If you are visiting the windy city of Essaouira in Morocco and considering a surf lesson or two then read this review! We spent a full month in Essaouira – a beautiful medina city on the Atlantic Coast -and we went with a plan to book surf lessons. We also did a lot of research before booking the right one. So read on to find out who we booked and what we loved about learning to surf in Essaouira, Morocco.
Essaouira is home to kite surfing, and a great hub for beginner surfers. The laidback city is a cheap place to learn surfing and also to find good value for money accommodation.
We booked our kids in for a full month of lessons and so can tell you all you need to know about surf school in Essaouira, Morocco. From the lay of the land, getting to and from surf lessons, what to expect from the surf and the instructors, our thoughts on value for money, and the best surf school to book with.
Along with this surf review, we have loads of content on Essaouira to help you get the best out of your time there and beyond in Morocco. So be sure to see the rest of our travel content, recommendations, tour reviews and blogs on Morocco.
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Table of Contents
Where is Essaouira?
Essaouira is located around a third of the way down Morocco’s Atlantic coast. It’s a 3 hour drive west of Marrakech, 4 hour drive south of Casablanca, or 3 hours north of Agadir. There are international airports in each of these cities, making Essaouira a very accessible surf destination within Morocco. And with an easy public transport system with the SupraTours or CTM buses, getting to Essaouira is no fuss.
See our dedicated post on getting to Essaouira from Marrakech.
Getting Around in Essaouira
As with many cities and towns in Morocco, the city is centred around the Medina. However, what makes Essaouira extra unique is that the Medina is located on the western most point, built on a natural rock face and therefore surrounded by high outer walls, or ramparts. This means that the ocean borders the outer walls on one side of the Medina, giving you a constant sound of the ocean.
The main fishing port is at the southern end of the Medina. And access to both the northern and southern beaches are only a 5 to 15 minute easy walk depending on where you are staying. You then have the new town which is a combination of larger hotels, apartments, shops and the local community.
Getting around Essaouira is super easy and you won’t need a rental car. In the Medina everything is walking distance. At one side, or the northern entrance is Bab Doukkala, then at the other end is Bab Sbaa a mere 10 minute brisk walk. If you are in the new town then the blue Petit taxi’s are great with a fixed fee of 7 MAD.
The main surf area is half way along the beach Plage Tagharte. From Bab Sbaa, this took our family 20 minutes to stroll to along the water edge, with our feet in the ocean as we walked.
Essaouira as a Surf Destination
Essaouira is known as Africa’s windy city, so is therefore one of Morocco’s major Kite surfing destinations. It’s also a popular place to find surf schools. This is partly due to its proximity to Marrakech, but also because of a couple of well-known surf spots, when the swell and wind are right.
One of the reasons we planned to stay in Essaouria for four weeks, was to give our girls the chance to learn to surf. Well as much as you can over four weeks.
And so we were looking to get them two, two hour lessons a week. We’d heard that Essaouira wasn’t known for its big surf. But our kids are young and very much beginners, so ultimately they only needed a ripple!
In terms of destination – Essaouira’s main beach is a great location to learn to surf. Sometimes the waves are small but they are generally great for beginners. There are also other surf spots around, better suited to those looking for the bigger breaks.
It’s also worth noting that Essaouira, had all the other important things that ticked our list for a month long surf mission. In a nutshell – we were spoiled with great accommodation options, a fun Medina to explore, grocery stores, restaurants, beaches both to the north and south, to mention just a few.
Choosing a Surf School
So based on all of the above, there are quite a few surf schools to choose from. Each offer various options for either Kite Surfing, Wind Surfing, Paddle Boarding and Surfing. They can include long term stays that include accommodation, meals, transport, lessons, gear and even yoga if you wish. And can include group, semi-private and private lessons, or just gear hire if a board and wettie is all you need.
So the question then is how to choose? We decided to do our research and contacted several of the schools via email prior to arriving in Essaouira. We explained who we were and what we were looking for. Our concern was how much might we be expecting to pay. Considering lessons with gear hire, for two kids, over four weeks, could potentially be astronomical to our somewhat tight purse strings.
To be fair all the schools we contacted did reply. Most quoted their standard lesson and gear hire costs shown on their websites. However, two replied that they could look at possible deals based on our kids age and a long term arrangement.
We also received a really good recommendation from friends Travelynn Family, who were in Essaouira at the same time and had already booked their boys in for lessons.
And so ultimately, all signs pointed us towards Mogasurf, aka Loving Surf. We headed down to meet the crew to get a feeling if they would be the right fit for us. Straight away, they came across really friendly, were great with the girls and based on our long-term requirements offered us a good deal.
This then moved immediately into lesson number one! The girls head straight downstairs to get wetties on and then over the road to the beach. Within 30 minutes of meeting the team, our girls were lying on surf boards, in the sand, getting their first surf instructions.
Mogasurf – Location and the Team
Mogasurf is located towards the southern end of Plage Tagharte, on the opposite side of the road from the beach.
If you’re driving, it’s just before the R207 leaves the beach road, where you turn off towards Diabat.
If you’re walking down the beach from the Medina, then it’s just before you reach the area where the horses and camels are. Look up and you will see the restaurants Beach and Friends and others. Mogasurf is on the main road, just before these groups of restaurants. Look out for the signs and you’ll most likely see the rack of surfboards, chairs and tables out front.
Mogasurf is a family run business with Ismail Adarzane heading up the company. Ismail himself is a professional kite surfer and rides for the F-One team. We did meet him several times in the shop and chatted briefly in passing or when he manned the desk and took our next booking. However, we predominantly interacted with Younes who we booked the initial lessons with and Yassine, Osama and Abdul who took the lessons.
The guys were awesome, especially during the surf lessons. The kids loved their instructors, each lesson was a lot of fun and the interactions were always easy. But at the same time, the lessons were delivered well and they learnt a lot while out having fun in the surf.
Our Surf School Experience in Essaouira
As I mentioned above, we booked the girls in for two lessons a week. And we always booked the next surf lesson and time at the end of the previous lesson. We like our schedule flexible! Younes did say if we ever wanted to change this a WhatsApp message the day before would be sufficient to do so.
We predominantly did the lessons on a Monday and Thursday morning around 10am. This meant we would avoid the windier afternoons, which also left the rest of the day free to explore Essaouira.
And so it became our routine! The girls had their weekly physical education sessions pre-planned and booked, perfect for our worldschooling schedule.
You can imagine it didn’t take long to get into the Essaouria vibe! After breakfast we would head out from our place and walk down to our new surf home. The girls would head down stairs to suit up, then over the road with boards, a quick warm up, before getting out in the surf.
If you want to know more about how we world-school and travel full-time read this post here.
What to Expect During a Surf Lesson
The initial first two lessons do include a 10-15 minute dry session on the beach. You’ll be taught the basics on the parts of the board, paddling, catching a wave and getting up. However, after that it’s all learnt in the water.
For our kids the first 20 to 30 minutes were in the shallows so they could slowly warm into it. Then the guys would try to push their boundaries further. Obviously not every session would be the same as the surf conditions played a major part in the day’s session. But it was always guaranteed that there was plenty of laughter, huge smiles and big stories shared after the surf.
After the lesson’s done, you’re able to stay down on the beach and borrow the gear for longer. Take your time to practice the skills from the lesson and simply walk the board back when you’re done.
If like us, you don’t plan to participate in the surf lesson, then you can watch from the beach. Or you can choose to sit up at the surf shop and café. They have great wifi, so it’s a great place to grab a coffee and get some online work done.
Occasionally, we also spent some of the lesson time in the water with the kids. Boo, our youngest feels the cold, so from time to time we’d jump in to provide a little extra encouragement.
Value for Money
Given that our kids learnt to surf on day one and continued to make noticeable changes throughout their following lessons… we give this experience a 5 star review.
After a total of seven lessons we saw our kids improve on the water. Their confidence grew in bigger surf and their increased independence in terms of catching waves was magnificent to watch. And I don’t know if you can put a value on that.
But if we compare prices with other surf destinations in the world, it has to be said the prices in Essaouira, Morocco are more than fair.
- First impressions – as I mentioned the guys are very accommodating right from the start. This didn’t change throughout our time with them.
- Interactions – The guys are awesome with kids, which meant our kids really looked forward to the lessons. And not just because of the surfing, but they were also keen to get down to see the guys.
- Flexibility – Being able to choose the day and time you want is a definite plus. Additionally having the flexibility to change the surf lesson at short notice without penalty is a bonus.
- Location – The shop is directly opposite the section of the beach were the surf predominantly is. So you literally walk across the road, onto the beach and down to the water. Also the walk to and from the Medina is a nice way to start the day and if you are running late you can grab a petite taxi for only 7 MAD!
Booking a Surf Lesson in Essaouira, Morocco
Click these links to learn more about Loving Surf & Mogasurf – these are the direct booking links to the guys who we did our lessons with in Essaouira, Morocco.
Honestly speaking, you can’t go wrong them. Our kids had an absolute blast and made massive improvements over the course of four weeks. And as we continue our full-time travels and chase the sun, we know these surf lessons from Essaouira will provide invaluable!
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