Surf instructor course diary – 12 weeks in Morocco
Earlier this year Mark joined our surf instructor course in Taghazout, Morocco, for 12 weeks of surf and an amazing cultural experience. He’s just sent over a couple of diary entries from his time with us…
Diary Feb 14th 2012
It’s now week 5 in Morocco and the time is absolutely flying by. I’ve completely settled in now and I’m loving Taghazout and my new surfing lifestyle. The swells havn’t been too big recently but we still manage to get a wave every day. It’s really good surfing with all the instructors here each day, as they are so friendly and helpful and I really feel they are teaching me a lot. We’ve been amping up the amount of time we spend surfing recently as our instructor assessments starts soon. Its come around so quickly but I’m feeling pretty confident about it, to be honest. I’ve been trying to spend as much time in the water as possible to increase my fitness and also reading through Instructor manuals etc. The Momo and Mike (our instructors) have been great. Fingers crossed it will all come together.
A few of us recently went on a trip south to Benghamood. This was a really cool experience and it was nice to get out of Taghazout for a couple of days and recharge the batteries. On our first day down south, we got up at 7 to go surfing. We had quite a long walk to the beach but it was well worth it as there were some pretty big sets coming through all morning. In the afternoon, we hopped in the car and drove further south to see some of the coast and enjoy the beautiful scenery. We passed through Aldou Plage, Mirleft and also took in Sidi Ifni. It was a really fun day, although we couldn’t surf in the afternoon as it was pretty windy by then.
It’s good to have a day off and stay out of the water every so often as surfing every day can be quite intense. So last week we took a trip toParadiseValley. It’s about a 90 minute drive from Taghazout, into the hills and it’s a great day out. The valley is so beautiful and peaceful. We chilled out and sunbathed a bit in the morning and then in the afternoon, we hiked up through the valley to find some pools and do some rock jumping. This was super fun and kinda scary too. Some of the jumps are pretty daunting but the guides make it look easy, diving headfirst from 20+ feet up. That was a great day though and we hung out with a few of the other guests at the camp and got to know them too.
Tomorrow is back in the water again, want to get some solid days of surfing in before my assessments. Fingers crossed it all goes well.
Diary – March 7th 2012
Quite a busy few weeks of late, the surf instructor assessment week was awesome. Very intense but so much fun and I learned so much. Our course director for the week was Nick Thorn, who is a great guy. I was nervous about the week but he made everyone feel completely comfortable and was really thorough and patient while training us. Our mornings were spent in the classroom doing a lot of theory work and learning about CPR, First Aid and lifeguarding. Then in the afternoons, we would go to the beach and put what we learned into practice. It was a really relaxed learning environment though and we all had lots of fun. Nick even found time to show us some body-surfing and kicked our asses at the paddle-pop challenge (see who can bodysurf a wave the furthest). We did some swimming and a bit of running but nothing too extreme and then we spent a lot of time learning and practising rescue techniques using our surfboards. In the evening time, the fun wasn’t over yet as we had to sit down and cover a few hours of course material each evening before dinner. But the whole week flew by and it was all over and successfully completed before we knew it. I now just need to build up some supervised teaching hours before i can send off for my certificate. There’ll be plenty of opportunity to get all my experience over the coming weeks.
We’ve had the best swells of my time here during the last week and probably my favorite day inMoroccoso far was the 5th of March. We got up at 5.45 a.m. to do a dawn raid at Killer Point. There was nine of us in total and we were the very first people to paddle out to the peak before the sun had even risen. The waves were perfect and glassy, about shoulder to head high and to just be surfing out there as the sun rose was so beautiful. I definitely caught the best waves of my trip so far that morning and hopefully there will be a few more dawnies to come. After our session we got back to camp for a quick breakfast, before it was back to the beach again to do some lessons. After the morning lesson, I took the opportunity to catch up on some shut-eye on the beach.
We’ve been progressing with our French lessons recently also and I’m finding them very enjoyable. I studied French for a few years when I was in school and I am finding it’s all coming back to me slowly but surely. But I really enjoy the classes and try to ‘parle francais’ in the evenings with the local guys who work at the camp. Also, we’ve begun teaching English at a local school a few weeks back. I was quite apprehensive about this, having never really worked with kids before and not being quite sure what to teach them but it’s been so much fun and so rewarding. It’s a mixed group of kids aged between 14 and 18 and they’ve only been learning English for about 5 months. I try to keep it light and fun and just get them speaking a little English and listening to me also which helps them out. We play a lot of games and do word searches etc.
The good swells continue tomorrow so it’s back in the water again. Hopefully I’ll get to do a lesson in the morning time and then get an afternoon surf in myself, wherever there’s a wave.