This event was an unexpected one since it was confirmed last minute. I’ve always wanted to go to Morocco and this was the perfect reason to pack my bags and head out to the Far East! ( Wait.. or should I say, the close West?) Before I knew it my tickets were booked and I was on my way to Amsterdam to catch my connecting flight to Marrakech. Off on a new adventure SQ!
As I arrived in Marrakech and caught my 3-hour transfer to Essaouira I immediately got a taste of the Moroccan culture. I’m pretty used to lugging my bags around but my driver insisted on carrying my board bags and it was really quite entertaining to see him and 4 other men struggle to get my bags through narrow passages (something I normally do in seconds). But hey, I wasn’t going to complain!
Halfway to Essaouira my driver made a stop to get some food.
Thank goodness! I was about to pass out. When I saw where we stopped I actually almost did. Whole cow legs and cow body parts were hanging from the restaurant ceiling for us to choose from. You should know, I’m not the biggest meat eater. Lawd have mercy. I was shocked.
Could we get a sandwich, or go to another restaurant I asked.
“Non, non, c’est bien ici” Okay, I guess not then….
The hunger pangs kicked in and I gave in. The Köfte was actually great!
Finally we had some tea. I’m not entirely sure, but it seemed the tea/sugar ratio was off when my driver added a block of sugar about half the size of the teapot.
That’s why it was so good! And then like a concert pianist he elegantly raised the teapot as high as possible and lowered it while filling our teacups. I learned later that week that pouring tea from high up creates the mousse (foam) and only then will the tea have been served correctly. Coincidentally, that week, I learned that I can get just as lit off of tea as I do off of coffee.
The next day I woke up in a quiet town called Moulay, the home spot of Boujmaa Guilloul. He was hosting the first ever women’s only wave event. Something I’m really excited to have been a part of. I was well excited for this event because it would be starboard tack instead of the usual port tack. Yeah buddy! Let’s do this!
I arrived about one week before the event and was able to train in all sorts of conditions. From mega windy and jumping, to light wind and riding only. It was great! Before our women’s only event the IWT was running. I stayed at the house of Abderazaq and as the events got closer more people started pouring in. Next thing I know we’re having tagine and couscous with 15 people. It was an international affair with Italians, Frenchies, Germans, Swedes (Gustav and Gustav) and the one Aruban. We dubbed our house the “house of champions”.
It was fun to come home and hear everyone’s stories and results!
Huge shoutout to Antoine Martin for winning the IWT Pro division.
It was I N C R E D I B L E to watch Antoine, Takara ishi, Morgan Noireaux and Boujmaa, perform.
Before the contest I spent one day with Lena Erdil getting lost in the streets of Essaouira. Coming from the Caribbean, Morocco is as exotic as it gets for me!
It was just like the movie Aladdin! Cobblestone streets, secret alleys, food stands, leather everywhere, super colorful rugs and carpets hanging outside of the shops and just very friendly people.
Oh, and the smell of spices! They’re great while on the market. Not so much in my room.
It took me 3 days to figure out that the light-fart smell I was dealing with in my room was the Ras-el-Hanout, Curry and Tajin spices I bought on the market earlier hahaha.
The forecast changed all the time and it looked like there was a depression nearby that would create some massive swell on that Wednesday during our contest. The head judge made it a point to get the first elimination done before “big Wednesday hit”.
Moulay is known to be windy so it would have been great to have 2 waves and a jump to count but it was too light so ultimately only wave rides counted.
Secretly that’s what I wanted anyway, because I really want to improve in that aspect. I just don’t have any patience! When the wind is light you don’t move around so quickly so you need to be picky with the waves.
I was on my 5,0 Combat and my 86L Kevin Pritchard model Ultrakode.
In my first heat I tell myself to be patient but then immediately start pumping for the first “bump” I see, and rip a hip-high wave to pieces. When I float back out I see the other girls in my heat on over head high set waves hahaha. Oh man. I did it again. Patience SQ!! I didn’t catch the best waves in my first heat but I rode them the best I could so I advanced to the next round.
For the next rounds I got into the groove of things and really did my best to be patient. Finally I advanced to the winners final alongside Iballa and Daida Moreno and Lina Erpenstein. The conditions were only getting better and this was the most fun heat of the day! The wind turned more side shore, got stronger and the waves were cleaner. This was 30 minutes of pure joy. Only 4 girls on the water and we were actually cheering each other on. This was definitely my best heat and coming off the water I was just happy to have made it to the final.
After some issues with the live scoring they finally announced the results and I finished in second, after Iballa Moreno. Ayee! I always aim for a podium finish. Especially in waves, every time I make a podium it’s a huge motivation, so second is insane for me!
Big Wednesday was even bigger than expected. Double mast high giants. Close to 8 meters we calculated. I have seen jaws break a couple of times in Maui, although smaller here, these waves gave me more goose bumps. There was whitewater everywhere, no channel and thus, absolutely no escape. The contest was called off for the day. We did go out for a sail on the inside, but once near the impact zone I realized the white water alone was mast high.. uff… better not go too far. Boujmaa managed to get out and tame those waves though and that was really inspiring to watch.
For the remainder of the week it was all about the mousse as we watched massive waves roll in with whitewater as far as the eye could see. All that was left to do was perfect our tea pouring skills and achieve the right amount of mousse.
Ultimately we only had one day of competition. The wind dropped, and the swell was absolutely massive for days in a row. I would have loved to sail the double elimination but that’s just the way it goes during contests some times.
For now I’m really satisfied with my 2nd place, but fired up to do even better.
There were so many highlights during this trip, and all I can say is Chokran Morocco for the whole cultural experience from beginning to end!
I hope to be back very soon.
For now, I’ll be spending some time in Aruba before making my way to my next contest in Portugal where I’ll be competing in freestyle and slalom.
Get some behind the scenes story in the clip below.