Imsouane surf is all about the right-hand point break that rolls across the main bay. It’s a classic Moroccan peeler with a neat pocket where longboarders can glide for hundreds of metres.
Imsouane surf at a glance
- One of the longest rides in Africa
- Fantastic longboard waves
- Nowhere near as busy as Taghazout
- Imsouane is getting busier and busier by the year
- Tricky to get to
- Bad summer season waves
This is a part of our greater guide to surfing Morocco.
What will I find in this guide to surfing in Imsouane
An introduction to Imsouane surf
Imsouane is a tiny little town. It sits almost halfway between Essaouira and Agadir, which are the two main cities on the coast in southern Morocco. Once upon a time, it was just Berber fishing folk and argan farmers. But then someone noticed that the triangular headland that juts from the village created perhaps the finest point breaks in Africa. And boy is it good!
The wave we’re talking about is the star of the show on the Imsouane surf menu. It’s known locally as The Bay, and offers hundreds of metres of riding across the town’s main bay. Longboarders find loads to love there, but it’s also a playful, sectiony sort of break for those on shorties. The other side of the headland is called the Cathedral. That’s where you’ll pick up the reef and sand-bottomed peaks that can offer some hollow rides, particularly during the winter.
Imsouane remains less popular but also harder to reach than Morocco’s mainstay surf destination down in Taghazout. There’s certainly no shortage of Imsouane surf camp and surf hotel options, though. Growing numbers of both seasoned riders and improving intermediates are coming here for the mellow swells and the consistent wintertime swells.
Where is Imsouane?
Imsouane sits just below the border between the region of Marrakesh-Safi and the Souss-Massa. It spreads across a wide coastal bay (where much of the surfing is done) and a headland that pokes into the Atlantic Ocean. The nearest major town is Agadir. That’s around an hour’s drive to the south. The windsurfing hub of Essaouira is to the north. To get in from there, you’re best off getting a private transfer that should take about 1.5 hours in total.
Imsouane surf spots
Imsouane is located in the middle of Morocco’s surfing mecca. There are famous spots to the norht and south, and whole load of secret coves which are still being discovered (shh!). However, the town is known primarily for two waves:
Imsouane Bay is the piece de resistance of the town. This is the break that you’ll see on all the adverts for all those Imsouane surf camp schools and whatnot. A classic Moroccan point break, it has a take-off zone right at the end of the main headland. That means an easy (read: virtually zero) paddle out that involves simply hopping a few rocks close to the village.
The waves are at their best when chest to overhead on wide periods. That occurs quite often in the winter when you’ll see riders enjoying the slow take-off zone and uninterrupted rides all across the front of the bay. The trick is to find the sweet spot and cruise the pocket. On larger days, the wave builds a little wall and can be rippable or sectiony. Shortboarders will dominate the line up then.
Located to the top of Imsouane Bay is the break known as Cathedral. It’s really an amphitheatre of all sorts of waves. Yep, a multitude of peaks crash into this open section of shoreline. They tend to be quicker and less forgiving than their mellow counterpart on the other side of town. Predominantly rights, there are also some options that let goofies hit the front foot. Underwater is a mix of rock and sand, but there is also a speedy reef that can offer hollow sections during big winter swells and nice rippable walls of water.
The Imsouane surf season
You can actually catch a wave in Imsouane at any time of the year – that’s just how reliable this mid-Atlantic is. However, ask the locals and they’ll wax lyrical about the winter. Temperatures dip a little then, but the main change is the wind: The dominant trades and the course of the hot and dusty air that originates in the Sahara all calm between November and April.
That all helps to maintain shape on Imsouane bay and the Cathedral, which means glassy conditions and way more wall to the wave. Winter also sees the N-NW Atlantic engine kick in. The results are regular overheads on the north side of town but nice, mellow, shapely longboard waves to the more-protected south. Summer visits are best for beginners looking for whitewash and those who don’t mind trading perfect conditions for smaller line ups.
The best Imsouane surf camp & Imsouane hotels
Wind House ($$$)
Wow! The Wind House leaves most first-time visitors breathless at the view from its sumptuous infinity pool. Gazing straight across Imsouane Bay, it’s got front-row seats of the long, peeling right-handers. To make the most of it, guests can access a sunbathing terrace and communal eating area all al fresco. Rooms are all apartments, decorated simply but cosily, with full kitchens and private bathrooms.
Tidehunter Surf House ($$)
Tidehunter Surf House is just 350 metres from the main breaks in Imsouane. It has a mix of doubles and twins and triple rooms, each with either private internal or external bathrooms. Sleeping arrangements aside, the real joy here is the communal area. That consists of a lounge, a BBQ spot and a terrace with its own hammock gazing down at the bay. Pretty cool stuff.
Afer Surf Hostel ($)
Afer Surf Hostel is a budget-friendly option that’s also great for surfers looking to meet, mingle and made friends with other travelers during their time in Imsouane. Sleeping is in simple dorms or doubles, but the main feature is a sun-drenched roof terrace and cool Berber-inspired lounge areas.
Surf shops in Imsouane
Imsouane has a growing surf scene. Most of the surf shops in the village started life as rentals or Imsouane surf camp schools. Some now also have their own ranges of branded gear, surfboards, and surf hardwear…
A ramshackle little surf shop that’s housed in a wooden shack, Hosurf is a locally run spot with all the longboard and shortboard rentals you could need. Fins, rash vests, leashes and more are all part of the hardware offering. There’s also a great coffee shop on the roof upstairs.
Reef Point Surf Shop
Reef Point Surf Shop might just be the best-stocked surf emporium in the whole town. Duck inside to find racks of branded clothing and surfwear, along with flip-flops, sun cream (water-friendly, of course) and earplugs. There’s also an enticing range of NSP and soft-top boards to buy or rent.
Where to eat in Imsouane
As the Imsouane surf scene grows, so more and more eateries are popping up in the village. Some of the ones making waves (no pun intended) are listed below:
Restaurant Beach Surf Imsouane
A smorgasbord of ocean-influenced Moroccan plates awaits at the highly-rated Restaurant Beach Surf Imsouane. It’s a place where grilled sardines topped with zaatar and cumin mingle with okra salads and boiled potato sides, all topped off with a hefty dosing of flatbread and olive oil. Put simply: The setting is casual, but the food is cracking.
Restaurant La Paix
If you’re craving a spice-packed Moroccan tagine or fresh-caught grilled fish with a trickle of olive oil and a squirt of lemon juice, you could certainly do a lot worse than Restaurant La Paix. The menu has all that and more, while the look of the place is photogenic to the T. With paint-peeling walls of faded blue, there’s more than just a hint of the Wes Anderson about it!
Things to do when you’re not surfing in Imsouane
Imsouane surf is cracking, no questions. But what about those flat days? Here are just a few things you could consider adding to the itinerary on the rare occasion the Atlantic isn’t pumping…
Imsouane Bay ain’t just for surfing. A dramatic fold in the Moroccan coast, it also offers a fantastic environment for chilling and swimming and soaking up a tan. You’ve actually got a few beaches to choose from within walking distance of the town. The most popular is directly west, shrouded by cinnamon-tinted mountains and offering fantastic sunset views.
Intrepid travelers who don’t mind going off the beaten track should take to the paths that weave and wiggle around the dunes to the north of town. They connect with dramatic cliffs that have fantastic panoramas over the Atlantic Ocean. There are also occasional grottoes carved into the Moroccan costline, along with rock pools filled with sea life.
This ultimate guide to Imsouane surf is always being updated and changed. If you think we’ve missed something or gotten something wrong, we’d sure love you to get in touch. You can use email or just drop a message in the comments below.