When we were young and carefree...

A chance encounter at a mystic peak led to an enduring friendship over shared passions. Twelve years on and Chris Nelson discovers the stoke is still as strong as ever...

2001 was a special year for us. We’d been on the road for over six months, following the Atlantic from the Orkney Isles in the north down to the points of the Moroccan south. We’d been greeted by sun and swell every step of the way – with the exception of a rainy ten day stop-over in Mundaka. The year was drawing to a close as we rocked up into Taghazoute and it didn’t take us long to settle into a pretty comfortable regime. Our days were spent up the coast at the point, where we’d nestle the van behind a clump of Argan Trees, so as not to give away the spot where the long walling rights broke in splendid isolation. Evenings always culminated in a huge tagine, a cool beer and paddle weary arms. We planned to visit Marrakesh as soon as the swell dropped. In three months we never made it. Panoramas pumped, Banana Point fired and the point reeled. On those off days Boilers would always offer up something and a couple of days we scored Tamri. It was a magical season.

Surfing an empty point break

But the point became our special place. The line-up here was always quiet, but almost every time we rocked up there’d be this other van there, tucked away in the shade and we’d roll in behind and switch off the ignition. Den, as we’d soon learnt he was called, would be propped up on the cliff edge, checking the dawn surf, watching the perfect walling peelers pouring down the sand bar. Through chats in the line-up or between sessions we’d learned that he’d recently launched a surf camp. We’d chat as we recharged batteries in the cliff top shade, eating bananas and fresh baguette. Those sessions still live in my mind; endless glassy wall with just a handful of surfers, taking turns, trading waves.

Moroccan fishing boats

Come March we were heading back north again. We had Surfing Europe to finish writing. Den always said he would be growing Moroccan Surf Adventures in the right way, and it’s been good to see he stuck to his word, establishing his amazing place in Tamraght as the go to destination for anyone seeking that Moroccan spirit, the thing that drew us to the points and reefs all those years ago.

Article by Chris Nelson.

Chris is a freelance writer, Event Director of the London Surf / Film Festival and author of seven books. In Cold Water Souls: In Search of Surfing’s Cold Water Pioneers he spent 3 years journeying to the planet’s most inhospitable waveriding outposts. Although raised on the frigid reefs of the northeast, a decade ago he emigrated to the warmer climes of Cornwall.

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