Who Were the First Surfers at Morocco's Anchor Point?

Matt Rode

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Updated 43d ago

Every region has its legends, and in terms of Moroccan waves, there are none more legendary than Anchor Point. Northern Africa’s answer to South Africa’s J-Bay, Anchor Point is an endless, rippable, sometimes hollow right-hand point that breaks over a mixture of rock and sand. Conveniently located in the town of Taghazout, Anchor Point is both the geographical and spiritual epicentre of Moroccan surfing, and has been for nearly 60 years.

While many of surfing’s regional classics are rich with colourful accounts of first sessions, it’s actually quite difficult to nail down the exact start of Anchor Point’s dominance. One has to remember that although surfing was an established sport and lifestyle in many countries by the time the first surfboards crossed the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain, there was no surf culture to speak of in Morocco at the time, so sessions went largely undocumented and unnoticed.

When to go? See the forecast HERE.

For those who don't know, Morocco is actually an honorary addition to the great European surf trip.

Add the fact that many of surfing’s early pioneers were hesitant to announce their discoveries—after all, they had them virtually to themselves—and it’s no wonder that the details behind the first session at Anchor Point are fuzzy as best. While theories abound, most people agree that it was a small group of Australian’s who first surfed the Moroccan right-hander, sometime in the 1960s, if anyone knows the name of those pioneers, let us know.

Since that time, Morocco has grown to become one of the most popular surf zones in the northern hemisphere, particularly with Europeans, for whom a trip across the strait has practically become a rite of passage. A colourful culture, affordable cost of living, and a wide range of consistent waves—including a number of world-class, right-hand point breaks—has seen Morocco’s coast go from a sleepy secret to a bustling surf destination. And Anchor Point sits at the centre of it all, the most filmed, crowded, and—by many accounts—consistently epic wave in the country.

Oh that Morocco section in Sipping Jetstreams sure does pull on the heart strings.

Anchor Point has hosted notable sessions and video parts over the years, including a section in Taylor Steele’s Sipping Jetstreams, and what many have called the biggest wave ever surfed paddled at the point by Spaniard Nagai Puntiverio back in 2014. But it is perhaps the less notable swells that matter the most—the day-in and day-out sessions enjoyed by throngs of everyman surf pilgrims from Spain, Portugal, and France that have cemented Anchor Point’s reputation.

And as for the wave? Well, it's a slippery, careful-footed walk over rocks to get to the rock off. Over the years, hundreds, if not thousands of surfers' boards have met an untimely demise after stacking it hard on those rocks.

Spot guide: Morocco

The only alternative is paddling the beach, which is a little down the ways. The problem here is Anchors works best on a big swell and you;ll be paddling through a massive, likely closing out beachie, before you even start on your mission to get to the tip of the point.

Look for a NW swell before making a call. If you can get over the crowd factor, it may just be the ride of your life. There's three distinct sections, the top of the point, the middle section and then the third and final if it is big and consistent enough to power through. If you link all three together, expect a long paddle back – or haul out over the rocks and make your over that slick surface.

 A touch further down from the point and it is still grinding.

A touch further down from the point and it is still grinding.

© 2020 - Surf Maroc.

Exiting is a little tricky, you'll need to paddle after your wave in between sets to get back to the rocks about 100-200 metres down from the rock off. If you time it wrong, you'll be pinned to the rocks. We don't recommend that. Or, if you like up all three sections, there's a small beach you can navigate to, you'll see it as you look along the point, back towards Taghazout.

Today, Morocco has it’s own small army of professional surfers who dominate at Anchor and elsewhere in the country. Ramzi Boukhiam is a legitimate threat on the QS, Othmane Choufani has established himself as a hellman charger both at home and abroad, and Jerome Sayhoun has a reputation as one of the most well-traveled freesurfers on the planet. But no matter how far these and other local rippers stray from Morocco’s coastline, they never leave for too long—and one look at their home break makes it perfectly clear why.

It truly is the dream set up.

It truly is the dream set up.

© 2020 - Surf Berbere photographer Patrick Straub

This is all part our 'First Sessions' series. We covered Waimea, which you can see HERE but if there's any other locale you'd like us to focus on, then shout it out in the comments.

Cover shot: The fabled point by Surf Berbere photographer Patrick Straub