Just like Bente I started as an absolute non-kiting person at KiteWorldWide. As a little excuse I could say that I’m from the south and we drive faster two hours to the mountains to go skiing than driving to the seaside. But this fact wouldn’t hold me back from writing enthusiastically about this sport in blogs, on faceook or on our website since I got infected by the kitesurfingfever right from the beginning!
It all started with “Kaddi did you plan on something between 7th and 15th of November? No? Well then we’ll fly to Essaouira!”. No sooner said than done: 7th of November: fist snow in Hamburg, Hannover and Berlin and Marlo, Maike, Simon and me on the plain into direction sun! Packed with a lot of “marketing-stuff”, 4 suitcases and a kitebag we landed in Agadir and got picked up by the driver. The 3 hours drive with a little break for food shopping was flying by. The landsape was different, most of all rougher but fascinating and once we reached the ocean our anticipation for the upcoming evening session was huge!
When we reached Essaouira the locals picked us up with wheelbarrows for our luggage and broght us to the Riad. Daniel, the KiteWorldWide Guide, gave us a short introduction and off we went to the cabs, that were waiting in front of the gates of the Medina. It’s only 70 Dirham and they take you everywhere so we went straight to the kitecenter and onto the water – at least for the other three because I only tried some kitemovements back in July. But that wouldn’t hold anyone back – especially me – and so I found myslef equipped with an impact vest and helmet boddydragging and fighting against the waves underneat a 7m2 kite. I don’t know which one of those I am – so choose for yourself :)
After this long day we went for dinner to Mega Loft and enjoyed nice morokkan cuisine. The next day all the guests were having breakfast together and were making plans for the day. Before noon me and Marlo were working but in the afternoon we also went on the water. Mounim, one of the kite instructors, started a downwinder with Simon, Marlo and other guests while I was fighting my way through the waves with upwind body drags and even tried my first water starts. Also here then the waves „frog position“ is really helpful: bended legs, knees together, back to the wind and kite on 12 – that way you can easily lay in the waves, wait for the next set to be over and meanwhile swallow a lot of salt water!
The sunsets here are so beautiful, I couldn’t help but take those pictures before heading back to the Riad!
Once a week there is a traditional Moroccan berber dinner with all the guests and instructors together and you definitely could experience the promised community feeling once more. After all the four big Tajins with rice, vegetables and chicken got eaten, everyone rather rolled than walked the steps up to the house own rooftop terrace to let the day draw to an end.
Of course I had to experience each side of kitesurfing, which includes waiting for the wind. That was the case on friday morning – the wind was there but from the wrong direction. Once it finally turned, everyone got into their wetsuits and onto the water – even for me because I actually stood on a board for the first meters and managed to get over the waves – an absolutely incredible feeling that definitely pushes adrenaline through your body! But when we came out of the water there were bad news: Simon got injured and had to go to the hospital! Maike, who speaks French and Momo, a local and surf instructor, went with him and all of them had the same opinion when they returned after 4 hours later with a Xray picture and a cast: a public, moroccan hospital isn’t place you want to go twice.
After the dinner with Nasser, Sara and Daniel we went to Tarus, a rooftop bar and a real must-do if you’re in Essaouira. You can see the whole Medina and the bay from there, cool people and live music get relieved by a DJ and you can even get alcohol here (not really common in Morocco).
Saturday morning – Maike and me went to the Medina to get some souvenirs and to experience the typical 1001 night feeling up close again. After more or less successful bargaining from our part it was time for kitesurfing. Because the waves were too high and the wind too gusty, Mounim, my kite instructor and me went to a little lagoon a bit downwind where I could practice the water start again – and it was soooo easy in flat water conditions!
The afternoon we got an introduction into wave surfing, which was so much fun but also really exhausting!
That’s why all recourses had to be filled up in the evening – with a few kite instructors and all other guests we went to the medina, bought meat and vegetables and brought all of that to a barbecue place. While we waited for them to make our dinner we could find beer and together with our then ready dinner we went back to the Riad and afterwards to Tarus again.
Sunday was the day! I went onto the water with Mariano and I got to „really“ ride downwind! After a few times riding downwind, landing the kite and walking upwind again, I set myself a goal to do „real“ direction changes instead of driving into one direction, sit down and then drive to the other side – but this was harder than I though in between those waves. I also had to realize that some times kite and board go into different directions – good that I was practicing upwind drags with Salah for about at least one hour! It was also good that I knew the safety rules because one time my kite dropped closed to the beach and got washed through the waves. That was the point where I got to know the term „dead-loop“. But luckily it wasn’t bad and Mariano was there to help me. After I released the quick release we could collect everything, rearrange the lieges and I was back on the water – easy!
In the afternoon Sara, Maike and me went to ride out directly at the beach. We were accompanied by the horse owner and at least least 10 dogs. Sara and me got to race really fast directly on the waterfront – every girls’ dream! I definitely had a blast!
In the evening we went to the Medina and since Simon didn’t want to walk on crutches we sat him on a bike. The medina at night is so much more interesting than by day because then also the locals are on the streets, sell their draught of the day and the fresh mint. After we got ourselves something to eat from the streets and walked around, Simon wanted to buy a souvenir and even got offered 100 camels for Maike!
What would Essaouira be without Sidi Kaouki? A famous wavespot for wave surfers, that Maike and me went to check out on Monday! Way bigger waves than the ones right in Essaouira and more surfers of course! But we did fine and even surfed one or another wave until the beach. Noon time we headed back to Essaouira since there was wind and we wanted to enjoy our last day kitesurfing. For me it was still riding out, riding downwind and walking up again. But most important: I stood on the board, went downwind and got to do some directions change without losing my board.
Our last evening ended with a big Moroccan dinner at a restaurant in the Medina with all the other guests and a few kite instructors.
Tuesday morning we reluctantly had to fly back to cold Germany. I really enjoyed my time in Morocco, the different scents on the markets, drinking their berber whisky (mint tea), the community feeling you get when you’re together with all the other guests, the breathtaking sunsets and of course most importantly: kitesurfing! To end up I can say that it was hard for me to fight against the waves and I’m pretty sure I swallowed enough salt water for the rest of my life but like Anne would keep saying: if you learn kitesurfing in those conditions, you’ll kite anywhere in the world. I hope she’s right and I’m looking forward to my next time on the water – for sure I’ll then get to ride upwind and hopefully soon again in Essaouira – inssallah!