Like most trips, things don’t always go as planned. Conner and Parker Coffin were nowhere to be found after missing a connection in NYC. Their surfboards were even more lost and wouldn’t be seen for days. Their filmer, Ryan Perry, was armed with an iPhone, tripod, and Polaroid camera to document the action and gather clips for TransWorld SURF’s guaranteed-to-not-win-an-award-at-Surfer-Poll movie Tropically Yours. After a few missed sessions (and several days of wearing the same clothes) the trio was like caged lions and ready to unleash when their equipment finally showed up.
I’d never seen two surfers happier to see their board bags. Parker even slept with his.
The central coast region of Morocco is an amazing place. There are hundreds of miles of surfable coastline, all exposed to swell, with a ton of spots waiting to be discovered. Due to convenience, skill level, and lack of transportation, most everyone surfs in the same zone between Agadir and Taghazoute. That left us a huge swath of the SoCal-size region wide open for daylong strike missions with nobody around. Our base camp in the sleepy and dry (i.e. no bars or liquor stores) village of Tamraght was perfectly located for these pre-dawn raids.
While I was hoping for leisurely surfs at one of the famed points, the pros had other waves in mind. They were looking for that damn air wind and a wedgey type of wave. Outnumbered and outvoted, every morning we’d fly through the dirty surf ghetto of Taghazoute, passing by packs of stoned-out-of-their-mind German surfers trying their best to lug around soft tops and egg-shaped beginner boards. Many of them had those god-awful “I’m on vacation” braids in their hair, and like catatonically high sheep, they would gather at Anchor Point and nowhere else.
Every morning as we’d drive by, I’d stare at the long, fun-looking lines, amateur hour crowd, and yearn for a session at Morocco’s most famous wave. At first I’d be like, “Hey, that looks like fun!” only to be shot down with “no air sections” and “too offshore.”
After a few days I stopped commenting on how fun it looked. They weren’t going to stop anyways. The offshore wind was wrong.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m all for kids doing crazy airs. It’s just not my game. So we’d blast through town, around a bend in the coastline, and into what our hosts called The Dark Side. The Dark Side was badass. Facing due west, the Dark Side gets the brunt of Atlantic Ocean swell, and when the points in town are two-foot, The Dark Side is six-foot, colder, and windier. Suffice to say, German surf tourists don’t go to The Dark Side.
We spent days on The Dark Side. Joined only by the occasional Berber fisherman, we’d crawl down cliffs and leap off rocks into the surging ocean and then wait for the best show of all—watching Oliver Kurtz do the same.
Oliver would do fine on the trail that leads down the sandstone cliff, but his guile would fizzle once he had to negotiate the sharp, slippery rocks covered with sea urchins that stand between surfer and wave.
I took great pleasure in watching Oliver struggle and scream his way over the jagged rocks. He’s younger than me, surfs better than me, has a better body than me, and makes more money than me. So yeah, I enjoyed watching him get blasted on the rocks. I helped him remove sea urchin spines from his foot, so I’m not a total dickhead.