Posted on 04 Sep, 2013 by Gareth
Since the early days of the camp we have always given the kids at our local beach, Imouranne (Devil’s Rock as it is known in the surf community), our surplus surf boards & wetsuits as we renewed our guest hire equipment. The kit was largely second-hand and generally well used, but was always gratefully received.
Over the years, surfing took hold locally and the guys organised themselves more formally. They now have a very healthy & established surf club that receives funding from Fedesurfmaroc, the Royal Moroccan Surfing Federation. They have their own clubhouse and shiny new equipment and they are now the number one surf club in inter club competitions in Morocco. This is a fantastic achievement and we are delighted to have played a very small role in their success, but they don’t really need our modest help any more.
But still, we didn’t want to throw away surf equipment that still had a bit of life in it and could be used by someone else, so we looked around for where else it would be needed most. We didn’t have to look far. For years we have surfed & spent time on the beach at Anza, where we have enjoyed great relations and close ties with the locals. Denny will tell you about his early surf excursions to Anza with goats roaming the streets and women and girls doing their washing out in the open. There was no sanitation and the water quality often left something to be desired, so he used to take a bar of soap and wash himself down at a well after surfing there. Today things are a bit different in Anza. A recent slum removal initiative by the Moroccan government bulldozed the houses that used to sprawl to the water’s edge and where our own guide Rachid Mias (AKA “Nissan”) grew up. They have also installed a water sanitation facility, so at least Denny can leave his soap at home now!
But Anza is the port town of Agadir, and like many port areas in developing countries around the world it is still a pretty tough place to grow up. Life can be harsh and opportunities for youngsters are pretty limited, especially when it comes to sports like surfing where the expense of a surfboard and wetsuit would be far beyond the reach of most families. These guys have a different and altogether more constant battle to keep their heads above water.
What Anza does have, as you find in so many of these kinds of places around the world, is an incredibly strong sense of community & pride. There is a tightly-knit bunch of local surfers & body boarders at Anza but, unsurprisingly, the kids have always struggled with kit to use in the water. Recently, things have started to change. Rachid Mias is something of a role model in Anza and has used his position to help form the Anza Surf Club for which he is currently the acting president. He has seen first hand what a bit of organisation and funding has done for the guys at Devil’s Rock, and he would love that kind of set up for his own people.
So on the back of our last round of equipment upgrades in the camp, we were able to donate 8 surf boards, around 30 wetsuits & a stack of of other accessories such as leashes and booties to the guys at Anza. We have donated the odd bit of equipment before over the years, but with Rachid as president of the new association, we can ensure that everything we donate will be distributed evenly & shared to all those budding surfers in Anza who want and need it. Admittedly this equipment isn't state of the art or new but it all has plenty of life left in it and was received with a mix of reverance and delight.
It’s great to see the reaction and we look forward to seeing the boys out in the lineup on their “new” boards. This really feels like the start of an exciting new journey. With new equipment coming into the camp all the time, we will endeavour to continue donating further equipment to the Anza surf club & look at other ways we can help this proud community to establish another successful surf club. Hopefully one day soon we will see them compete against the rest of the surf clubs in Morocco. Maybe even from their own clubhouse. If Rachid has anything to do with it...