In November last year, I hit up the West African country of Senegal to dip my timid toe in the Dakar surfing scene. Hosted by Ngor Island Surf Camp, I went on the seemingly impossible mission to become less of a kook. Having also spent some time at Stoke’s Morocco Surf Camp, I’m here to tell you there’s a good reason or two to head to the African continent in search of swell.
Famous (but not too famous) breaks.
Ngor Right is a (you guessed it) righthand pointbreak that could’ve come straight out of Endless Summer. And unlike every other half-decent pointbreak you can imagine, it’s not crowded as yet. It’s still a reasonably well-kept secret, with waves for the taking.
And most surfers worth their salt, will recognise the Anchor Point break of Taghazout. They have been dreaming of it before they even get to wipeout there.
Find your Endless Summer.
Head to Africa for the warmth. Obvious, but it’s real warmth, especially in winter. Wetsuits be damned and skin be tanned. Even in winter, you’ll find yourself in boardies and bikinis.
These coastal spots will test you with shallow reefs, sea urchins, weever fish, and rocky floors. But you always get more street-cred flashing battle-wounds than maturity. And if you are so inclined, you’ll learn a few safety tactics anyway.
Luscious lefts, rolling rights and ample a-frames make Morocco the perfect destination for beginners, intermediates and ‘advanced’ alike. Beginners will be standing up in no time, intermediates will be turning so fast they shock themselves and fall off, and the advanced, well, you probably won’t see them until nightfall when they slink home with a grin on their face and a mysterious look in their eyes.
These African surf camps are a guaranteed washing machine of worldliness. Surfing is a universal language. As too is love, so if you’ve been trying to nab a certain flag, increase your chances with a side of tanned and salty skin.
Not notoriously party countries, but surfers will find any excuse for a post-surf party. Physicians, nutritionists, and physical rehab consultants have all concluded that surfing is the only guaranteed cure for any hangover. Booze is harder to come by in these parts, but this makes it go down all the better.
The nightlife you encounter when venturing from the mural-ed common area, is eye-opening.
What can be initially daunting and somewhat overwhelming at first, quickly becomes the most interesting part of your trip. Stepping onto the tarmac, you’ll quickly realise you’re not in Kansas anymore. Get ready to become enlightened by new sights, smells, animals, food, laws, religions, and customs.
Quickly you’ll adjust to being awakened by morning loudspeaker prayers, and getting to your hostel via an overcrowded boat adorned with a bright orange life jacket. Until then, take a deep breath and inhale it all.