the afternoon, I walk with Chiaki to Banana Village, which owes its name to its banana groves and merchants.
We come back just in time for my last dinner at the surf house.
Today the party is inside, due to the rain. As I listen to the Berber songs one last time and try to sing along, I can’t believe the week is coming to an end, and that I will have to say goodbye to Tamraght and all the new friends I’ve made during this amazing yoga and surf camp in Morocco.
I’ve had such a good time and intense experience at Surf Star Morocco that I’m sure I’ll be back soon for the surf, the yoga, the sun, and the people.
Till then, patience is my new friend.
Have you ever done a yoga retreat or surf camp in Morocco or anywhere else in the world? Share your experience in the comments section below!
* I was a full paying guest at Surf Star Morocco and received no compensation for this review. All opinions are my own.
If you like it, Pin it!